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Old February 5th, 2017, 07:18 AM #1
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (FW)-Virtual Season Eleven

This thread will archive my ten episode "eleventh season" of the original Fred Wolf TMNT animated series.



EPISODES


1. So Long, No Thanks For All The Fish


5. Mutants and Miracles

6. The Flies That Came To Dinner

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 29th, 2018 at 11:15 AM.
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Old February 11th, 2017, 08:15 PM #2
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How about putting the full story in RangerBoard?
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Old February 16th, 2017, 08:09 AM #3
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mbozzo wrote: View Post

How about putting the full story in RangerBoard?
What the hell is your problem?
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Old November 28th, 2017, 06:36 AM #4
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Seeing as I've started work on the season finale of this over on FF.Net, I've decided to re purpose this thread to host ALL the entries in my "virtual season"


SO LONG, NO THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH


Deep within the recesses of their lair beneath the streets of New York, the band of brothers known only as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were pondering a problem brought upon them by one of their own.

Someone facing a most daunting prospect.

"I'm being totally straight with you bro" Michelangelo said with a hint of apprehension.

"it's THIS size" he continued, forming a small circle with the tips of his fingers.

"That's impossible" his brother Leonardo replied.

"I could run a few tests on it" Donatello suggested

"Don't you DARE" Leonardo said, cutting him off.

"You're lucky she's interested in something that small. Most women I know can't go a month without large quantities" Raphael added with his usual brand of cynical wit.

"If only she'd ASK me" Michelangelo continued, "I could take precautions…prep myself up for the intake"

"But you know the first place to look for….THOSE particular methods" Donatello added.

"I'm totally street dude" Michelangelo insisted, "You'd be surprised at what I know about those places"

"But if she INSISTS on the size, why would you want to disappoint her?" Leonardo probed

A door opened, and in walked the Turtles sensei, Master Splinter.

"Is something the matter my students" Splinter asked, sensing the discord.

Raphael swiftly elbowed Michelangelo. "Why don't you stick it out short man?" he said.

"What is the matter Michelangelo?" Splinter asked of his student. Michelangelo rocked back and forth apprehensively, before finally revealing all to his master.

"This" he said, producing a small slice of Pizza from his shell.

"Pizza?" Splinter asked in befuddlement.

"Michelangelo's a little down because his usual size of pizzas have been cut down by the local pizzeria" Donatello explained, "Something to do with "National Dieting Week". April wanted to try it as part of a story on how good it is to eat less"

"We usually have a dinner date with April once every week. We take turns" Leonardo added, "Mikey drew the short straw this time"

"In MORE ways than one" Raphael joked.

"I just don't think it's big enough for me and April to share" Michelangelo said, still awash with concern, "She might get a little funny about it"

"Worry not my student" Splinter advised, "In April's case, the size of your heart outweighs any morsel. I am sure she will understand that you had the best of intentions"

Michelangelo felt a little better about his situation, but just a little.

"Yeah…" he said, "But I'd rather go for the best appetite, this thing isn't going to last a night or fill a stomach"

"Speaking of April, we better check out her news bulletin" Donatello suggested. "She's covering the wedding of Michael Christ in the west of Texas"

"Whoa, wait a minute" Raphael said, cutting Donatello off, "Michael Christ…the son of that overbearingly rich cat THEO Christ?"

"Great, there's bound to be large chunks of free dinner at the reception" Michelangelo added, giving off a sigh of relief as he now believed his situation had been given a reprieve.

"Hopefully she has a change of heart with me in mind and snags a few platefuls for herself"

"Switch the TV on Donatello" Leonardo ordered.

Donatello complied, and with the touch of a dial, the television situated in the centre of the room flared into life.

After a few moments of channel hopping, Donatello found the one that served as the home of "Happy Hour News". Channel 6.

"There we go" Donatello said. The four brothers and Splinter huddled around the sofa as the familiar and charmingly alluring features of their reporter friend April O'Neil graced the television screen, standing inside a small, but bustling western town with a lively crowd behind her.

"This is April O'Neil. I'm here live from the town of Sweetsinker in the heart of West Texas where the union of Michael Christ and Lorraine Whitney is in its penultimate day of preparation. All that's required is the arrival of the preacher tomorrow afternoon…however; I'm told that's not all we're here to celebrate. I'm joined now by Michael's father, financial bigwig and property developer Theo Christ, who I understand has just signed an exclusive contract with an anonymous property developer to construct a new attraction for the area. Theo, take it away"

"Thank you Ms O'Neil" the pudgy Texas tycoon responded, his large cigarette pumping out a teeming mass of smoke, causing April to gag as she took it in.

"Yes, the rumours you lot out there in property county have proven to be gospel" he continued, "I can officially announce that this area of Texas is going to see sights unprecedented in the region. We are going to witness the construction of our first Aquari-ranch"

"An Aquari-ranch?" April inquired.

"The finest fish you have never seen" Theo teased. "Transported into a brand spanking new housing facility which will attract keen lovers of sea-life everywhere to an otherwise dry and previously unattractive landscape. There's plenty of opportunity to sleep with the fishes too, as there will be a specially accommodated premiere inn to go with the ranch"

"And where will this Aquri-ranch be located?" April asked.

"The site is currently top secret" Theo revealed "It will be disclosed to the public soon enough. I have top men stationed there"

"And can any of THEM tell me where my Pa is?" came a small voice from behind both April and Theo turned around to find a pint-sized young boy in blue overalls glaring coldly in Theo's direction. The assembled crowd began to stir with commotion.

"Now Toby, we've been this…" Theo arrogantly spoke.

"What's the matter kid?" April calmly asked, sensing the boy was visibly upset.

"My pa. He went missing over a week ago" the boy, Toby, explained, "He found out what they were doing down there. He found the site…but he never came back home"

He marched up to Theo and pointed at him

"What did you do with him?" Toby asked. Theo laughed off the accusation

"You'll have to excuse the young pup Ms. O'Neil" he said, "He's got quite the active imagination"

April's cameraman, Vernon, was running as low on patience as Toby was.

"April, tell this snot nosed brat to get out of shot, he's ruining the interview" he said. April, annoyed, put him in his place

"Quiet Vernon"

She knelled down and put both hands on Toby's shoulders. She could tell from the boy's features he was on the verge of letting all his pent up emotion come out.

"Keep calm kid, I'm sure someone out there watching can help you, just reach out to them" she said. Toby nodded. April smiled and gave him her microphone. Toby understood the gesture and made the most of his opportunity.

"Please" he began, "If anyone knows where my pa is or wants to help find him, inquire at McGruder ranch just west of this town. YOU GOTTA HELP ME FIND 'EM...inquire at the McGruder ranch just south of this town, just be sure to turn left when you reach it"

April patted the young boy on the head and took back her microphone.

"And with that impassioned plea, this is April O'Neil signing off for now. Join us tomorrow when we'll be covering Michael Christ's wedding, and hopefully by then the mystery of the Aquri-ranch, wherever it is, will be solved. See you then"

As April's interview wrapped, Leonardo turned off the television.

"You heard April guys. She figured we'd be listening in to that, we've got to help that kid" he said with eagerness. The remaining Turtles nodded in agreement.

"Awesome notion bud. I'm totally going to chow down on those cow pies" Michelangelo commented, rubbing his stomach.

"Turtles go Texan, and an Aquarium waiting for us. It's like the holiday brochures finally managed to squeeze us into their packages" Raphael mused

Leonardo headed towards the exit tunnel. "To the Turtle Blimp guys" he commanded.

"Great" Raphael said, "I was always wondering just where it is in this overbearingly small sewer you ever manage to PARK THAT THING"

Elsewhere, in a darkened room full of computerised noises, a faint hum of engines and a rumble could be heard. The rumble was matched with strained grunting, as a man, mid-forties, struggled to free himself from the ropes his body had been bound with.

"Gosh darn it" he said, "These ropes are too tight, I can't break free…"

His efforts were soon interrupted with the gurgling taunts coming from a high-pitched voice

"Comfortable are we my friend?" the voice crackled.

"I'll gnaw off this knot if I have to. You won't hold me for long, whatever you are" the man replied in defiance.

"I'd advise against it" the voice warned, "Not if you want your ranch to survive the coming storm"

"Go pester somebody else with your mellow metaphors. I'd call them "melodramatic" but you aren't a very theatrical character." the man quipped, content to insult his captor.

"Oh I mean it VERY literally" the ominous character replied, and walked into full view.

The man gasped at the sight.

The figure marched past him towards a nearby control console and began playing with the various dials and buttons present on the panels. Before long, the monitor screen attached to the console flickered and flared into life.

Another figure, a man whose features were visibly hidden by a metal mask, appeared on the screen. The figure set about giving the masked man a set of instructions.

"Shredder, this is Krang" spoke the gurgling voice. "Launch Wave 'Tranquil Repose' from The Technodrome IMMEDIATELY"

"I don't know about this Krang" Shredder replied, "Does it mean I get first dibs on the bull rides when it's done?"

Krang wasn't taken in by Shredder's brand of wit

"Don't be coy with me you bucket-brain. We're on a slow enough schedule…we're almost like Turtles" Krang responded. The comparison was enough to motivate his partner. "Ugh. Ok…but only because you compared me to the 'T' word" Shredder responded.

Several hours later, high above the land that housed Sweetsinker town, the Turtle Blimp cut through the sky with all four Turtles on board.

"There's the town right below us dude" Michelangelo noted, pointing to the large stack of buildings below.

"Then, when we're not too far from the ranch, head south and turn left guys" instructed Donatello.

"Or, you know, we could just pitch down, I'm sure they'll welcome us with open arms and full plates" Michelangelo commented.

Leonardo sighed.

"Remember Michelangelo, think less on food, and more on the mission" he said.

Leonardo's Turtle-com suddenly went off; he removed it from his belt buckle and activated it. The familiar face of April materialised.

"Leonardo here, hi April" the Turtles leader spoke, greeting his friend.

"Howdy fellas, I take it you saw that young boy's message on my bulletin earlier?" she inquired.

"We're trying to pinpoint the McGruder ranch right now. Once we get acquainted with the family, we'll start the investigation" Leonardo explained.

"Great, I'll catch up with you later" she said. Just before she signed off, she opted to take a small dig at one of the four.

"I hope you're not feeling too peckish Michelangelo" she teased. Michelangelo's face lit up and he buried his head in his right hand, his left holding his stomach as it rumbled. "She hates me" he said "She means to torture me" he said. April laughed.

"See you later April" Leonardo said, and turned off the Turtle-Com to spare Michelangelo further embarrassment, and deny April fresh opportunities to rib him.

Eventually, the Turtles finally located the ranch. Upon landing the blimp, they made their way over to the front door of the McGruder homestead. Leonardo gathered his brothers together.

"Ok guys, we're here. Be polite, be calm, and above all else, don't make a scene" Leonardo instructed. His brothers all nodded in agreement.

Leonardo smiled, turned around, and knocked on the door. The Turtles were soon greeted by a plump fair haired woman.

"Howdy ma'am" Leonardo said, putting on a bad Texan accent, looking to make a good impression. The woman took one look at the group's faces and took a step back.

"Oh my" she said. Leonardo, however, was seemingly oblivious to her startled reaction.

"We're here to see your son" he continued. The woman turned her back, put both hands to her mouths, and cried out.

"Tony, son, get the shotgun, we got more Martians"

"Great fearless leader" Raphael remarked, "First you mess up the language of the land, now the locals are acting like we just stepped out of a Michael Bay press conference"

"Ma'am calm down, we're not your enemies" Leonardo insisted, "And what do you mean by MORE Martians?"

"Are you for real" the agitated woman asked. "Hello? Earth-to-Earth-gal, this happens to be a CARTOON" Raphael replied

"No need to get real Raph" Donatello remarked.

Before long, Toby arrived on the scene.

Upon seeing the Turtles, he stopped dead in his tracks.

The Turtles prepared for the worst, only to be surprised by the boy's sudden excitability.

"WOW, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? MOM, these aren't Martians, there the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" he bellowed ecstatically.

He went up to all four of them and shook their hands. "You've heard of us?" Leonardo asked.

"You're only on the news every single minute" Toby explained,

"Plus I'm part of that fan club started by your fifth member. We've gotten pretty big since the advent of the internet".

"Hey, Zach's really taking the term "networking" to a whole new level" Donatello commented.

"Well at least we don't have to explain ourselves this time around" Leonardo said, relieved.

"So you guys are going to help me find my dad? That's got to be why you're here isn't it?" Toby asked, punching the air with ecstatic jubilation.

"As long as you help me find something to eat" Michelangelo replied.

Back at Krang's stronghold, hidden away in another part of the landscape, the wicked warlord was overseeing the second phase of his operation

"The inter-weathoral nexus generator is at full capacity" he revealed to Shredder,

"It shouldn't be long now before the project is complete"

"I still don't see why you decided on a solo outing. Rocksteady, Bebop and myself could have backed you up" Shredder advised.

"You and your mutant meatheads have fouled up one operation too many. Besides, I get the distinct impression you're looking for a vacation" Krang replied.

"If I were there you wouldn't have had to deal with interlopers…you couldn't even keep a rancher out of the sinkhole" Shredder countered.

Krang was irked by this reminder, but he didn't let his mistake faze him.

"Worry not. Unlike you, I tend to tie all my ends up in a knot…and then some" he said.

"Unhand me ya cerebral psychotic!" yelled Krang's prisoner, leaning back and forth hoping, praying, somehow to shake his bounds loose. Krang opted not to indulge his prisoner, choosing to bury himself in his work at the control console.

"And what if even the Turtles catch wind of this? That meddler's kid put out a convincing performance on the Channel 6 news" a concerned Shredder responded. "Even if those amphibian arsonists DO ruffle our feathers, I guarantee you their own will be plucked in no short order" Krang assured him.

"Trust me Shredder, this time I have a weapon the Turtles have no defence against"

After a small, but satisfying, lunch at the McGruder home, the four Turtles had set off to comb the area.

The young lad joined them as their guide.

"So how did your dad up and disappear anyway?" Leonardo asked the boy.

"After Theo Christ announced plans for that big Aquari-ranch, my dad got suspicious, only his land is wide enough, and our town the closest enough, for anything of that size to be constructed and guarantee a healthy tourist rate." Toby explained. "He and Christ have waged war over that land for years, so he didn't trust him at all. He would do some investigating, he would come back home sometimes with stories of alien spaceships and a weird tall muscular guy in a ten-gallon hat with bandages all over his stomach giving out orders to some ninjas clad in purple uniforms. Eventually, he stopped coming home altogether."

"And suddenly there's that old familiar sting…" Raphael remarked upon hearing of Toby's descriptions. "That sounds a lot like Krang, and an awful lot like The Foot"

"But why is Krang all bandaged up?" Michelangelo asked "He didn't fall off his perch and break every bit of his face did he?"

"Who cares what his reasons are, he's obviously behind Toby's dad's disappearance. He probably got too close to what Krang was up to and was kidnapped"

"We'll need a plan if we're going to stage a rescue attempt" Donatello pointed out. Michelangelo pondered this for a second.

"Whatever plan we come up with, it should be simple straightforward, and lead right up to dinner time….we'd be beat, but we'd eat" he replied.

Leonardo soon stopped everyone in their tracks. "Guys, do you hear something passing overhead?" he said.

"I'm pretty sure it was the point going over Mike's head" Raphael joked.

"I meant from up THERE" Leonardo said, pointing at the sky. The Turtles stared upwards, keeping their eyes and ears open for a reoccurring noise, and if the noise had form. Eventually, they began to make something out in the distance, something that was gradually coming into view. A sleek long shaft of metal with a large drill attached to the front, rocketing towards them.

"It looks like…like a transport module" Donatello spoke in recognition.

"A FLYING module? When did tin face and bald brain upgrade to THAT" Michelangelo asked in alarm

"Well we'd better downgrade fast, as in GET DOWN" a panicked Raphael instructed as small cannons on the sides of the module unleashed disruptor fire, striking the dry soil in a trail of laser bullet and leaving a faint yet harsh sizzle with every blast.

"Toby, take cover" Leonardo cried.

"But I want to help" Toby insisted, "I could totally be the next honorary Turtle"

"I wish you REGULAR TEENAGE HUMAN BEINGS would look up the definition of TURTLE in the dictionary" Raphael said.

Leonardo ducked another round of laser fire, and spotted an opportunity to take control of the situation.

"Turtles, this could be our ticket" he said. "Too bad it isn't golden, I wouldn't mind some chocolate" Raphael said as he was chased by the craft and its deadly cannons.

"I meant our ticket to locating Krang" Leonardo clarified, "If we can just commandeer that module"

"First we've got to bring it down" Donatello said.

"That's an easy one" Leonardo said, beaming with confidence, and turned to Raphael and Michelangelo. "You two more than qualify for this"

"Us?" Raphael asked, pointing at himself and his brother.

"Yeah dude, like…what can we do better than any other volunteer?" Michelangelo added

"You're the only ones who can make spectacles of yourselves" Leonardo revealed, and whispered a set of instructions to his brothers.

As the module turned in mid-air, ready to commence firing again, Raphael and Michelangelo put Leonardo's plan into action.

They began to dance around foolishly, sticking their tongues out and making faces at their aerial adversary.

"Hey, Foot Odour, your mom can't even hit me from that height, why don't ya come a little closer" Raphael heckled.

"Too right dude, like, come down to Earth, 'cuz only girls hit from Venus… Michelangelo said, joining in on the catty taunting. The module roared into life and lowered itself in flight, etching closer and closer to the two. "You're not even cutting it close. LOWER, or are ya too chicken?" Raphael challenged.

"Worse yet, your pilots are robots, that makes you a MICROWAVED CHICKEN" Michelangelo teased.

Soon enough, the module reached a level low enough to implement the next phase of the plan, the strategy had worked.

"NOW LEONARDO" Raphael yelled. Behind the module, Leonardo aimed his katana at the module's thrusters. He dared not risk plunging his sword directly, or he would be fried. He had to time his trajectory just right.

Confident of his skill, and with one swift throw, the blade was jolted into the back of the module, causing it to spasm out of control, flying erratically through the air and back down again, ultimately hitting the ground with a gigantic thud.

As the thrusters sparked and spluttered, unable to find traction to levitate the ship, the module finally died. The Turtles waited outside the hatch, hovering over it like hungry, eager predators.

The hatch eventually opened and out emerged a lone Foot Soldier, one of a legion of robotic killers loyal only to Shredder.

Leonardo wasted no time in dealing with it. With another swift slash from his remaining blade, he severed the Foot Soldier's head. As Leonardo walked over to the back of the module to remove the other Katana from the malfunctioning thrusters, Toby was quick to make comment on his skills.

"That was some fancy throwing mister" he said. Raphael, however, wasn't all that impressed. "Are you kidding?" he said, laughing, "I could totally shift my body in mid-air, let my shell take all the burning and dig my Sais into that sucker"

"Keep it REAL Raph" Leonardo reminded him. "In our line of work?" Raph replied.

"The important thing is we have the module" Donatello said, "Once I get it back in shape, all we need do after that is use it to reach Krang". Leonardo turned to Toby, "You'd better get back home son, your mom wouldn't like you risking your neck where we're going" he said.

"This is my dad we're talking about" Toby said defiantly, "I'd follow him to heck and back, I'm coming with you. You'll look after me the same way you looked after Zach".

"Well, if we're ALL in agreement" Leonardo said, looking at the other Turtles, who silently gave their approval with a-ok signs and wry winks.

"Alright" Toby yelled, "Let's saddle up this mechanical bull"

After an hour or so, thanks in no small part to Donatello's handy knowledge of machines, the Turtles were ready to resume their journey. All four of them, plus Toby, clambered into the module. Donatello inspected the controls. He was happy to find some kind of radar that, when activated, pinpointed the home base to be just north of them.

With a flick of a switch, the engines ignited, the module took off, taking the Turtles to Krang, to Toby's father, and, they hoped, some answers.

Inside Krang's compound, the warlord watched on as several of his transport modules commenced drilling, delving deep into the ground "Tranquil Repose is underway" he proudly proclaimed, "Once the modules have reached the desired subterranean level we can let their cargo go without fear of drying out"

Krang's captive was all together too eager to interrupt the moment with some bad comedy. "What's in that bag? Shark or something?" he said. Krang allowed himself to be amused by this.

"Your knowledge of questionable Nick Cage career choices amuses me, but ultimately it is another futile attempt at making conversation on your part. You serve a very simple purpose, and we have nothing to discuss" Krang replied. The two were then swiftly interrupted by Shredder on the monitor, who had his own bit of news to relay to his partner

"Krang" he said. "When combing the area, a foot solider scout acquired visual confirmation that the Turtles have arrived in the area. He went in to intercept and destroy them, but we haven't heard from him since. I WARNED you Krang" he rasped.

Krang was, again, not phased by this development.

"As I continue to tell you, the Turtles cannot stop us this time. If they find us, I have my trump card to play"

"Your hostage you mean?" Shredder deduced. Krang shook his head. "Not even close" he replied. Cutting Shredder off, he proceeded to put the final phase of his project through it's paces.

Tranquil Repose was nearing completion.

"Launch the interweatherol nexus now" Krang commanded. There was a fierce thunderclap, and before long powerful lighting storms began descending from the heavens. A heavy dosage of rain soon followed.

It wasn't long before the Turtles' transport module flew directly into the path of the storms, prompting Donatello to steer the craft left to right, up and down, to avoid the streams of lighting.

His efforts to avoid being hit were not appreciated by some.

"Watch how you drive, you're making me wanna hurl in my shell" Raphael yelled, trying not to give in his queasy impulses.

"I can't help it Raph, it's these appalling weather conditions" Donatello replied.

"I don't get it, the forecasts didn't say anything about this on the news" Toby added. Leonardo was quick to suspect fowl play involved.

"I've got a sneaking suspicion Krang's behind this…Don, can you pinpoint where Krang is despite everything going on outside?" he asked. "The guidance systems are going haywire in this weather, but I'll try" Donatello said, "I'm going to try and climb out of this storm, hang on to your shells".

"They're attached to our backs, of course we're gonna hang onto 'em!" Raphael added. "I'm checking the module's radar, the storms are encircling an area just below us" Donatello relayed to the team. "There seems to be a device pulsating a type of energy field around the area, it has to be one of Krang's weather devices."

"Move in closer and open the hatch" Leonardo ordered. Donatello was taken aback.

"Are you crazy?" Donatello snapped, "The winds are at a high velocity, you'll be swept out of the module in an instant"

"Not if I have something firm to hold on to" Leonardo explained, "…I'll use one of our patented Turtle suction cups"

"Only $2:99 from reckless endeavours inc kids" Raphael responded.

"Alright Leo, but be careful" Donatello cautioned

Against his pilot instincts, Donatello took the Module down into the blackened mists that encircled the air around them. As they approached the source of the energy pulse, Donatello opened the hatch, allowing Leonardo to exit the craft.

The storms were becoming much more erratic, lightning was coming down on all corners, and the downpour of rain intensified.

"Steady as she goes" Donatello said.

"We should've taken the blimp" Raph said.

"No way Raph, if we went into this kind of weather unprotected, we would be swept away. Like it or not, the module protects us" Donatello explained in defence of their ship.

"Protects us for how long though?" Raphael argued "You're practically inviting the storm in by keeping the door open for Leo"

"You have a point" Donatello said, and activated his Turtle-Com, contacting Leonardo on the outside.

"Leo, hurry up and take out that weather device" Donatello instructed. Leonardo nodded in compliance. The module suddenly buckled, and began moving away from the intended target, Donatello tried to regain control, but seemed unable to. "What's happening" Michelangelo yelled.

"Oh no" an alarmed Donatello said, "We're caught in some kind of tractor beam, the controls are locked"

"Get Leonardo back in here" Raphael uttered. Donatello agreed and again turned to his Turtle-Com.

"Leo, get back in here, we're being pulled away from the device" Donatello relayed, but Leonardo was unwilling to give up the chase.

"I'm almost there" he said from atop the module, catching sight of a small black and grey orb stationed in the centre of the mists in front of them.

"I'm gonna make a jump for it" he said. "But this wind will send ya way past sender" an anxious Donatello replied

"There's a large bed of water below me, I'll be fine if I can hit it" Leonardo said. "We're going down Leo, don't be a fool" Donatello pleaded. Leonardo's focus, however, was completely fixated on the mission.

"On three" he said, "…1...2..."

Donatello screamed Leonardo's name into the Turtle-Com as it went blank on Leonardo's end. "I've gotta get out there" Donatello said, heading for the hatch. Raphael seized the opportunity and pressed the switch on the controls that closed it

"Forget it Don, he's gone" Raphael said. "These winds are too intense for all of us to handle"

"He'll be tossed and twisted around like a…like a paper bag" Donatello said, visibly upset.

"It was all for nothing too, I can vaguely make out the cause of all this happening dudes…it's still there" Michelangelo said, watching the probe continue to generate the wild weather. The Turtles were resigned to their fate as the module continued to be taken on it's magical mystery tour. Toby began to sulk, the weight of what had just happened truly inking in for him.

"I'm sorry you lost Leonardo because of me" he said apologetically.

Raphael gave him a reassuring glance. "Just doing our job kid" he said, "Sorry if it's been a crummy one so far". Donatello sat back down at the controls and checked the module's scanners. "Check this out guys" he said

Raphael looked at the monitors. "There's nothing there" he said. "Look closer" Donatello said

Sure enough, as they came closer and closer to ground zero, they noticed something shimmer and flicker into view…something that had previously been invisible to them. "Something seems to be decloaking"

"Like on Star Trek?" Toby asked, his nerdom on proud display. "Cling on to something" Raphael replied.

"Oh good one Raph" Michelangelo said, getting the joke

"I WASN'T joking. We're starting to really buckle again. Hang on" Raphael said, as the tractor beam began to well and truly reel the module in.

As they approached the source, a large, grey metallic compound, Donatello began to recognise it

"It looks like…it IS, it's one of those mobile fortresses Krang had back when we fought him in that hidden prehistoric world. It also looks like the entire grid has been sealed away by a cloaking device"

Before the astounded group, the door at the centre of the fortress began to open.

"We're going in" Raphael said.

The inside of the fortress was quite compact, with the one floor serving as control room and docking bay all at once.

Krang was on hand to witness the modules arrival.

"Welcome back my foot soldier" Krang cackled, "I trust you were able to deal with those meddling reptiles?"

The hatch of the craft opened, and the Turtles all poured out, ready for action. "You seriously need to place your trust in your local police more than your footlings Krang…that's the only force out there that'll do you justice" Donatello proclaimed.

"Only YOU could make a compliment sound like an insult Don" Raphael remarked.

"Well Leo usually handles the dynamic speeches Raph, I have to compensate" Donatello admitted.

"So let ME do it" Raphael argued.

"All arguments aside bug brain, your goose is cooked…" Michelangelo spoke, then paused and pondered what he'd said. "boy I need to stop thinking so big on food"he thought.

"THE TURTLES" Krang exclaimed, before counting how many stood in front of him "…Wait…only three of you? What's the matter? Did my interweathoral nexus sweep your leader off his feet?" he taunted, before letting out a high-pitched squeal that was meant to represent uncontrollable laughter.

His amusement incensed the Turtles. "You'll regret that weather device on Krang" Donatello vowed

"Yeah and for turning Leo off" Raphael added.

"See this is why we DON'T leave these sort of things to you" Donatello responded.

Watching the stand-off was Krang's prisoner. As soon he glanced over at a certain young boy stepping out of the module to see what was going on, his eyes lit up.

"Toby" he yelled in recognition.

Toby turned around and, to his delight, was able to swiftly identify the prisoner.

"Dad, Turtles, over here".

Raphael ran over to the man, still bound by the tight ropes.

Raphael trusted his sais into the back, cutting away the bonds.

Now freed, the man embraced his son. Raphael felt his heart warm at the sight of father and son reunited.

"Aww, I love me a good family reunion" he said, before putting his sais together and taking up a fighting stance

"But taking out turkeys is just as heart warming. TURTLE POWER!"

Krang was quick to summon back-up, as he reached over to his console and activated a com-link, summoning a small army of Foot Soldiers. "Attack" Krang yelled.

The battle was soon joined as the Turtles went to war with Krang's forces. After about a minutes worth of fighting however, it became clear that the aggressiveness of the Turtles was making short work of their adversaries. As the battle raged on, Krang pondered his next move, only to be interrupted by Shredder. "Krang come in" Shredder's voice echoed from the monitor screen as the battle raged on.

"Can't you see I'm busy?" Krang argued.

"Sure you don't want help?" Shredder asked cheekily.

"I can HANDLE it" Krang insisted. "What do you want anyway?"

"Your employer wants to talk to you" Shredder revealed.

Donatello overheard this, and, after thrusting his bo staff into a foot soldier's chest, took to giving this some thought

"Did he say employer?" he asked

This bit of news seemed to lift Krang's spirits

"Ah good…now I KNOW I can handle this. Patch him through, just let me put on my coat and conceal my true form from view" he said, scrambling for a nearby closet, he threw out all sorts of things, rubber ducks, bright red underwear, until finally he found a long brown coat and a set of bandages.

He wrapped the bandages around the area containing his brain and put the coat on.

Raphael was baffled

"Why the get-up?" he asked

The people I deal with deal in normality." Krang explained, checking himself in a pocket mirror. "Ok, I'm ready, patch him through" he told Shredder.

Before long, the face of his employer graced the screen. The Turtles, Toby and his father reacted in shock.

"Isn't that…" Donatello began.

"THEO CHRIST" Toby exclaimed.

"You're testing my patience Mr. Krang" Theo said in an angered, impatient tone, wisps of smoke pouring out of his cigarette.

"We're almost up to sufficiently habitable levels Mr. Christ" Krang revealed

"I don't pay you to be sufficient Krang. I pay you to be IMMEDIATE" Theo reminded him.

"My son is getting married tomorrow and his first order of business is to spend his well earned honeymoon at the Aquari-ranch and it's luxurious cabin abode"

"You know I can't touch that part without a legally binding contract" Krang noted.

It's a good thing McGruder went missing then isn't it?" Theo boasted, producing a small piece of official looking paper, " I think you'll find THIS here gives you all the permission and luck in this land"

The paper seemed to be of great importance to Toby's father

"The deadline! You cretin, you made me miss the deadline" he said.

"Deadline?" Raphael asked

"Remember what I said about Theo and dad disputing over the land? The city council got so tired of it, that they began a series of court clashes where both sides had to argue a case, if one of them failed to even show up for a hearing, the decision over who got the land would go to the person who DID"

"How timely" Raphael remarked.

"Well, now that I know I can expand, I'll get to work on acquiring the "abode" you require Theo" Krang replied.

Theo couldn't hide his pleasure at this.

"Now that there sounds immediate" he said, "I'll leave you to things then. Theo out!"

As the screen went dead and Theo's face faded from view, Michelangelo opted to join in on the conversation

"Woah, so what you're doing…it's all, almost, legal?" he said.

"Legal and binding Turtles" Krang revealed

"But…why? What could the great dimension-conquering warlord Krang gain from…land development?" Donatello asked.

"It's not for my benefit" Krang said, "It's for THESE"

He turned to his console and pulled up a visual on the monitor, patching into the surveillance cameras at the bottom of his sinkhole. As the pictures came into view, the Turtles were taken back by the serene images of tiny yellow and black amphibian creatures darting across the seabed.

"Woah, scope out the little fishes dude" Michelangelo observed. Donatello was flabbergasted

"FISH? That's it?! " he yelled, "All this, the kidnapping, the cloak and dagger secrecy…all for FISH?!"

"A rare type of fish" Krang revealed "One that is nearing extinction in the warp pools of Dimension X. Earth provides a suitable habitat for them. Having an area as vast as the McGruder property was vital to their survival. When faced with endless legal wrangling, I struck a deal with Theo to keep Mr. McGruder out of the way long enough for the rights to go to someone who wouldn't put up a fuss and fully endorse the development of the Aquari-Ranch, it means a profit for him, a great draw for the natives and tourists, and more importantly, a new habitat for a dying species. Everybody wins"

"Except the people you've cheated out of their livelihoods" Raphael noted.

"A small price to pay for a noble cause" Krang replied.

Donatello decided to call Krang on his 'good intentions'. "Say" he said, "Those undersea video cameras can give us a closer view of everything in it…if you're only in this for a noble cause Krang, let us scan the area looking for Leonardo, he was thrown from the module by your storms while trying to knock out your weather device, we need to find him"

"Why don't you get amongst the fishes yourselves?" Krang asked, "You are amphibians after all…here, let me send you on your way". He pressed a small button on his console. The Turtles were quick to detect a large flushing sound. All of a sudden, they began to feel the floor beneath them getting slippery.

"The floor…it's turning into some kind of whirlpool" Donatello realised in alarm. Sure enough, the Turtles, Toby, and his father were soon caught up in a swirling vortex that began to toss and turn them violently about, dragging them further and further down into the depths, all as Krang watched, laughing at their misfortune.

A hatch beneath the fortress opened, sending the Turtles and their human friends into the water beneath. Frantically, they began to swim upwards, where they were greeted once more by the ravenous storms and high velocity winds generated by Krang's interweatheoral nexus.

"Alright, we're up, everyone ok?" Raphael asked of the others.

"Ow! Something bit me" Donatello spoke in reaction a nasty bite.

"What is it?" Michelangelo replied

Donatello reached down to the left side of his leg, and, after some effort, was able to pry what was gnawing at him loose.

"Looks like one of Krang's freaky fish" Donatello revealed

"Won't it go to the heavenly fish bowel being out of water?" Raphael asked

"I don't think so" Donatello revealed replied, and showed Raphael something that had caught his eye about the creatures

"There's these little pockets attached to it's rib-cage" he pointed out, "Notice the water intake in them? These fish must gather up their natural resources and bottles it to thrive in any environment. Quite ingenious"

The two were interrupted by a scream. It was Toby.

"What's cramping your style little dude?" Michelangelo asked.

"I've GOT a cramp" Toby yelled in pain. Michelangelo promptly came to his aid and grabbed him before he could go under, and handed him over to Mr. McGruder, whose face told the story of a broken and embarrassed man.

"We better power out of this murky water and back to sweet old land-standing" Michelangelo proclaimed.

"Wait, we can't go yet" Raphael responded, "What about Leonardo?"

"Leo would want us to take care of our charges no matter what" Donatello replied, a saddened look on his face…wherever he is, he's on his own".

The Turtles all huddled around each other and gave one another loving looks before embracing and staring up at the troubled sky, before beginning the journey back to dry land.

Back inside the fortress, Krang was boasting of his latest triumph to Shredder.

"Well Shredder? Didn't I tell you I could handle any intrusion on our little project?" Krang asked. Shredder was still trying to process how easy it had been for him to deal with the Turtles…far easier than normal.

"I can't believe it" a startled Shredder said "the great Ninja Turtles, done in by the legal system. I should have taken father's advice on being a lawyer. Always did look good in a suit"

"Save your nostalgic fantasies for a shrink. We have an even BIGGER day tomorrow…and I mean that in the most literal way possible" Krang revealed.

Three hours passed, but despite making it back to land, the Turtles soon found making their way back home was an even more arduous task. Without a transport module to take them most of the way, they were forced to endure the dry dusty desert roads, all of them were beginning to feel the effects of hydration and exhaustion. By now, the erratic conditions generated by the Interwethoral nexus had ceased. Krang's project was complete.

"Man, after all that paddling, I just feel like peddling" Michelangelo remarked, wishing he had something to ride and rely on other than his legs.

"So exhausted…parched even" Raphael said, desperate for a drink, "This torrent of rain couldn't even fill me up…felt like DIET water, if such a thing exists..and it don't"

"Not long to go now guys, just stick it out a little father" Donatello said, trying to keep up his brothers spirits.

"My pride is the only thing slowing me down fellas" a depressed Mr. McGruder revealed, "What am I going to tell my wife when I see her?"

Toby was quick to try and bring his father to his senses.

"You gotta snap out of this funk pa" he said, "We'll get our land back, the Turtles promise, don't you fellas?"

"Oh sure" Raphael promised, "Just as soon as someone slips a diploma on law in my shell, we'll be cleaning out at the courts"

Donatello fixated his gaze on the road ahead, and suddenly picked up something. It appeared to be two men on horseback, and they were steadily approaching.

"Hey, it looks like we've got company" he said to his brothers, "Maybe they can give us a ride the rest of the way".

He began beckoning to them, flapping his arms about to get their attention.

The two riders galloped closer to them. Donatello approached them with a merry smile on his face

"Thank goodness, me and my friends are…"

Before he could finish, one of the riders opted to cut him off by taking him by the throat and slowly begin to choke him.

"Well, looks like we got some desperate little desperadoes" one of the riders commented, observing the situation, "You must be really be thirsty, eating all them prickly cacti has made you go all green"

"Let him go" Raphael snapped. The riders refused, and continued to examine their victims

"You look kinda expensive there" one of them observed, "What with all those fancy weapons you're sporting…probably paid a fine fee for 'em. Tell ya what, I'll let your friend go, if you hand over those and all your other possessions to us"

"Don't listen to them" Donatello spoke, straining as best as he could to create a coherent sentence as the grip on his throat tightened.

"You got seconds. Don't spare 'em" one of the riders cautioned.

Raphael sighed, and turned to Michelangelo.

"Drop them Mike"

Michelangelo was hesitant. "You sure dude?"

"Now" Raphael commanded with authority.

Michelangelo recognised the urgency of Raph's intent, and complied. The two discarded their weapons, dropping them to the ground.

The riders, feeling fortunate this day, took a glance at Mr. McGruder.

"Hey old man" one of them shouted, "You look like you're the one with the wallet"

"Leave my pa alone" a protective Toby said, standing in front of his father

"Oh we'll leave 'em be. Something else has caught our eye" the first of the riders hissed, "Hey partner, while I ring THIS literal turtleneck, why don't you put hands around that scrawny brat?"

"You're taking this too far sleaze" Raphael cried angrily.

"Not far ENOUGH" the second of the riders gloated. He disengaged from his horse and took a few steps towards Toby, his hands outstretched.

As he prepared to give Toby a gritty brush with mortality, a harsh, rough voice that belonged to neither him or his partner let out a deafening scream.

The rider turned around, only to be met by a fierce strike from a blunt object. He reeled back, and as he regained his senses, he caught sight of his attacker. Standing before him, disembarking off a beautiful black horse, were two new strangers, the aggressor of the two was a tall man in a grey coat and a hat that would look good on Jessie James.

He was brandishing a hockey puck, a crucifix hung around his neck, and his features were hidden away by a white mask, the eye slits of the mask revealed wild and weary pupils, all too familiar with the stench of war and the thrill of combat

"Read the good book sometime pal, "though shall not kill"" the attacker rasped, "luckily for me,. "though shall not cream" isn't in there, so I can really cream ya"

"Oh no" Raphael said, recognising the attacker. "It's him"

"Casey Jones. Alright" Michelangelo replied

"Casey who?" Toby asked.

"Someone who's normally up way after your bedtime" Raphael replied.

"Just try it preacher, and you can kiss this turtleneck goodbye" the first of the riders taunted, holding Donatello high above his head.

Casey turned around and glanced back at the black horse. He beckoned the second rider.

"I think I'll leave this to you" he said.

The other stranger strode past Casey, and took off his hat, and stared coldly at the rider, he pulled his hand behind his back and unsheathed a lean Katana blade. Donatello's eyes lit up, and Raphael and Michelangelo both high-fived one another as the all too familiar prescience of Leonardo greeted them

"Let him go. Slowly." Leonardo warned.

The rider was initially unphased, but then saw the blade in hand, he saw the intent in Leonardo's eyes, and something inside him told him not to risk angering this creature this day. He released his grip on Donatello and backed away.

"No problem, just put that shiner away, don't be cutting to any chase now, I was only kidding" he said, he turned to his partner, "C'mon, we're out of here"

His partner was not so keen to depart.

"Not 'till I get to do some bible bashing" he said.

"You sure you want to kick open the gates of paradise?" Casey said.

"Luckily for me, these parts are known to be godless places pal" the rider replied.

Casey threw away his puck and clenched his fists. "Time for my testimony" he said.

The rider charged at him and before long a physical war was being waged. Slowly but surely however, Casey was able to gut it out and proved more than a match for the rider, managing to score critical hits on the gut before gripping him in a headlock

"I think you'll find in this instance, thy kingdom has come dirt bag" Casey remarked as the rider grappled with the pain, and ultimately began to give in to it.

"Ok, ok" he cried, "I yield. I yield"

Casey released his grip on the rider, who staggered off to join his friend, he tried to mount his horse, but Casey was quick to catch him and pull him off. Leonardo took the other rider by surprise and hoisted him off his own horse.

"Hey, let go, we told ya, we don't want trouble" the first rider begged.

"You tried inflicting harm on defenceless creatures and you think you can just wander off without any judgement being passed on you?" Casey revealed.

"What do you want from us man?" the second rider asked, pleading for leniency.

Redemption punks" Casey replied ".These guys look exhausted, worn out. They could do with a ride…yours to be exact. Why don't you play good Samaritan and part with your horses?"

"B-but how are we gonna get back to town?" the second rider asked.

"I guess you'll just have to learn the patience of Jobe…unless of course, you want to be, literally, broke?" Casey threatened, cracking his knuckles.

The riders took one glance at each other and turned back to him, they frantically nodded.

Casey grabbed the two, tossed them aside, and invited the Turtles to jump on the horses.

"Climb aboard green gherkins" he said

"Gherkins? Oh he's really pushing it this time" Raphael remarked

Donatello rushed up to Leonardo and hugged him

"Leo, how'd you survive?"

"Yeah, last we saw you, it looked like you were on your way to the land of Oz" Michelangelo joked.

"I was thrown pretty far back, I completely missed the pool, I would have been a goner if I hadn't…erm "bumped" into Casey while the winds were tossing me around" Leonardo explained.

"He flew straight into me, the back of his shell crushed my face like a blunt rock" Casey remarked , "There's one more reason I'll never take this mask off now"

"He was taking a short cut into town, but got lost and wandered into the zone we were in" Leonardo continued, "We tried to follow you guys when we caught sight of you swimming in that big crater, but the winds were too strong to really rush after you. I didn't want to endanger Casey, so we followed you at a snails pace until the weather finally let up"

"Well it's all well and good isn't it? You're alive and well and we've found Toby's dad, that's some small cause for celebration"

Leonardo looked at Mr. McGruder, his face a mixture of emotion, much of it made up of frustration, anger, self-disappointment, and angst.

"He doesn't look too happy" Leonardo noted

"It's a settlement issue" Donatello replied

"Well if we don't get cracking and figure out what Krang's up to, I don't think anyone's "settlements" will be "settled". C'mon guys, lets get back to the ranch A.S.A.P" Raphael announced, mounting one of the horses, "Turtles ride with honour"

Agreeing with Raph, the remaining Turtles, Toby, McGruder, and Casey all assembled on the three horses and charged across the plains heading back towards the ranch, and home.

Back at Sweetsinker, April O'Neil was continuing her coverage of the preparations for the wedding of Michael Christ, and had taken to the local tavern to interview the townspeople. She was more than prepared for the unpredictable nature of a typical Texan based drinking establishment, brushing off the excited, yet perverse glances and sickly sweet talk of various drunken ramblers inside.

However, she had another small problem to deal with. Earlier she took some time to powder her nose and pretty herself up a bit more for the cameras, Vernon had taken to the tavern to wait for her, and in the process of waiting, had downed quite a few glasses. As April tried to interview the townspeople, Vernon was doing his best to keep not just the camera steady, but himself as well

"April, could you tell your twin sister to get out of shot?" he slurred, nearly tripping over his feet. April couldn't mask her annoyance.

"I don't have a sister Vernon, you're seeing double. I told you not to try those special "wild" cocktails" she said.

"Tails? I don't have a tail" an annoyed Vernon said, completely gassed.

He got up close to April to give her a piece of whatever mind he had left, but before he could utter a word, he fainted. April sighed.

Suddenly, her turtle-com went off. She promptly answered it

"April here" she said, and was greeted by the friendly face of Donatello.

"Hi April, you wouldn't mind coming down to the McGruder ranch tonight would you? I may have something for you to cover" he said.

April looked on at Vernon's limp body sprawled on the floor, "Believe me, there's little keeping me here"

Hours later, once the Turtles and their friends had made it back to the McGruder ranch, they set up a camp fire. A flicker of flames burned brightly over the calm stillness of the evening night. Donatello was inside the house conducting experiments on the warp pool fish that had bit him earlier. Whilst Leonardo and Raphael sat around the burning logs, and in between toasting marshmallows, they took to discussing Krang's latest, and seemingly "legit" scheme.

"All I'm saying is maybe Krang, in his own warped way, was trying to do some good salvaging those fish" Leonardo spoke

"He went about it in a dirty way, but we know how harsh Dimension X can be even to it's most innocent form of creature, maybe these warp pools were being drained by the escalation of industrial work courtesy of Krang's dominion"

"So many assumptions…did that storm put your brain through a blender?" Raphael asked, "It's KRANG, "noble" isn't on his C.V"

"But he helped save all of reality from that other alien Shredder a few months ago, he can't be TOTALLY evil" Leonardo remarked.

Don't bring up that misadventure. I still can't shake away the notion I was hugging for my life….PLEADING I can handle, HUGGING? No…" Raphael replied, disgusted with the way he acted that particular day. Donatello had an explanation for why the brothers had acted like that, but it was too steeped in nerdom for him to really digest.

The two's arguments were enough to rattle Casey, who was trying to sleep

"Will you two pipe down. I've got a big day tomorrow" he said.

"Since when di you ever have a schedule?" Raphael asked, "And what's so big about tomorrow?" he added.

"Something I can't stomach" Casey hinted, "But I gotta be a man about it. Especially for the big man up above"

"Yeah what's this whole deal with you?" Raphael continued "You're suddenly the son of a preacher man instead of a son of an unnamed goat"

"Got a little sick of being saddled with the scourges of society in the papers" Casey revealed ,"Every headline was "maverick marauder mauls some more", "vicious vigilante goes too far", maybe I earned that press, but it got me thinking "what separates me from the bums I beat?"

"So you looked to the sky and found "the big man"" Leonardo said. Casey nodded.

"I'm not picture perfect with him, but at least now my mission has a message." Casey continued, "While we wait for the big day of judgement, I'm gonna be sendin' as many dirty dealers a taste of what the big man's gonna do to 'em."

"Cool story bro" a now disinterested Raphael remarked, Casey glared at him.

"Oh sorry" Raphael said, sensing the sudden tension and trying to cover his tracks, "I was, erm, just filling in Mikey's spot, that's something he'd TOTALLY say"

He tried to change the subject., "Hey Leo, where's Mike anyway?"

"He's at the stables. He needed to clear his head" Leonardo revealed

"You should take his advice" Raphael said.

Over at the stables, Michelangelo was lost in thought, staring out at the bright moon in the distance. He was soon approached by a graceful visitor.

"Nice night" said April, startling Mikey.

"What are you doing up this late?" he said, "I thought you'd be here earlier"

"I was dabbling in some very last minute reediting, plus Vernon had one major hangover. What's your excuse party dude?"

"No night-owling for me this time dudedette, I came out to think a little" Michelangelo said.

April walked over to the fence and sat on top of it, her legs crossed, she put a hand on Mikes. "Want to talk about it?" she said.

"We got time?" Michelangelo asked. April pondered this.

"True, You've got some cowboys to rustle up and I've got to cover the corralling. We'll get to talking back in New York. You still got that Pizza? Or is that all that needs addressing?" she asked

Michelangelo stared back at the moon, and began twiddling his fingers apprehensively .

"Yeah, about that, I was thinking…maybe you could try going large, the one I've got is…"

He stopped, pretty embarrassed about the situation, "Mine is kind of small" he said.

"You're having problems with the size?" April asked

"Sorry April…they just…" Michelangelo said, April was quick to finish the sentence, for she knew him that well

"They don't fill you quite up?" she replied. Michelangelo nodded.

"They're not supposed to" she explained, "you're meant to be having dinner"

"But isn't dinner all ABOUT the dinner?" Michelangelo argued, "What am I supposed to do if I finish early?"

"Mike, answer me this…what am I?" April said.

"A girl" Michelangelo replied

"Amazing observation" April sarcastically remarked, "I meant what AM I other than A. a girl, and B. a human?"

"A reporter" Michelangelo replied, getting it right. "And what do reporters look for?" April asked

"Stories" Michelangelo replied. "Well done" April said

"BIG stories" he added, turning the conversation back to his little problem. "Ok…THAT was clever" April replied, "Missed the point…but clever. Top marks for that""

"What does your job have to do with small meals?" Michelangelo asked, trying to understand the point as best he could#

"The whole point of dinner" April revealed. "Mike, as soon as you finish the meal, WHAT do you do?"

"Watch TV" he said. "No not what YOU do. I mean in a social context" April replied, "What is it you OUGHT to do?"

"A toss-up between a belching contest and…talking" Michelangelo replied.

"Bingo. Talking." April replied, putting one finger on the rim of Michelangelo's nose and prodding it affectionately

"Be it a toast, or a bit of a roast, talking always enriches the dining experience. Being a reporter means my appetite comes from the real meat of conversation, what makes a person tick, what their day has been like, who they've met, what they're feeling . Eating a meal is fine, but the smaller the course is, the faster you finish, and the sooner we move on to the talking."

"So even if I come across a…shortage, you'll just eat it up anyway?" Michelangelo asked.

"I don't care about that Mike" she said, "You and the guys are who I care about, I know you're much more than a "short supply". Life isn't about the big things, it's the tiniest details, and as long as I know you're TRYING to make time, either for me, your brothers, or someone else, then the size on the plate can be of any quantity."

Michelangelo smiled and put his hand on April's shoulder, shaking her gently.

"Thanks April. I totally feel tubular now. All this over a tiny morsel of Pizza, I really ought to reevaluate what defines my comfort shell"

"Glad I'm a worthy candidate for it then" April replied in jest.

The heartfelt exchange between the two was soon interrupted as Donatello burst out of the house. "Get the others. Quickly" he said

"What's up Donatello?" April asked.

"Just get the others, I'll explain everything when you do"

April and Michelangelo complied and gathered up Leonardo and Raphael. Before long everyone was gathered around Donatello's makeshift workshop inside the house.

"On closer inspection, that fish that bit me has incredibly durable teeth" he explained

"Donatello, we're not dentists, try impressing us with something a little more…alert" Raphael said.

"Oh I'm going somewhere with this" Donatello replied, and resumed his examination "…The teeth that sunk into my hand have grown in size and strengthened in structure, in fact, the whole body is constantly amassing weight. And here's the cause. These little capsules attached to the sides containing some of the water content from that large sinkhole Krang was working on"

"Talk about your growing up milk…" Michelangelo added.

"Watch what happens when I puncture it" Donatello revealed, and begin putting pressure on the capsules with his thumbs. He found this task remarkably difficult, though he knew precisely why.

"You have to put some real pressure on it…it gets more difficult as they grow…a little further…THERE" he said, small glands of sweat breaking out.

The creature let out a little yelp, and a startling transformation took place before the Turtles eyes

"Hey, that little nipper's shrinking" Michelangelo observed

"Yep. Just as I figured" Donatello concluded "The water generated on Earth causes an acceleration process in the creatures"

"So…if what you said about Krang is true, he's got a whole fleet of fiendish fish ready to literally get up and go" April replied.

:"Which means We've got to crash the unveiling of that Aquari-ranch tomorrow" Leonardo revealed, " Before it's too late"

Following Donatello's discovery, the Turtles decided it was best to do what Casey was trying to do for the better part of the evening and get some good nights sleep, replenishing their energies for the big day ahead.

As hours went by and morning steadily approached, an alarm clock was quick to activate, awakening young Toby. He got up and walked downstairs towards the kitchen, he heard a kettle boiling. His father was up too, making some early morning coffee

"Pa…you ok?" Toby asked. His father gave a faint smile, but his heavy eyelids told the story. He was still down.

"I'll be fine boy" he said., "Just halfway up the stairs is all"

Toby walked over to him and tugged at his leg, Mr McGruder bent down and gave his son a warm hug.

"It'll be ok pa" Toby assured him.

The two were soon greeted by Raphael, who had just glimpsed something over at the window

"You guys might want to turn off the blues and start getting red in the face" he said, "I think you're being evicted"

Mrs McGruder double-checked Raphael's claim, looking out of the window herself. She could make out a medium sized man with a black moustache and snakeskin boots, a small gold star attached to his chequered shirt glistened in the brightness of morning light.

"Oh my…it's the Sheriff" she said, and turned back to Raphael, "it's best you and the others nip upstairs, I'll stall as much as I can"

There was a knock at the door, Mrs McGruder straightened her looks out in the mirror, wanting to look her best for the company outside, and opened up her home to the visitor.

"What can I do for you Sheriff?" she asked. The Sheriff, a man of quick wit and sharp deduction skills, was not taken in by the naivety on display

"You know why we're here McGruder" he said, "Gather your family and get out before we remove you. You're no legally obligated to live here"

Mrs McGruder's sincerity completely eroded at this announcement. "Now listen here" she began, flapping her finger in the Sheriff's face, "You can't just expect us to pack up and leave whenever you deem fit, my husband is going through a depression, he's not mentally fit"

"Let's not have any trouble" the Sheriff said, swatting McGruder's finger aside and grabbing her by the arm, he pointed towards the door, "out" he said.

Upstairs, the Turtles and Casey were witness to the whole thing, and one of them had about all they could take of what was happening. Casey came storming down the stairs to tip the balance ever so slightly.

"Not have any trouble? What else am I gonna have breakfast?" he angrily proclaimed.

His very prescience gave the Sheriff the immediate sense of the willies.

"Pastor Jones?" The Sheriff said in recognition, "I had…I had no idea you were staying here. We've got orders to move this family out and make the accommodation readily available for Mr Michael Christ and his new bride, as well as the distinguished members of the press Mr. Christ has assembled to cover the launch of the Aquari-ranch"

"And if they REFUSE?" Casey uttered, getting closer and closer to the Sheriff, letting his eyes tear down the previous icy demeanour of the lawman

"We-we don't even need to discuss that", the Sheriff said, trying to hold his ground and stick to his duty in spite of the intimidation factor. "If they come along peaceful like, we can avoid the more unpleasant procedures"

Toby stood in front of his mother, his arms folded, he would now have a go at the petrified authority figure.

"Well we're NOT moving" he said.

Inspired by all the defiance going on, Raphael and the other Turtles descended down the stairs to back their friends up.

"And the only peace you're getting is of OUR minds" Raphael vowed.

"I take it you're the fellas who the McGruders enlisted to help them" The Sheriff said, "Mr. Christ's employer, the chief architect of the Aquari-ranch, warned us about you, he was even kindly enough to provide us with some back-up"

The Turtles head stomping and mild electronic hum. Leonardo rushed to the front door and peered outside. There, standing before them, was a small number of Foot Soldiers.

"I won't ask you again Mrs McGruder, you and your family best get to steppin, or you'll be stepped on"

"You didn't count on stepping on US com padre" Michelangelo interrupted

"Just leave the branding to me" Casey requested.

In a matter of moments, the Turtles and Casey dashed out to meet the Foot Soldiers in battle. Mrs McGruder, sensitive to her son witnessing potential moments of violence, shielded her sons sight by closing his eyes with her hands.

Despite this handicap, Toby could still make out with his hearing the sounds of lazer fire as the soldiers unleashed their weapons, and high pitched combat yells from Casey as he tore through them with his hockey puck, smashing them all over their heads. He heard the sickening slice of metal as swords, sais, and staffs cut through the cyborg enforces, making short work of them.

Finally, after just a minute of intense combat, the Turtles and Casey stood triumphant. Mrs McGruder released her grip on Toby's eyes, but what he had lacked in visual he more than made up for in imagination.

He couldn't wait to e-mail Zach and the fan club about this day.

"And that brings an end to this little "ROBEO" Raphael joked, he looked around for any sign of laughter, only to be met with nothing but a tumbleweed.

"Turtles, we can't delay anymore, we must return to Krang's watering hole and put a stop to those fish" Leonardo announced

"Agreed" Casey said, fixating his gaze on the Sheriff, "IF the long arm of the law prefers to KEEP both his arms, I don't think we need worry about anyone stopping us or pulling any tricks on the McGruder home until we get back"

The Sheriff gulped.

"Well, now that you mention it, the next thing on my list of priorities was to safely escort the master of ceremonies to the Aquai-ranch to conduct the wedding" he said nervously.

"Master of ceremonies? He means YOU doesn't he?" Raphael realised, "This is what you were preparing for last night. Why didn't you just tell us?"

"I didn't wanna make a song and dance about it." an embarrassed Casey responded. " Besides I hate singing and dancing"

"Aw, what's the matter Casey, a little love story stirring those butterflies knotted helplessly around your hardened stomach?" Raphael asked, fluttering his eyes in a pseudo-affectionate manner.

Casey chose to ignore the ribbing and turned his attention back to the Sherriff.

"You don't mind if I bring along the best men do you Sheriff?" he said, pointing to the Turtles. The Sheriff wilfully nodded in compliance.

"Alright, we've got an invite" Michelangelo jubilantly uttered

"I think I'll stay behind for a bit fellas" Donatello announced, "I need to put together something that'll deal with a lot more of those critters in just as quick a time"

Whistle while you work Don" Raphael replied. Donatello got to thinking about this

"OF COURSE" he yelled, "Thanks Raph, you've given me a great idea"

"Taking a good idea…from me? The world really is getting pessimistic" Raphael remarked.

"In the meantime, let's make everyone glad we crash this wedding" Leonardo announced, and ran to the stables to gather the horses.

Several hours later, at the Aquri-ranch, the press had finally been allowed access to the area. Krang's fortress, hidden from view because of the cloaking device, remained undetected.

Among the curious bunch was April, who had went ahead of the Turtles a few hours earlier in the morning to cover the story with Vernon.

As Theo Christ took to the specially prepared press podium at the very front of the large crater of water, the reporters went wild, throwing question after question at the bigwig. At first the ecstatic display of energy amused Theo, but as he tried to calm everyone down, he found himself becoming greatly perturbed by it.

"Now folks, one question at a time, come on" he said, trying to keep everything cool, but as the reporters insisted on their rapid-fire inquisition, Theo found himself LOSING his cool.

"SHUT UP" he bellowed. The reporters fell silent.

"Now", Theo said, composing himself and straightening his tie, "Make the first question the most important. I've got a wedding to attend to and a ranch to make good and ready for them"

A strong, but more restrained, wave of commotion came from the strong wave of reporters. Theo decided to take questions from the ones raising their arms up, silently requesting a chance to speak. He granted April the floor.

"Mr. Christ, now that the Aquari-Ranch is open for business, when are we actually going to SEE any aquatic life in it?" she asked

"Good question, I have a ready made answer" Theo replied and pointed to a taller podium next to them that looked over the sinkhole. "If you will be kind enough to follow me up these here steps, I can give you, at a simple command, a first hand view of what is in this crater"

A select few of the reporters, April included, followed Theo up the stairs leading up to the elevated podium. Once they were assembled, Theo activated a communicator device. Krang's features appeared on it.

"Mr. Krang, give them something to look at" Theo instructed.

"Will do Mr Christ" Krang replied, "Enjoy"

Vernon noticed April's apprehension. "What's with you? You've been distant and distracted since we got here. Surely you've been around enough aquatic life forms without being sick of the sight of them, you can handle this"

"At least the ones I hang out with come from this planet, and I hope they get around to handling this" April replied. Vernon, disinterested, went back to covering the activity of the sinkhole.

Inside his fortress, Krang set to work on his control console. Outside, the reporters heard a loud hiss of steam, and witnessed the rapid rise and bursting of bubbles on the surface of the sinkhole.

Observing the activity on the monitor, Krang chuckled.

"Here fishy fishy fishy" he said.

Witnessing all this from the podium, April was quick to take note of the sinkhole's sudden increase in temperature

"Why is it heating up?" she asked Theo

"No need to panic Mss O'Neil" he said, "The life in this pool is quite docile and not prone to visiting the surface. This just a little kick-starter to get them out and about"

"Isn't that a bit cruel?" April asked

"I assure you it's quite safe. They can withstand ANY temperature, so don't think I'll be serving them for lunch. My sources even claim they find their feet when on the surface"

Events were soon interrupted as the Turtles, Casey, and the McGruders all arrived on the scene. They swiftly brought their horses to a halt just short of the podium.

"Stop this now" Leonardo commanded.

"Turtles, you made it" April joyfully commented. Theo was less than thrilled.

"Who invited THEM lizard kings?" he said, suspecting fowl play, he turned to his com-link. "Do you have anything to do with this Krang?" he asked

Krang, however, was not responding. Theo tried contacting him again, but all he got was static for his trouble.

Casey charged up the podium, cut through the body of reporters and grabbed Theo by the collar, lifting him high above the boiling water below.

"You've got to the count of ONE to call time on your fishing trip" Casey threatened.

"Unhand me at once" Theo cried before putting his hands together in a praying position, "I'll cut a deal with you, just please don't drop me"

"You're endangering everyone here Mr. Christ, order a mass evacuation. The fish in that pool are dangerous!"

"You're too late" Theo said, glancing at something emerging from the pool, "Even if I wanted to stop it, the spectacle is making itself known"

The Turtles and everyone gathered stared on in shock at the sight before them. Taking deep intakes of breath, and displaying it's sharp, grimy bladed teeth, a colossal version of the fish they had seen earlier stepped out of the sinkhole and onto dry land. It was soon followed by two more.

"Holy Mackerel" Raphael said in alarm

"I'm the preacher here, I get to say that" Casey remarked.

Leonardo tried to make sense of what he was seeing. The creatures seemed to have distinctly different features about them now that their growth had been accelerated, they were now sporting large spiked fins, and were sporting armour like rib-cages.

As more of them began to flock out, the gathering of reporters went into full panic mode, panicking and running down the podium, scattering in all direction, trying to find some kind of cover.

Vernon joined them, ditching his camera and not even trying to drag April away from the site. April picked up the camera and tried to capture the creatures on film, but her intrusiveness greatly annoyed one of the amphibians, who took her camera in it's hand and crushed it.

"Oh that's just great" April said in frustration, "My story's got legs but I can't cover them"

"Just be glad you've still attached to your own" came a voice from behind her. April turned around to be met with Michelangelo, who grabbed her by the hand and took her off the podium just as the creatures took it apart in a fit of rage.

Michelangelo and April regrouped with the other Turtles, whilst every other reporter swarmed past them.

"Well, it can't be all that bad" Michelangelo observed, "I've seen wilder crowds at Pizza joints having half price sales on cheese and omelette coatings"

"Battle plan guys." Leonardo proclaimed "What do we have?

Raphael held up a rope he had attached to his buckle, "Will this suffice? I picked it up at the ranch"

"Good, we'll put it to use" Leonardo replied. "We need to hold those creatures down long enough to break the capsules on their bodies"

"Alright, I'll give it a go" Raphael said in agreement, "But I'd rather catch them with a net like the best of fishermen"

Raphael approached one of the rampaging creatures and lassoed the rope, aiming for it's tail. With a mighty swing, he successfully snagged it.

"Hey, I got a bite" Raphael said, beaming with pride before suddenly being hoisted into the air as the creature marched forward, taking him and the rope with it.

"Aw bummer, now that tail is whooping Raph's" Michelangelo said.

"Raph, let go of the rope" Leonardo instructed

"No way, I'm going to give the "one that got away speech"" Raphael complained.

Suddenly, a clutter of hooves could be heard. Leonardo, Michelangelo and everyone else turned to find Donatello had joined them.

"Donny, oh we're glad to see you" Leonardo said

"Hey guys, how are things?" Donatello asked as he disembarked from his horse.

Michelangelo pointed to the rampaging creatures.

"They're like, TOTALLY things dude" an alarmed Michelangelo said, "And they've got Raph tailing them…"

"All he needs to do is let go you know" Leonardo replied

"Pride comes before a fish" Raphael yelled back.

"Looks like I got here just in time with this" Donatello said, producing a small device from behind his shell. Leonardo examined it

"Careful, it's an extremely sensitive piece of cutting-edge equipment" Donatello advised.

"It's a whistle" Leonardo said as he identified the piece.

"Not just ANY whistle. A high frequency sonic displacer that can shatter solid objects from a thousand mile radius" Donatello explained, "It's a perfect tool to take out the glass domes sustaining the creatures water intake without the need to coral them and shatter them practically"

"So what are we waiting for?" Michelangelo said, "Put your lips together and blow". He giggled at that last bit, he really loved that kind of corny movie lingo

Suddenly, a warning blurted out of Raphael as the creature he was attached to came charging towards them.

"Incoming" he screamed. But it was too late, the creature cut through them. The Turtles all tumbled about as they were shoved to the ground, the fish roared yet again and joined more of it's kind as they began making a play for the fleeing crowd. Amongst them was Michael Christ and his fiance Lorraine.

"Michael, run" Lorraine pleaded as she tripped up on her high heels, slowing her down and leaving her at the mercy of the looming creatures.

"I'm not going anywhere without you" Michael said, helping her up, but in doing so, he too was now in direct sight of the fish, who were eager to feast.

Observing this in horror was Theo.

"Michael! Oh no" he yelled. He suddenly caught sight of McGruder, who was still very distant despite all that was going on, unable to shake his earlier failures to maintain control of his land.

"McGruder, snap out of whatever funk you're in, my boys in trouble" Theo begged. McGruder began to hum to himself. He was completely zoned out, reality didn't mean a whole lot to him right now.

"Alright McGruder, I'll cut a deal with you" Theo offered, "I'm sorry for all the hassle I gave you over your land, you can have it back, just stop those critters from crushing my boy"

McGruder was still hard to reach, that is, until he heard a familiar yell

"Pa help" cried Toby as another of the creatures set their sights on him, lunging towards him, Toby backed away and tried to run, but also tripped up over some loose shoelaces.

For McGruder, reality had finally set in, and he ran to his son's aid, this left Theo again without any sign of help for his own child.

Meanwhile, the Turtles were recovering from their earlier collision with the rampaging fish.

"Donny, are you ok?" Leonardo asked, Donatello nodded, and began searching for something, his face becoming more alert as he combed the immediate area in front of him.

"What's wrong?" said Leonard

"The displacer! I've dropped it!" Donatello said.

"Without it, we're sunk" Raphael said.

"I don't think we're caught hook line and sinker yet bro" Michelangelo said, as he noticed Mr McGruder picking something up en route to where Toby was . Before long, McGruder was beckoning them, holding the displacer in hand.

"Have no worries gizzard-men, I've got my hands on it" he said, "And if what your little purple bandanna brainiac says is true, I'm gonna sure shatter some conventions" he said.

As Toby closed his eyes in preparation for the end, the predatory fish opening up it's jaws, ready for intake, Mr. McGruder blew hard on the whistle. The Turtles and everyone around them covered their ears as the loud sound penetrated the heavens.

"Ugh, it's like a whales grandma just took up singing lessons" Raphael remarked

"Check it out dude" Michelangelo said, pointing at the fish, "This is one sound that's really making them burst out"

Sure enough, the much anticipated sound of breaking glass overwhelmed the area as the displacer shattered the protective pressure domes on the creatures. There were howls of pain and anguish as they gradually began to shrink, their sharply pitched screams even minimising as their bodies changed size and shape, reduced gradually to small squeaks and yelps.

The Turtles ducked out of the way as the creatures dashed madly about in their direction once again, one of them was in such a mad state that it dived back into the sinkhole, only to come straight back up, yelling more in pain and smashing up the surrounding mountains. "When did the water temperature rise?" Donatello asked as he observed the fish's erratic behaviour.

"Just as these things came out and started this whole mess" Raphael explained, "Theo said it was the only way to bring them out into the open, or so he was led to believe. "I've got a feeling those "warp pools" Krang was talking about were like giant ovens for those creatures, or more precisely giant Jacuzzis" Donatello theorized, "It's possible that after a certain period, after the fish have collected enough water intake, the temperature of the pools forces them out and into the wilderness of Dimension X in this colossal form, ready to prey on anything that moves. Fascinating"

"Yeah, well Krang's fascination with them is going to lead to an ugly reality on his end, his fortress is cloaked remember? That thing could strike it at any time" Raphael observed.

Sure enough, it wasn't long before the fish had started cutting into the fortress, opening up a wide hole within it and causing it's interior structure to collapse. As Krang did his best to avoid being crushed by debris, he activated his com-link to Dimension X, requesting an evacuation

"Shredder, open up the portal" he pleaded. Shredder however, was delighting in the disintegration of Krang's schemes.

"Well well Krang, I thought you had everything "tied up", but it appears you're missing some very loose ends" he joked.

"Now is NOT the time to say "I told you so" Krang bellowed."And to think, I was going to use that lovely abandoned McGruder ranch to live out my great dream of being a cow brain"

Shredder shook his head at Krang's ridiculous ambition, and the screen on the communicator went blank. Shredder shook his head and the screen on the communicator went blank.

In a matter of moments, the dimensional portal opened, Krang promptly jumped through and was transported back to the safety of the Technodrome. His escape came just in time as the desperate and dying fish came toppling down on the fortress, causing a series of explosions that developed into a bigger bang that took the sinkhole and the base apart.

All around the Turtles, the remaining fish had shrank down to normal size, and had taken their last breaths. McGruder, delighted with himself, ceased blowing on the whistle. "There, that should take care of it" McGruder said, proudly. Toby grabbed his father and held him tightly

"I am so proud of you dad" Toby said, joyful and happy.

Theo, with Michael and Lorraine in tow, suddenly ran up to McGruder, shaking his hand thoroughly. McGruder waved it aside, put Toby up on his shoulders and began walking away. The Turtles followed him. "Thankyou, thank you for saving my boy…for saving everyone." Theo yelled, "I guarantee you'll be rewarded, not just with your land, but a billion dollar bonus and a stake in my new line of whistles, with you as our mascot"

"Now that's what I call putting money where your mouth is" Leonardo joked. Raphael elbowed him. "Note to bro" he said, "Leave the corn to THIS cracker"

Later that afternoon, at the town hall, the wedding of Michael Christ was finally underway. The familiar and enchanting sounds of wedding day organs blurred out harmonic symphonies befitting the occasion. Assembled were the townspeople, April, the Turtles, and, conducting the ceremonies as promised, Casey.

"And do you take this broad to be your blushing bride?" Casey asked of Michael. There was a brief pause as Michael composed himself, his nerves getting the better of him. His face was bright red. Casey loomed over him

"You'd better not be blushing at ME sweet cheeks" he said.

Finally, Michael was able to spill out a nervous, but simple "I do"

"Then by the power places in me by that priest I threatened a couple of weeks ago, I pronounce you husband and wife." Casey proclaimed, "Now hurry up and kiss her so I can get the heavens out of here" he muttered.

Before long Michael and his blushing bride were locked in a warm embrace, bringing much joy and sentimental well-wishes from the gathered crowd.

"I do love weddings. They're so…inventive and busy" Donatello observed…partially sad he'd probably never have one in his lifetime.

"Perfect end to a busy day" Leonardo said in reflection.

Just as the day couldn't get more perfect, Toby ran up to them, offering them hearty handshakes and high-fives.

"Hey Turtles, thanks for everything. I'll be sure to tell the fan club all about this" Toby said in appreciation.

"Just be sure to credit your father with saving the day. Sons always honour their fathers" Leonardo advised

"You don't have to remind me Leo, that part I've always remembered" Toby said

"If it's all the same with you bro, the business end of the day will come with whatever they're serving for dinner" Michelangelo commented.

"You're in luck fellas, I've just seen what there serving, come check it out" April said, guiding the Turtles over to the buffet table.

"Boy on boy, real western cuisine" Raphael said, licking his lips "Really looking forward to tuck into…"

Before he could finish, something stopped dead in his tracks. His face gagged when he saw what was laid out on the table.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me" Raphael remarked.

"Tiny portions of Shrimp? Really April?" Leonardo asked in dismay.

"Let's just say it'll get Mikey in the mood for pizza this week" April replied in jest.

"Don't worry babe" Michelangelo replied, "I'm sure it'll grow on me"

The Turtles and their friends all opted for a big hearty chuckle at this.

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 15th, 2018 at 02:24 AM.
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Old November 28th, 2017, 12:47 PM #5
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> Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 32,725
Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 32,725



"MY SEER, MY SECRETARY"


Across the brightly lit void of space, a majestic, dart-shaped crystalline star craft shot through the fabric of our known reality like a majestic swan in flight.

A rare beauty to behold in the universe, and in this particular instance, a prize just waiting to be caught.

In hot pursuit of it were two other craft, both were lean grey shafts of metal powered by ferocious rockets, ominous drills attached to their front, and it's mounted weapons bombarding the star craft with unforgiving laser fire.

Inside the craft, its alien crew, were wrought with concern, for one major priority occupied their feverish minds as they tried to work out how to best elude this terrifying onslaught.

"How goes the search Krator" said one of the two aliens, "Have you pinpointed a safe hiding place for the Tri-Osteron?"

"I'm doing a scan of this dimension's system now Malkite" replied his partner, as the craft was dealt another crucial blow, a blast setting fire to it's outer shell.

"Hurry" Malkite insisted.

Eventually, Krator had news.

"I've found something" he verified, "It's difficult to tell because the scanner has been heavily damaged, but if what I'm getting is even half-right, you are not going to like this"

"Test me" Malkite replied cynically

"The nearest planet in reach has a regular night and day cycle" Krator confirmed. Malkite frowned at this.

"Are you sure there is nowhere else you can deposit it?" he asked, trying to salvage the situation with another suggestion, and hoping there was one

"The only other option is the planet's barren moon, but we both know our enemies have come from there" Krator responded.

Malkite, ever the nitpicker, was determined to find some sort of light at the end of the narrow tunnel, "Can you pinpoint what time of day it is on the planet?" he said, "We MUST be sure of ourselves"

Krator indulged his friend's desperation, and did another scan with the delicate and partially damaged equipment. His luck with it seemed to be holding, as some useful information was acquired from it.

"This planet has multiple time zones, the sun shines in one corner, and down on the other, we must be precise in our selections if we are to…"

Before he could finish, he was cut off by a small explosion as the ship took another crucial hit.

"We just lost our second engine" Malkite confirmed.

"I cannot delay any longer, jettison the Tri-Osteron. Put a tracking device on it. When we give our enemies the slip, we can set about tracing it"

Malkite nodded in agreement and took out a small jagged crystal from his pocket, he placed it in a small hatch at the side of the craft. He put his hand on a lever seated next to it.

"Commencing jettison…NOW" he said, and released his hold on the lever.

Tearing through the cloak of darkness came out shimmering shot of light as the crystal was thrown from the ship, hurtling towards the small blue planet a couple of meters away.

The craft attempted several elusive moves even on one engine, to outwit and escape the pursuing ships, only to be matched at every turn. With no consistent levels of speed, they stood no chance.

After taking a few more hits, the craft was forced to stop, enabling the two pursuing ships to mount a docking attempt. One of the enemy ships launched a small dart that hung over the captured star craft, the dart produced a bright energy net that encircled all three ships, binding them to one another.

"Krator, they're attempting to come aboard" Malkite cried out, Krator could do nothing, for the electrical net had completely ensnared them

It wasn't long before two of their pursuers disembarked from their craft, holding in their hands an ignited wielding torch. They spacewalked over to Malkite and Krator's craft and set to work on trying to enter it.

"Are they insane? If they breach the hull, we'll be sucked out into space, the lack of oxygen will kill us" Malkite said in alarm. Krator wasn't so sure

"I don't think so" he said, "Note that our visitors are wearing no space suits, I think that energy net is somehow capable of sustaining life within it so long as it's active"

Malkite was impressed by the level of advanced technology their pursuers had, but the curiosity was not enough to distract him from the magnitude of his predicament.

In a span of mere seconds, the torch had cut a sizeable hole in the hull of the ship, allowing the two to come on board.

They were a peculiar sort. One resembled a hulking grey creature with a medium but sharp horn, the other had boorish features and a large snout for a nose. The two hissed and snorted, both breathing very heavily, and put an aggressive demeanour on full display.

"Alright rosweillies…where's that tri-thingy you got stashed?" the horned creature asked, holding Malkite at gunpoint

"You're too late, its out of all our reaches"

The horned creature glared angrily at Krator, but then, just for a second, something caught his eye.

"I see it. Bebop, look, see" he said, jubilant as he recognised the fading flicker of light as it reached the atmosphere of the planet.

A communicator attached to his belt buckle suddenly sprang into life with a commanding, and impatient, voice.

"Bebop, Rocksteady, report" came the voice "Have you secured the Tri-Osteron?"

"The aliens shot it into space boss, it's heading for Earth" Bebop confirmed. His master was not pleased

"Blast you two" he said, "You're always late to the party"

"Funny…I don't see anyone else here, must be a private party" Rocksteady replied

His master despaired at the stupidity on display.

"Oh be quiet you fools" he said,"Take the aliens hostage, and do whatever you can to trace that crystal. Once we get our hands on it…the future won't be as full of surprises as it'd like to be "

And with an unsettling sound of wicked laughter, the communicator went blank.

In a remote and remarkably cosy sewer lair hidden beneath the streets of New York, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the brainy and resourceful Donatello, was hard at work in his head, trying to keep a level head.

"Relax, and repeat to yourself, "I am in control" came a gentle and soothing voice from one of Donatello's many self-help tapes designed to bring about peace of mind and body in any stressful situation. Donatello took deep breaths and repeated the words of encouragement

"I am in control" he said.

"You have never felt so balanced" the voice assured him

"I have never felt so balanced" Donatello repeated.

"Now, put one foot forward, and feel content you took this first step forward"

Donatello tried, only to find enormous difficulty as his toes began to shake. Before long, the rest of his body was wobbling. He tried to repeat the words and give him some kind of cantered focus, but it was not enough. Losing all control, he fell backwards and crashed into a heap on the floor.

The commotion was enough to warrant the attention of his Sensei, Master Splinter, who rushed into the lab to check on him.

"Donatello, are you alright?" Splinter asked. Donatello placed one hand on his hand and rubbed it gently.

"Oh I'll be fine Sensei. I just had another spill" Donatello replied. Splinter took Donatello's hand and helped him up.

"Are you sure it is wise to continue working on your device while you suffer from this condition?" Splinter asked.

"I'm seizing the moment" Donatello explained "I need to divert most of the power in the lair to the device I'm working on. The energy emissions might be giving me some light-headedness, but it's the only time I can afford to make good on my commitments to the project. I can't do all this with all the guys hogging the electricity for tv and microwaves"

Donatello walked over to a nearby seat and sat down, trying to relax, "You run along and watch your "Lives of our Days" DVD marathon on my laptop Master. I'll be fine"

"I will try to entertain myself" Splinter promised, "But remember Donatello" he cautioned, "he who stings like the sharpest bee, cannot become as gentle a butterfly"

With those parting words of wisdom, Splinter returned to the main living room of the lair, intending to settle down and watch his soap opera from Donatello's laptop, allowing Donatello to continue conducting his experiments using the power normally reserved for the television and other appliances.

"Right, back to work" Donatello said to himself, getting up from the seat and stretching his arms, trying to get some feeling back into his body, still rattled slightly by the shakes.

Suddenly, he was interrupted by a series of beeps going off as his nearby Turtle-com flared into life.

"April? April? Oh how do you patch into her frequency" came the hight-pitched, nerdish squeals of an all too familiar female voice. Donatello despaired as he caught on to who it was

"Oh no, not HER" he said.

With a deep sigh, he picked up the Turtle-Com from the desk and pressed the response button.

"Don't go anywhere Irma, I'm right here" he said.

Sure enough, the features of April O'Neil's well-meaning but often disaster-prone best friend, Irma Langinstien, appeared on the small monitor at the centre of the Turtle-Com.

"Donatello?" she said, recognising the Turtle by his bandana, "Oh, do you know where April is?"

"She's at the theatre with Michelangelo" Donatello explained

"Gee, I didn't know Mike had a flair for the arts" Irma said

"He doesn't Donatello revealed. "April brought over to riff on the whole show. What's YOUR emergency Irma?" he continued, quickly changing the subject, he had really no time for this.

"April's the only one out of the two of us that knows how to programme a VCR" Irma revealed.

Donatello was quite close to boiling point at this bit of news.

"You have a DVD player" he quietly, but angrily, pointed out, "AND a Tivo. You're calling me at dead o'clock at night about THIS?"

"Ah quit your snipping you" Irma replied, just as annoyed now, "I was trying to play a few old tapes I found of my friends wedding days. I love that stuff. Puts me to bed with hope for another day"

The sentimentality of her needs calmed Donatello's temper, and he managed to find a still point again.

"Sorry Irma, I've just been really busy" he said. Irma nodded in understanding.

"So, what are you up this time of night anyway? Your Turtles night-owls or something? Does that make sense?"

"Bit of a lonely night, but that's the way it has to be for me" he said, "Master Splinter is here but he's…in deep meditation. Can't be interrupted. Nope" he said, not wanting to reveal what Splinter was truly up to for fear Irma would laugh.

"Say, why don't' I pop in and cheer you up? I'll even bring Pizza" Irma proposed. Donatello scratched his chin, pondering the prospect.

He knew Irma, despite her kinks, would be more fascinated in his work than the others, and might even encourage him a bit, boosting his ego with a perky motivational speech. With Leonardo taking the Turtle Van out for a midnight drive, Raphael at a comedy club, and Michelangelo and April making fun of a particularly dull play.

He realized that, while he was grateful for the peace and solidarity, the continued presence of his dizzy spells and lack of real communication were likely the cause of his raised apprehension levels.

He was not acquainted with long-term isolation, and needed someone to bounce off of, someone less in tune with what he specialised in, he desired an outsiders perspective.

"You know, that isn't half a bad idea" he said, "Come on down". Irma smiled at this

"Righty ho Neighbour" she said, putting on a mock salute. Donatello laughed, and Irma turned off the Turtle-Com from her end.

As she made preparations for her trip, Irma heard a sudden shattering of glass.

"What in tarnation was that?" she said, and rushed over to her kitchen window to investigate.

There, lying on her kitchen sink, a small, but sizeable crack left in the window serving as the point of entry, was a sparkling crystal object.

"What is this?" Irma said, picking it up and gently caressing it in her hand "It's beautiful…caused a bit of damage to my window though. The magpies must be being fed steroids by the government or something."

She took note of the errant green and white glow emanating from the jewel

"Wonder what's up with the light show?" she said "I'll give it to Donatello, and see what he makes of it"

Inside the Technodrome, hidden away on the dark side of the moon, the highly skilled and world feared Ninja crime lord The Shredder and his partner in crime, the disembodied Dimension X warlord Krang, were interrogating the captive Krator and Malkite.

"I shall not ask again" Shredder said, slapping Malkite hard across the face with his gauntlet, as the alien refused to answer his questions.

Malkite, his lip slashed open by the steel on Shredder's gauntlet, spat the blood in the direction of his captors.

"What is your means of tracking the missing Tri-Osteron?" Shredder continued, not phased by the resistance. He raised his hand again, ready to strike another blow. Krator opted to spare Malkite this humiliation and gave an answer.

"The guidance systems in our ship" he said, "But only we know how to operate it"

"Then you will lead us to the crystal" Shredder commanded.

"We will NEVER help you" Malkite said defiantly, "You seek the Tri-Osteron for evil purposes that fly in the face of our peaceful ways"

"I have ways of making you cooperate aliens" Shredder warned.

"Do your worst" Krator replied, "We were raised in the Brisbane Galaxy"

The name drop of their home galaxy was enough to spark a cautionary word from Krang to Shredder.

"That's one of the harshest systems in the universe, we may be in for a long process" he said.

"I assure you Krang, I will get what I want. I often do" Shredder replied.

"You won't get anything but our laughter" Malkite insisted, and, to prove his intentions, he let out a hearty chuckle.

"Mock the Shredder if you so desire, the last laugh will be mine" Shredder taunted, and snapped his fingers, a signal that summoned Rocksteady and Bebop, who were carrying a tray full of slimy, wriggling creatures with small fangs attached to their tiny mouths.

"Here's the slaver worms boss, just as you asked" Rocksteady announced. Shredder rubbed his hands, spat on them, and scooped up a handful of the worms in his palm. He approached Malkite and Krator with them and paraded them in front of their faces

"Last chance aliens" he said "Guide us to the Tri-Osteron, or this will be on your head"

"I thought these things went into their ears boss" Bebop pointed out. Shredder shook his head in despair.

"We will never help you" Malkite replied.

Shredder's patience had now run thin.

"Very well" he said, and walked over to Krator's right ear, he took one of the worms and held it close to the ear. In a few moments, the worm launched from Shredder's finger, almost cat-like and tore through Krator's ear, nibbling at the flesh and making a nest for itself in the tiny holes produced.

Shredder walked over to Malkite and repeated the procedure. Both aliens let out deafening cries and began to make heavy slurs as their very being was tainted by the intrusive parasites.

After a few moments of struggle, the aliens went still, their heads rose up, saliva dripping from their mouths, their eyes glazed over. No longer altogether there, they were lost in a wilderness of the mind, desperately seeking direction.

"Now aliens" Shredder said, "Now…who do you obey?"

"We obey the will of the Shredder" Malkite and Krator spoke in unison

"Good, once we make repairs to your ship, you will take us to the Tri-Osteron, and to our assured future" he said, permitting himself another opportunity to laugh as he looked towards the opportunities that now awaited him,

Back at the Turtles lair, Irma had made her way over with the pizza, but she was finding difficulty locating Donatello.

"Don? I'm here" she said. "Don?"

Wandering the living area, she spotted Splinter lying on the sofa, watching the laptop on the floor. Irma walked over to him

"Mister Splinter?" she said, "Do you know where…"

Splinter silently pointed to his right, Irma, glaring over to see what Splinter was watching, nodded in understanding and nipped over to where Donatello's workplace was stationed.

As she approached it, she heard a loud hum of electricity. She followed it to it's source.

"Don?" she said, peering round the entrance, and catching a glimpse of Donatello working feverishly on what appeared to be giant pillar of grey metal with a window in the centre. It was quite familiar to her.

"Irma, hi there. Come on in" Donatello said, inviting Irma to come over.

"Wow" Irma said, startled at the majesty of the device, "Isn't that…"

"Yep, my old Dimensional Portal. I've dragged it out of mothballs" Donatello proudly confirmed.

"Why?" Irma asked.

"Remember when we were transported to that alternative dimension where we met that other Shredder and he nearly destroyed all of reality?" Donatello asked

"I wasn't there for that. We were all fleeing from the giant mutant bananas remember? We had to figure out how to beat them on our own with you guys missing for most of it. Luckily the solution came down to a ravenous appetite and basic human teeth" Irma replied

"Believe me, you wouldn't have caught us at our best if you were there." Donatello revealed "High density emission in the multi-verse's dimensional matrix caused all our apprehension and anxiety levels to increase"

"In short, you got the willies?" Irma asked with a faint, but coy smile, folding her arms and raising an eyebrow.

"To put it delicately" Donatello said, slightly embarrassed, "Anyway the point is, the alternate Shredder upgraded our Shredder and Krang's Technodrome with advancements and weaponry we have no possible means of comprehending in our own reality…and that would include Shredder and Krang"

"But that's a good thing right?" Irma asked " I mean, if those two modern day Ahabs don't know how to steer their own ship, they can't go after their choice of whale all that often, namely you guys, and bag the Earth in the process"

"I'd rest easy too, but lately they've been able to turn their standard transport modules into aerial fighters, it's only a matter of time before they work out how to operate the Technodrome completely, and, worse, they'll be able to grasp the full potential of their own portal and bring who knows what from other dimensions, let alone Dimension X. We've got to find them and put that thing out of commission before that happens" Donatello added.

"But how can you take out The Technodrome if you aren't familiar with the layout of it anymore?" Irma asked

Donatello put his hand behind his shell and began feeling for something, when he got a hold of it, he produced it and showed it to Irma. A microscopic black bug- like device with eight visible traction dots attached to it's sides

"Before we fought the alternate Shredder for the last time, the alternate reality's Donatello spoke of his vast experience with Utrom technology" Donatello explained "From those notes I was able to develop this, a technological virus I've dubbed "4K", If I can use it on the Technodrome, we'd never have to worry about it again"

"So you're wheeling out the portal to try and work out where The Technodrome is. Pro-activeness. I like that in a man" Irma said, impressed

"Gee thanks Irma" Donatello said

"I said a MAN mister, don't get any ideas" Irma added rather firmly

"Yeah yeah don't rub it in", Donatello replied, a little annoyed, "C'mon, I've worked up an appetite telling you what I'm doing"

Before they could dine on the pizza however, Donatello noticed a faint, errant glow coming from Irma's pocket

"What's that?" he said

"Oh, this jewel crashed through my apartment window" Irma said, taking the crystal out and showing it to Donatello, "I just figure a magpie have dropped it, then I thought "well they must be pretty 'roided".

Donatello took the crystal from her grasp and held it.

"I've never seen anything like this" he said.

Irma rolled her eyes at such a cliched line.

"Donny, c'mon, that is SO corny, you've been to other dimensions and seen it all. One glowing trinket should be day and night to you"

"I'll conduct some experiments on it" Donatello said. Irma was hesitant.

"I dunno, I like the mystery it brings" she said, "Give it to a science type and they'll just take the fun of it".

"Don't be stubborn Irma, for we all know this glow is radioactive in nature" Donatello said. With a sigh, Irma reluctantly agreed.

"I'll be back in a minute, just don't touch anything" Donatello said, walking away with the crystal, lost in thought. Irma sat down on a chair and stared at the clock. She didn't have much time to wait, she had other priorities this evening.

Donatello went over to his portal and leaned against it, staring into the glow, transfixed by the energies being sent out.

Suddenly, his body was illuminated and encircled by a beautiful green and yellow energy field. He was frozen to the spot, unable to move, and unable to even blink as his eyes became a window on what appeared to be the world.

Planes, cars, people, animals, cities, jungles, deserts, babies, all jumping out at him at once, the wild and busy picture all meshed together into a swirling vortex that swept his mind through all manners of activity, until it finally settled on an image of himself at work on his dimensional portal, with his fellow Turtles and Master Splinter watching television comfortably and without much fuss.

In the vision, Donatello succeeds in perfecting the portal, and all manner of friendly creatures swarm out. Jagged butterflies, pigs on motorised wheel carriages, and even ducks that acted, walked and talked like normal people….one constantly worrying about his money bin being stolen

Donatello allowed himself to be swept away by this vision, it seemed so perfect, so complete

But then, just like that, reality came back with a snap. A pulse in his brain went off, and the dizziness, brought on from tampering too much with the delicate dimensional vibration waves of the portal, kicked in again

His spells did not go unnoticed, as an impatient and curious Irma checked in on him and saw what was happening

"Donny, what's wrong?" she asked, deathly worried. She noticed he was swaying near the left side of the portal…the part that contained the "on" switch

"Donny, watch out for the…" she began, but it was far, far too late.

Donatello's body fell back and hit the switch, the portal flared into life. Another spell sent Donatello careening back, the hand holding the crystal thrown backwards into the shining nexus. Rather than go in, however, it instead set off a chain reaction, a dazzling shower of electrical sparks danced around it and the energies of the portal seemed to pass through it like a lightning bolt would madly pass through an unfortunate human bystander standing under a tree.

Eventually though, the energies stabilised and the portal began to suck Donatello into it. In a panic, Donatello cried out for Irma, now his only hope.

"Irma" Donatello yelled, "shut the portal down"

Irma ran over to the control panel and stared at the three unmarked buttons, "I don't know, all these buttons look the same"

"The middle one, hurry" Donatello said.

Irma tried pressing it, but it wouldn't budge

"It's stuck…oh darn it, it's time for the patented Langinstien touch" she said, and aggressively kicked the portal with her foot. As luck would have it, the kick tore apart a delicate component of the machine and it died a slow death, finally shutting down, Donatello fell down, crystal still in hand, although it had now changed colour from a dazzling crimson to a clear white

Irma picked up Donny and slung her right arm around his shoulder to support him, "Are you alright Don?" she asked

"I'm sorry Irma, I've been having these spells ever since I started working on the portal" he said

"Too many reversals of the neutron flow?" Irma joked

"How'd you guess" Donatello asked, surprised Irma knew the answer. Irma was as befuddled as he was.

"You mean that actually HAPPENS?" she said. Donatello smiled.

Donatello looked at the crystal, "Oh, here Irma, you better take this crystal back for now"

"I thought you said it was dangerous?" Irma asked

"No, quite the opposite, it gave me a peek into the future, it showed me how to safely operate the portal without draining energy from everything else in the lair. Everyone can afford to have a night in while I work" Donatello revealed

"And you're giving it to me, you're entrusting me with it?" Irma asked. Donatello shrugged

"Hey, you deserve a little pick-me-up on your luck every now and then. Not even you can screw this up" he said. Irma didn't know what to say.

"Master Splinter is right though" Donatello realised, staring at the damaged portal, "As long as I have these spells, I can't work, I'm just going to lie down"

"So the pizza's off the cards?" Irma asked

"Leave it for the guys" Donatello said.

"The Pizza's only good for two" Irma said.

"Their latest attempts at a diet will thank you later" Donatello added.

"Look, I'd better get going anyway, I came down to kill time before I go to attend that dinner arranged in Channel Six's honour by Pierce Mars" she revealed

"The guy who got Channel Six up and running again?" Donatello asked

"Yeah. Loaded guy. He even owns the restaurant we're going to. "The Red Stake Planet". Has a weird obsession with gambling though. Despite his wealth. He's always wanted to win the lottery" Irma revealed.

"So the whole staff is meant to be there?" Donatello continued.

"All of us except April, Pierce gave her tickets to that boring opera as a reward for her diligent work in the field. We're all hoping that if we give off a good impression, we'll get similar perks…hopefully more exciting ones too" Irma revealed

"I'm glad Irma. Have a good one. Who knows, with that crystal you might be able to have a more assured time and not get too nervous" Donatello said

Irma was grateful for the encouraging boost of confidence. "Ok" she said, "Just as long as you're ok"

She turned to leave, as she did, a small thought came to her

"Donny?" she said

"Yeah Irma?" Donatello replied

"Just take care of that noggin. Everyone counts on it" she said

"Gee Irma, that's sweet" Donatello said, and waved goodbye to her as she made her way topside.

It wasn't a long walk to the restaurant, it was only about fifteen minutes or so. Despite this, Irma once again found herself the last to arrive, as everyone else on the Channel Six staff had been punctual enough to arrive early at the behest of their boss, and hers, Burne Thompson.

Irma made her way to the table specially reserved for the staff and sat opposite her co-worker, the ambitious but arrogant Vernon, just as Mr. Thompson was prepping the crew with what seemed on paper to be a motivational speech, but was more a foreboding ultimatum in terms of execution.

"Alright you press-ants" he bellowed, "Mr. Mars is willing to pay for all of us tonight as a show of faith in our abilities, so we've got to show him we have ability. All of us. Do anything short of seeing into the future to impress him, or you know what will happen."

With the speech, and the consequences of failing to match up to, hanging over their heads, the crew immediately began waiting on the guest of honour.

"Oh where IS that waiter?" Vernon asked, already impatient.

"Hey, we haven't ordered yet remember?" Irma pointed out.

"I know" Vernon said, "But I'm eager to impress the boss so I ordered his meal early, his favourite, hot tomato kebab soup"

"I'm pretty certain he likes it cold Vernon" Irma said. Vernon was irked at the notion he had got it wrong.

"I've done my research" he insisted stubbornly "I don't need some uptight typist correcting me on what he likes for dinner.

Irma turned her head away from Vernon, too annoyed to even set eyes on him following that remark.

All of a sudden, she felt a slight tingle, and heard a faint hum as the crystal in her pocket began to glow yet again, just like it had done with Donatello in the lair.

Vernon was quick to notice Irma's weird reaction to the crystal

"And just what is the matter with you now?" he rudely asked.

"Nothing…I think" Irma said, trying to blink, but found herself unable to

"You? Thinking? What an absurd notion" Vernon remarked, and summoned a nearby waiter, the same waiter who had taken his order for soup earlier.

"I say, where is the Kebab soup I ordered?" he asked.

"It's on it's way sir, it's just required a bit of heating up" the waiter verified

"Really? From what I saw, you served it cold…or rather, WILL serve it cold" Irma said, interrupting the two.

"What on Earth makes you come to THAT conclusion?" Vernon said.

"I…I don't know actually. Just had a clear vision of it. In my head" Irma tried to explain, but was left just as confused.

"I don't think anyone cares to peek into your head" a saltier Vernon said

"Wait one moment sir" the waiter said, and returned to the kitchen. As the two waited, Irma tried to make sense of what just happened to her, she tried blinking, and found herself able to this time, she wondered just what had made her freeze earlier.

Eventually, the waiter returned, carrying atop a tray a bowl of red liquid with medium sized kebabs sticking out at the size

"Soup is ready sir" he said, placing it on the table.

"Ah good" Vernon said, licking his lips, "I'll just help myself to a small taste, for the boss sake"

Irma sighed.

Vernon took a sip, only to spit it out.

"Say, this is COLD" he said in alarm. "I ordered it hot"

"Impossible sir" the waiter said, "It was piping hot when it was put into my care"

"Leave it anyway. Mr. Mars likes it cold" Irma replied

"How exactly did you know it'd be served cold Irma?" Vernon asked, this time being sincere with the question instead of addressing it dismissively.

"Beats me" she said, although, given what happened earlier in the lair, she had a fairly big clue.

Outside the restaurant, a group of citizens gathered around as the ominous sight of an alien spacecraft touched down in the middle of the street.

Inside the craft were the enslaved Krator and Malkite, along with Shredder, Rocksteady and Bebop, who were tracking something on a radar of some kind

"My lord Shredder, the Tri-Osteron has been traced to this building" Malkite confirmed.

"Finally, it seems our target has stopped moving" Shredder added.

"That crystal we're after sure has legs" Rocksteady remarked.

"Or rather the person in possession of the crystal does" Shredder replied. "Disembark" he ordered.

The ship's main door opened, and all five stepped out.

"When are we gonna crash and burn the place boss?" Rocksteady asked, rubbing his hands in anticipation.

"We're taking the stealth approach" Shredder revealed. "You two will infiltrate the restaurant. Malkite, Krator and myself will navigate you from the ship as we use it's tracking equipment"

"But boss, read the sign there, it says "no animals allowed" Bebop said, pointing to the mandate at the front of the entrance.

"A problem easily solved by our camouflage equipment" Shredder said, producing a small white orb. "Touch this"

Rocksteady and Bebop complied and put both their hands on it, there was a bright flash and before long their appearances take on the form of regular human beings.

"Look, we look just like we used to" Bebop said with joy.

They also inspected their fashion, dressed in the attire worn by waiters at the establishment.

"I've got cuff-links" Rocksteady said, dazzled by the gold trim.

"You're not here to look the part you fools" Shredder snapped, "Infiltrate the restaurant as waiters and get close to whoever has the Tri-Osteron. Nab it at the first opportunity" he ordered

Shredder suddenly caught a glimpse of the gathering crowd, who were causing a bit of a commotion.

"What's the matter with you lot? You've seen a hi-tech alien spacecraft park in the middle of this city a thousand times already. Nothing to see here, move along" he said.

The crowd, remarkably, saw his point, and quietly went about their own business again.

"Now, you two best make a move on" Shredder said to his bungling henchmen.

"On our way boss" Rocksteady replied

"And when the Tri-Osteron is within our power, the realms of all possibility will forge a dangerous new reality for anyone that stands in my way" Shredder proclaimed.

Rocksteady and Bebop entered the restaurant and were greeted by the sight of elegant men and women attired in black tie garb, and their noses caught the sweet aroma of rich food. "Pretty swanky joint" Rocksteady remarked.

"Are those little micro earphones the boss gave us working?" Bebop said, sticking a finger in his ear, a sight which didn't go unnoticed by a few customers, who averted their gaze. "Let me try mine out" Rocksteady replied, and yelled at the top of his voice

"Hey boss, can you hear us?" he said. "With a pitch like that, of COURSE I can hear you" Shredder whispered, not wanting anyone to hear him on his end, "Speak a little quietly you moron"

"Sure boss" Rocksteady replied, keeping his voice low. "We just entered the place" he confirmed. A waiter swiftly interrupted the two. "You two there look dressed to serve, are you employed here"

"Yeah, the top brass sent us from uptown" Bebop claimed. "Yeah, way up there" Rocksteady added, pointing out the window towards the stars. The waiter understandably didn't get the reference

"Well, what are you two waiting for? Get to work at once" the waiter instructed, and pointed them in the direction of the kitchen. As they passed the customers, one briefly caught Rockstready's eye. A young energetic boy playing with what appeared to be a cybernetic Dinosaur, with a rocket pack attached to it's back, a small laser rifle attached to it's right arm, and a metallic eyepiece covering it's right eye.

Bebop, in a hurry to get to work, grabbed Rocksteady and dragged him through the doors leading to the kitchen.

"Field Marshal Rexington is coming to pass judgement on you hapless citizens" the boy bragged as he played the part of the dinosaur, "Tremble in terror at my sharp teeth that also serve as missile compartments. Mutant humans plague my world, so I plague them. Rarr"

The boy's mother was not impressed with his playful habits at the dinner table

"Larry, I told you not to play with your toys while you've having dinner, now put that thing away and finish your chicken salad"

"Aw mom. I wish Rexington was real, he's the coolest thing in the world" Larry said.

"The coolest thing in the world right now are those fries you haven't touched, they're bound to be freezing now" his mother continued, "Why do children put such emphasis on what their imaginations feed on and not their bodies I ask"

Back at the Channel Six table, Thompson was still waiting for his benefactor to arrive. "Oh where IS that oafish bigcat? I did my hardest to get everyone to show up, the least he can do is actually…"

Before he could finish, he noticed Irma was completely ridged, her unblinking eyes staring into space.

"I…I…" Irma said

"I…I…I…what, what, what, Irma?" Thompson asked, slightly annoyed.

"I'm certain Mr. Mars is coming through that door any second now" Irma said, snapping out of the funk.

"What you HOPE will happen won't exactly make me giddy with anticipation" Thompson replied.

The door suddenly opened and in walked a man with grey hair encircling a bald spot, holding a ticket, and looking like he had just walked a mile or so. Thompson immediately recognised him

"Mr. Mars" he said, "Over here"

Vernon was all too keen to point out Irma's accuracy.

"Twice you've got it right now" he said, "That's already way too many in your lifetime. How are you doing this?" he said.

Irma didn't feel like answering his question, even if she had a pretty good answer. She was enjoying being right too much

"Sorry for being late everyone" apologised Pierce Mars, "I was collecting a lottery ticket. Had to wait ages in a queue at the local newsagents"

"Don't worry, we've all shown great patience waiting for, haven't we my friends?" Thompson said, putting on a friendly attitude. Irma was not taken in by the facade

"We're friends now?" she said.

Vernon elbowed her. "Absolutely BUDDY"

"Well now, let's not waste any time" Pierce said, "Let's settle down and order…but before we do, could someone turn on the television just above us? I picked up on the radio that a car chase was in progress between the police and criminal Drew Stryker. I'd like to see how it turns out"

Irma paused again, noticing the glow from her pocket, she was now sure of the cause of her future shocks.

As soon as the glow wore off, Irma made good yet again on her experience.

"Don't worry Mr. Mars, I think they've caught him. They took out both his tires and he struck a lamppost" she said

"Who is this woman" Pierce asked

"Just my secretary Irma Langinstien, I apologise for her sir, when I said "do everything short of looking into the future to impress you" I meant "set yourselves attainable goals"…Irma, you can stop embarrassing yourself now"

One of the staff turned the tv on, a reporter on the scene conveyed the story to the viewer, the image of a heavily damaged car and a man struggling with handcuffs while cops tried to keep him under restraint could be seen in the background.

"And a miraculous, and sudden turn of events have led to the capture of the feared fugitive and bank robber Drew Striker, his car tyres were hit with bullets fired by determined police officers, causing his vehicle to ram straight into a nearby lamppost"

The Channel Six staff all looked on at Irma in complete shock.

"How did she…how did she…" Thompson said.

"I've been asking the same thing" Vernon added, giving Irma a dirty look, "Spill the secret Irma"

"I must have a real knack for it" Irma said.

"I didn't know you employed psychics Thompson" Peirce said.

Another glow from the crystal came to her, and now she was eagerly awaiting every passing instance of this.

"You might want to turn over to the lottery Mr. Mars, you're going to win" she said. Peirce laughed.

"Oh Ms. Langinstien, you are most amusing, but I've never been so lucky with these things" he said

Thompson, however, was smart enough to grasp what was going on, and seized the opportunity to stay in Pierce's good books

"Take a chance sir, she's been on the ball so far" he said.

Pierce contemplated this for a moment, then made a declaration. "Tell you what", he said, "If my lucky numbers happen to come up, you'll be getting very lucky with the increase in salary I'm willing to give out to the whole team"

"Splendid proposition sir" Thompson said. As Pierce tucked into his cold kebab soup, Thompson strolled over to Irma and delicately whispered something in her ear.

"For all our sakes, YOUR luck better hold out" he said.

Inside the kitchen, the waiter was disputing the kebab soup issue with the head chef

"Don't lie to me, the order was specifically for hot kebab tomato soup" the Waiter said, throwing his finger in the chef's face.

"And that is precisely what you got" the Chef insisted.

"No, it was cold" the Waiter stated.

"And I tell you it was piping hot when it left this kitchen" the Chef revealed, and stood by his word.

The waiter checked his watch, tiring of the argument which had been eating up precious minutes.

"I don't have time for you, there are more orders to come from that table, you'd best hope none come out differently than ordered as well" the waiter said, and turned to take his leave, as he did so, he signalled for Rocksteady and Bebop.

"You two right there" he said, pointing to a large dish whose contents were hidden by a stainless steel lid, "Take this Peking Duck to table five"

"I've heard of peeking toms, but never did I think ducks were just as naughty"

Back at the Channel Six table, Vernon excused himself.

"Sorry everyone, I must nip off to the big boys room" he said, and walked over to the bathroom, while everyone else had their eyes fixated on the television as the weekly lottery numbers were being read out live.

"And the winning numbers are 14, 6, 8,2,4,9" said the announcer.

Peirce Mars rose up out of his seat, ecstatic. He punched the air in excitement.

"I won" he yelled, "I can't believe it. I've always struck out when playing these things. Ms Langinstien, you are truly gifted. My word Thompson, you have a real eye for talent scouting"

"Why thank you sir" Thompson replied, giving Irma a saintly looking gaze.

"I can't believe you've kept this woman at a desk typing up small inconsequential memos for most of her career" Pierce continued.

"You're quite right sir" Thompson admitted, "I think with her unique abilities, she could be an expert player in the field. Provided she passes a few more tests, I think we should promote her to active story analyst"

Irma couldn't believe her luck

"Wow, you really mean that?" she said, "This is so sudden…"

"Sudden…and quite sincere" Thompson replied, "Anything else you want to tell us to instil our confidence in you further?

Irma found herself staring into space, still as a rock yet again as the crystal in her pocket kicked in.

"I…uh…oh my" Irma said in reaction to what she was seeing.

"What is it?" Pierce asked

"I don't think Vernon is coming out of the bathroom quite the same"

The door to the bathroom suddenly burst open and a tall man was seen hoisting out a lean, heavily smoking woman in sharp high heels, a purple shirt and black jeans with braces connecting the two.

"Ladies toilets are THAT way" the man said, and let go of the woman, who took out two cigarettes and put them in her mouth, lighting up both. Everyone at the Channel Six table reacted in pure shock.

"My word…that can't be…can it?" Pierce said.

"Vernon…is that…you" Thompson asked as the features of the woman proved all too familiar to him and his team.

"Vernon?" the woman replied, "The name's VERNA, you should know that by now Thompsy"

"Thompsy?" Irma said, trying not to laugh.

"I say, has anyone served the Peking duck yet? I ordered that ages ago" a member of the crew complained, changing the subject.

The doors to the kitchen suddenly burst open and out poured Rocksteady and Bebop carrying a large tray, heading towards the table and nearly tripping up with it in the process. Because of their human appearance, nobody recognised them,

"Dinner is served. Peking Tom anyone?" Rocksteady said. Bebop elbowed him

"It's duck you twit"

Irma froze again, the crystal had something to show her again. "Actually fellas" she said, "You'll find it's pork"

"Is not" said Bebop. "Is too" insisted Irma.

"Take a look under the lid" Bebop ordered. Rocksteady complied. To their surprise, when the lid was lifted, they found it WAS pork. "Told ya" Irma said with a certain degree of confident cheek.

"Splendid. I love pork" said Pierce. "I think your little soothsayer is going to make quite the food analyst too Thompson". Rocksteady pulled Bebop aside and whispered to him, having made a fateful observation "I think I saw something glowing in that bit of skirt's pocket, get in touch with the boss". Bebop quietly talked into the communicator attached to his ear. "Hey Boss, I think we've caught sight of that Tri-Osteron thing" he said

"The readings in the ship correspond with your reports, according to them, you're right on top of it" Shredder confirmed. Bebop swiftly walked over to Irma and grabbed her. "Alright lady, hand it over"

"Let go of me" Irma yelled. "Irma, stop making a scene" Thompson shouted.

Watching the scene unfold was young Larry, who rushed over from his table over to where Irma was stationed. His mother chased after him. Hey, leave that lady alone" Larry yelled

"Or WHAT pip-Squeak?" Rocksteady snarled

"You, you gonna set your rink-dink Dino on us?" Bebop said, taking note of the toy in Larry's hand

"Man if only Rexington was real, he'd squash you guys like a bug" Larry cried out.

There was another bright shimmer from Irma's pocket. "Uh oh, be careful what you wish for kid" Irma said, also looking at the toy, which began to glow, before everyone's eyes, it vanished in a huge of green and blue.

"Hey, the toy's gone" Rocksteady noted. "Yeah, but something's taking it's place" Bebop pointed out, as something began to form in front of them, Something bigger. There was a loud snarl, followed by a ferocious roar. Everyone was petrified, except Larry

"Alright, Rexington lives" he said as the tall cybernetic dinosaur stood before the stunned customers, larger than life, and very, very real.

"Oh I wish I'd never found this thing" Irma said, taking the crystal out of her pocket and giving it a cold glare.

A little more aware, Rexington examined his surroundings, he kept the weapon attached to his right arm trained on everyone staring at him. Some customers tried to avoid direct eye contact, hoping he would ignore them.

"Where am I? Wherever it is, it's teeming with…humans" he said, giving Rocksteady and Bebop cold looks

"Humans? Us? No way man, we're mutants, just like you" Rocksteady claimed

"Where I come from, humans ARE the mutants" Rexington revealed

Bebop, panicking, talked into his communicator

"Hey boss, when does this camouflage wear off? We're up to our necks in trouble" Bebop whispered.

"What's going on in there? Have you secured the Tri-Osteron or not?" Shredder replied

"I don't think we're secure at all boss" Bebop replied, scared out of his wits

Rexington's immense curiosity was matched only his immense appetite. Luckily for him there was plenty lying around the establishment to satisfy that too.

"Before I tear all fine folks to shreds, I think I'll tear into these delicious looking specimens" he said, and, with manners befitting a creature of his ilk, he began to chew down on all the food nearest to him, cramming roast chicken, boar, duck, and pork into his mouth, chewing down on all of them one after the other, and even sometimes all at once, before washing it down with plates of hot soup, he even took to devouring the dishes the soups came attached to.

Disgusted by what he was seeing, the head waiter tried to call time on it, lightly tapping Rexington on the shoulder, he made his intent clear

"Excuse me sir" he said with a firm tone, "If you want a meal, you have to take a order, not devour the ones belonging to our other customers"

Rexington grinned, calmly put several of the plates he was drinking out of down, spat out the ones he was eating, turned around, wrapped his left arm around the waiters shoulder, and, from his left hand, produced a rifle that he pressed hard against the waiters face.

"The only order I serve is the C.W.O: Carnivore World Order, and if you want to keep a level head, if a head at all, you'll let me dine in peace" he said, in as condescendingly polite manner as he could manage.

The waiter gulped, and checked his pulse, fearing the sheer terror of his situation would send him into cardiac arrest before the ravenous rex could even pull the trigger on his gun

"Whatever you wish sir" he said

Rexington looked around and let out a sigh and a few tuts, it was almost as if the place was already beginning to bore him

"Nah, I've changed my mind" he said, "I think I'll eat on the go, tell you what, I'll eat, and YOU'LL GO"

Rexington pulled back from the waiter, raised his weapon upwards, and pulled the trigger. Hot, intense laser fire erupted from it, piercing the ceiling and scattering debris all over the place, he twirled around, allowing his weapon to level dishes, cut through table legs and shatter windows.

Rocksteady and Bebop did what came naturally to them in light of such grave danger, they ran away. The remainder of the restaurant's inhabitants quickly followed them out of the building.

"This guy's wilder to handle than us at a fairground" Rocksteady remarked.

"Hey, where'd that Irma broad go to?" Bebop asked, not realising Irma had made a dash for freedom.

Outside, Irma ran as fast as she could into the main street, Verna closely following her.

"Do you have to be so fast?" Verna complained "I can't keep up in these heels"

"Call the cops or something" Irma said, panicked, "You're the one with the phone"

Verna seemed to take exception to this notion.

"Excuse me? Do you know how expensive this is? It's purely for show, I wouldn't dream of punching these sweaty digits on the number keys and disrupting it's pristine quality"

"Fine then, I'll put in a green alert" Irma said, and activated her Turtle-com. Donatello promptly answered.

"Irma? What is it now" he said

"Don, that crystal of ours worked just as you said, I could totally see into the future…oh, but it's horrible, all these bizarre things have been happening, and if you don't get down here fast, we all won't see tomorrow, there's a dangerous dino kicking up a storm at the Red Stake Planet…also, I'm not entirely sure, but I think I'm also being hunted by…

"Hold everything ma'am" came a voice from behind her. Irma turned around and reacted in sheer shock

"Shredder" she said as she recognised the masked maniac, flunked by his two enslaved alien allies, Malkite and Krator

"Our readers are accurate master, she has the Tri-Osteron" Krator confirmed.

"Then your future is most assuredly cloudy Ms. Langinstien" cackled Shredder.

Irma let out a corny, but, given the circumstances, a much overdue, "uh oh"

At the lair, Donatello sprung into action, or at least tried to, when he suddenly felt very faint again.

"Oh no" he said, "Irma's in real trouble, and I still haven't shaken this headache…but I can't worry about that just now, she needs me"

He thought about Master Splinter, and how he might object, he decided to do something drastic, but necessary. He would lie to his sensei.

He didn't want to make too much of a song and dance, so he quickly power-walked past his sensei, sprawled on the sofa watching his soaps on the laptop, and talked to him a few meters from the exit tunnel.

"Master? I'm just going out to buy some aspirin, tell the others not to worry about me" he yelled, before swiftly disappearing down the tunnel, heading topside to aid Irma.

Splinter, however, was not easily fooled by this. So sharp were his ears and so alert were his senses, that he had overheard everything.

"My son seeks to do a brave thing, the right thing, but his body remains in the wrong state. One cannot complete a trust exercise if there is noone to catch him" he pondered, and swiftly activated his own Turtle-Com and got in touch with the others. Leonardo appeared on the screen.

"Yes master?" Leonardo said.

"The presence of our lethal enemy Shredder is nearby. Donatello seeks him out on his own Make your way over to the Red Steak Planet restaurant and assist him" Splinter instructed

"Raph isn't too far away from it, I'll contact him. I just picked up Michelangelo and April from the opera" Leonardo confirmed, being interrupted by Michelangelo

"And about time bro, that was mondo boring" he said, he was joined in this opinion by April

"You can say that again" she said "Operas are so dull and dreary, constantly hammering tragedy and depressing emotions down our throats, trust me, it's so much better when you have a life of the party like Mike around to liven it all up"

April looked at Splinter's down face

"What's up Splinter?" she said

"Your friend Irma is in grave danger" Splinter expressed "I only pray the pieces of the chess board come together in time for the endgame"

"We're on our way master" Leonardo said, and put the pedal to the metal. A screech of tires, a 180 degree turn and the Turtle Van soon tore down the streets of New York towards their intended destination, and to Donatello's aid.

Outside the restaurant, Shredder was closing in on Irma, keeping a beady eye on the crystal in her hand.

"Last warning" he said, "Hand over what is mine by divine destiny, or it will be taken from you, along with anything that happens to be attached to it"

"You'd better not try me Shredder" Irma snapped back, "Do you forget what I did to you the last time something weird happened to me?" she said, reminding him of the time she acquired super powers.

"How could I forget?" Shredder replied, "Krang made me take money out of my fifteen year built vacation fund to repair the Technodrome that time. Plus the money for Bebop and Rocksteady's college education. Everything except his damn laundry fund"

"Well then, you know what I'm capable of" Irma bragged.

"True, but if you'll find I'm stepping into new territory" Shredder replied as Malkite and Krator moved forward, "You may be familiar with me, but you're not so freshly acquainted with my two friends here"

He looked to both of them, and pointed at Irma, "Seize her" he commanded.

As Malkite and Krator closed in on the brave, but frightened Irma, they were distracted by a huge explosion and the shattering of glass as the restaurant behind them was torn apart. Rocksteady and Bebop ran screaming out of the establishment, with Rexington in hot pursuit.

"Boss, help" Rocksteady cried, holding on to Shredder's leg.

"How do we get turned off?" Bebop asked, on his knees pleading.

"By imagining your boss in his underwear?" Irma suggested

"I mean "turn off these human disguises" you dumb broad" Bebop snapped

Shredder shook Rocksteady off of his leg and produced the orb from his belt

"Touch this" he instructed, Rocksteady and Bebop complied, touching the orb, there was a bright flash, and the two returned to their usual and unsavoury mutant appearance.

"Alright, I've got the horn again" Rocksteady said jubilantly

"Boy do I need a man to ever say that to me" Irma remarked.

Rexington approached them, his one metallic eye, serving as a laser tracking system, targeted the foreheads of Shredder's bungling henchmen.

"So…you WERE telling the truth" he said, "You aren't human"

"Yeah, but THAT human has something we want" Rocksteady said, suddenly overwhelmed by a burst of inspired thinking on his part, and pointed to Irma.

"Really now?" Rexington said, powering up his gun, "Humans having their hands on anything gets me hot, and nothing makes me hotter than a thieving FEMALE"

"With my fashion sense, I don't get that with a lot of males" Irma remarked

"Fitting it is then that the sentence for theft is warm liquidation" Rexington replied, and put his gun on the setting for such a feat.

Suddenly, he felt a light tap on his shoulder, he turned around and was met with the full force of a bo staff all across his face.

"Irma, get behind me" spoke a soft and courageous voice. It was Donatello.

Irma did as she was told and ran over, hiding behind Donatello's shell as he backed away from Rexington

"Alright you anarchists…and…erm…aliens" he said, noting the otherworldly appearances of Malkite and Krator, "Don't take one step towards her"

"There are six of us, and two of you. The odds are not in your favour" Malkite pointed out

"Haven't you ever watched one episode of this show? The odds are destined for defiance where we're concerned" Donatello boasted.

"Don't waste time talking" an impatient Shredder commanded "Take action and seize the Tri-Osteron"

"Tri-what-so-ron?" Donatello said, "Irma, do they mean the crystal?"

Shredder turned to Malkite "use the laser rife I gave you. Take them out"

Malkite obeyed and targeted Donatello with the rifle, he prepared to open fire when Irma caught sight of it

"Donny, look out" she cried

As the rife flared into life, dazzling shots of firepower erupted from it, Donatello however, was able to sway back and forth and from side to side, managing to duck all the shots fired.

"Thank goodness for those stealthy ninja moves" Irma observed.

"What moves? I'm having more of those dizzy spells" Donatello replied.

"I have him in my sights master" Malkite said, as Donatello taking a pause to tell Irma to flee created an opening for him.

"Fire" Shredder instructed

"Or better yet…water" came another cry to their left. There, standing next to a fire hydrant, was Raphael, he turned the nuzzle on the hydrant and a jet of clear H20 was thrown in the direction of Malkite and Krator, drenching them.

"Raph" Donatello yelled, "How was the comedy club?"

"The club was alright, a lot of modern joke acts were on hand, but I couldn't resist classics like Shredder and his goons" Raphael remarked.

"Rexington, get after them" Shredder yelled.

"I take no orders from you human ratscans" Rexington replied

"Oh, oh, "ratscans", that sounds like a good name for a toy boss" Rocksteady suggested

"Does this LOOK like a toy commercial?" Shredder replied

"I take what I want, and I like the look of that object" Rexington said as he eyed up the crystal, "Once I toast the human and her helpers, I'll trade it in for cold hard cash"

Donatello held his ground, but he needed Irma to move away from him and out of danger, he turned to advise her on this, only to find Irma frozen, staring into space yet again, and the crystal in her hand glowing.

"Oh no, not this again" Irma said, every time I have one of these there's trouble"

"What's happening?" Raphael said.

"Don, take that crystal already" Irma snapped, Donatello complied, as he did so, Irma's whole body began to glow

"I'm having another premonition" Irma said, although with the crystal out of her reach she didn't know why she was still having them, "Oh" she said, and smiled, "good news Don, I think I'm about to enter this fight…any minute…"

Before she could finish, there was a large flash of light and Irma briefly vanished in view before someone took her place, the same person, but her attitude and outlook had undergone a drastic transformation, she looked hardened, more chiselled, a bandana across her forehead, a machine gun in hand, and a toothpick in her mouth, her eyes, though still behind horn-rimmed glasses, were sharp and stealthy.

"Now…where were we?" she said, her voice sounding distinctly more like a female Sly Stallone.

"Irma is that…you?" Donatello said in alarm.

"She looks like Rambo's librarian" Raphael noted.

"Wait…where am I?" the badass Irma said, examining her surroundings "This isn't the Prime Conductor's main office"

"Prime Conductor?" Donatello said in confusion.

"Donny? Is that you?" Irma said, "I thought you were hiding in Europe, what are you doing in New York?"

"Irma, I don't know what you're doing dressed like a combat wombat, but you might want to take cover and let us handle this prehistoric putz" Raphael said as Rexington closed in on them, his gun cocked and loaded

"So, the soft little thing has hardened up has she?" Rexington observed, "Let's see if we can strike a dent in her armour"

He pulled the trigger on his weapon, Irma, instinctively, rolled out of the way and activated her own weapon. A cruel clash of wits soon unfolded on the city streets as the two tried to cut the other down with their awesome firepower.

Shredder tried to take control of the situation and yelled instructions to Rocksteady and Bebop.

"What are you two waiting for? That Turtle by his own admission has the shakes, seize advantage of that and take the Tri-Osteron from him" he said.

"Gotcha boss" Rocksteady said in agreement, and he and Bebop charged at the Turtles

Donatello's dizzy spells began to haunt him yet again, he began feeling overwhelmed as the tension heightened.

"Don, are you ok?" Raphael asked, grabbing Donatello as he tried to sit down

"I'll be ok Raph, I'm just a little light" he said

"He won't be ok for long" Rocksteady claimed as he and Bebop zeroed in on the two.

"Back off, he's not well" Raphael said, shielding Donatello with the back of his shell, holding him upright

"Don't worry, after we take the crystal, we'll make sure he goes to the hospital" Bebop sarcastically replied, cracking his knuckles.

Before they could advance further and dish out physical trauma, they were distracted by a sudden screech of tyres as the Turtle Van pulled up.

"Hey look, it's the party wagon" Bebop said

The main doors of the van open and the remaining Turtles, plus April, poured out.

"Forgive the rhyme, but we're bang on time" Michelangelo proclaimed, twirling his nun-chucks.

"Let's tread on some shells" Rocksteady said. The two ran towards Leonardo and Michelangelo with their fists clenched.

There was a large-scale physical tussle as the Turtles danced around the two heavies with their patented martial arts moves and skill with weapons. Eventually, after managing to knock them around with careful shots to the stomach and the back of the head, Leonardo and Michelangelo picked the two up and held them high in the air.

"Woah, put us down, put us down" Rocksteady yelled.

"Alright, your horn is way too small and your ears make Dumbo feel like a regular person" Michelangelo replied

"Somehow I don't think he meant put them down like THAT Michelangelo" Leonardo pointed out.

"I hear you bro" Michelangelo said, "Prepare for turbulence, you two are in for a bumpy landing" he told the two malicious mutants as he and Leonardo threw them across the street.

"For a rhino and a warthog, you two never cease to be turkeys" Leonardo remarked

"Oh gravity, how I wish you'd act up just this once and keep those two suspended in the air for all eternity" Shredder cried out to the heavens in dismay.

Leonardo ran up to Donatello and tended to his brother

"Donatello, you shouldn't have went off on your own without back-up" he advised

"Hey, it was IRMA that was in trouble, he probably though it'd be the easiest gig in the world" Raphael argued in Donatello's defence.

"Where IS Irma anyway?" Leonardo asked

"Oh, she's taking out roborex over there" Raphael said, pointing to the firefight between her and Rexington a few meters from them.

April was flabbergasted by Irma's look

"That's Irma? Boy I wouldn't want to turn her down for a raise in that condition" she said

She was suddenly approached by Thompson, who had Pierce Mars in tow.

"April, there you are" he said

"Mr. Thompson, how'd dinner go" she asked

"The food for thought is right over there, get to covering it" Thompson said, also pointing to the battle being waged by his secretary and the dino-borg.

"Yes sir, I've got my camera right here" April said, pointing to her handy bit of apparatus.

"Thompson, if all goes well and we survive this, your future at Channel Six is going to be quite bright" Peirce promised.

"Oh I love the song of your praise Mr. Mars" Thompson replied, beaming with enthusiasm.

The battle had been evenly matched between Irma and Rexington for some time now, but the tide seemed about to turn as Irma ran out of bullets.

"Nothing left in the tank human?" Rexington spoke, "A pity, I on the other hand am built like one"

"Leave her alone" Donatello said, again putting himself between Irma and the dinosaur.

"Don, is all that spinning in your head tossing your brain around? Get away from him" Raphael yelled

Donatello closed his eyes and concentrated, "Remember what the tapes said" he whispered to himself, "I am in control, I am in control"

The Turtles all screamed and shouted for Donatello to get out of Rexington's way but he held his ground, calmed and centred. Rexington put his gun away and made a dash for him, intending to run him down with his mammoth frame

"Hold it" Donatello said, the killer getting closer and closer, "Hold it…"

His eyes snapped open

"NOW" he cried, and hit Rexington hard in the guit with his bo-staff. The dinosaur winced in pain

"Oh, right in the Sauros-plexis" he said.

"Great shot bro, now HIS head is spinning like a drier" Michelangelo said.

Rexington let out a violent burp, followed up by an increasingly loud fart, and then, to everyone's disgust, let out a massive depositing of droppings on the ground

"Eww" came the collective gags of all those witnessing the filthy spectacle.

"Now look what you made me do" Rexington said, close to tears, "I sure shouldn't have tucked into that roast boar earlier"

"Those droppings smell like fifteen pairs of unwashed bandanas" Michelangelo said

"It smells worse than the average day at a beach near a sewage drain" Raphael added.

The only one not phased at all was Irma.

"Smells like victory to me" she said, and took out a few pieces of hardware from her skirt pocket, "Now, if you'll excuse me folks, it's hammer time"

She walked over to Rexington and proceeded to beat him over the head with twin bull hammers.

"Oh, don't, I'm sensitive in those places" Rexington begged

"Too bad, I'm not really all that sensitive" Irma replied

"You really have a flare for combat" Donatello observed, "You always did"

"Hey, I've had fifteen years of hard labour to practise where I come from" Irma replied

Donatello was beginning to understand what was happening all too clearly.

"You're not our Irma are you?" he asked

What do you mean "Not YOUR Irma?" she said.

"I don't think my Irma, OUR Irma, could see the future, I think she's been seeing POSSIBLE futures that have somehow been brought into our world, replacing the original versions in the process" he explained

Raphael noticed that Malkite and Krator were coming to.

"Look out guys, those two alien affiliates of Shredder are stirring"

Krator shook his head, he felt like he had just woken from a strange dream "What happened? Malkite, are you ok?"

"I believe so" Malkite said as he shook off his own cobwebs, "That jet of water must have washed out those Slaver worms. My mind is my own again"

"Shredder had you guys brainwashed? That's a releif" Leonardo said.

"Maybe you could tell us what's going on here" Donatello added, "Maybe you can tell us what's going on here…like what this weird crystal is and why Shredder wants it so badly"

"The Tri-Osteron? It is a sentient gem that has awareness of the spectrum of all creation across the multiverse" Malkite explained, "It can grant it's bearers insight into all manners of possible futures and outcomes. It has helped us discover the cures for various illnesses afflicting our people, and advised us on what actions can lead away from violent wars. Itc forms graceful symbiosis with whoever wields it. It is harmonious and normally quite safe"

"But why does Shredder of all people want it?" Donatello inquired, before taking a moment to think it out for himself.

"Unless" he said, dwelling on it, "Unless he wants to view a future where he and Krang work out how to operate the upgraded Technodrome so they can learn the right techniques to bring it under control"

"A brilliant deduction for someone who's only been on the scene for five minutes" Shredder said.

"So why is it leaving the door open for carnivorous cons like that dino dude?" Michelangelo asked

"We are as confused as you are" Krator replied, "The Tri-Osteron's original function is as a window into possibility, not serve as a conduit for them. Somehow it must have been tampered with"

"This crystal, does it operate on a lower vibration trans-dimensional frequency?" Donatello asked

"Yes" Krator confirmed, "You are familiar with such things?""

"I think I'm responsible for all this" Donatello replied, "…I had this in my possession a few hours ago and took a spill near a piece of delicate dimension hopping equipment, the crystal must have absorbed the energy generated from my portal when it was activated and it's somehow mutated and rewrote it's coding."

"And now that the Tri-Osteron is making all possibility concrete reality, I don't need to look at a scenario where the Technodrome is at full power, all I need do is take the crystal and bring an even more terrifying and powerful one into this dimension." Shredder boasted.

"But you'll probably bring in another more lethal and dangerous Shredder, didn't you learn your lesson from last time?" Leonardo asked

"Everything needs a little more me in it, why settle for that when you can have a LOT more?" Shredder replied

Michelangelo turned to Donatello, who was scratching away at his head, pondering the problem further.

"Any light bulbs going off in that bright head Don?" he asked

"It's almost like the Tri-Osteron's caught a virus…and that may just be our solution!" Donatello replied.

"Solution to what?" Krator inquired

Donatello handed Michelangelo the crystal, "take this" he said, before producing another small object from his belt, "And this"

Michelangelo was stunned at what was being put in his hand, and wondered just what Donatello had going on in his head.

"Dude, isn't that the 4K thing you've been working on?" he said

"Attach it to the Tri-Osteron" Donatello instructed

Michelangelo complied, attaching the small bug to the crystal.

Irma suddenly shouted at them, Rexington had now managed to power out of her beatings and was wrestling her in a test of strength

"We've got problems fellas" she said "Guess that first bit of wind gave him a second burst of it, I can't hold him off for much longer"

After a bit more pulling and pushing, Rexington finally swatted Irma aside and targeted the Turtles with his shoulder missile targeting system

"Any last letters of the alphabet?" he hissed

"Shouldn't it be "any last words?"" said Michelangelo.

"Words form sentences, sentences can go on forever. Everybody knows "Z" is the end" Rexington explained

"So why don't you just use a regular countdown…preferably from "10"" Michelangelo suggested

"A countdown eh?" Rexington pondered, "That sounds fair"

"Alright" Michelangelo said

"A good thing I only know two numbers" Rexington added.

Michelangelo gulped.

"One of them wouldn't happen to be my lucky one right?" he said.

"On One…One…Zero" Rexington said, giving noone a chance, and activated his shoulder missile.

Michelangelo closed his eyes and pointed the Tri-Osteron at Rexington.

Suddenly, there was a loud hum, and, instead of a missile shooting out, it was instead replaced by a huge jet of water that covered and drenched Michelangelo.

"Thanks for the refresher dude. That opera I was at earlier really was completely dry"

"Did that deranged Dino's missile launcher just turn into a water pistol?" Raphael said in amazement

"Hey, anyone of you care to explain why my mallets have suddenly turned to squeegees" Irma asked, pointing to her formerly hard and heavy utensils

"The 4K virus is doing it's thing" Donatello proclaimed proudly.

"How DOES the virus work anyway?" Leonardo asked

"It's programmed to "readjust", or "censor" anything that is harmful to the subjects body or anything surrounding it. It works on a trans-dimensional frequency, meaning it takes the least harmful elements, the opposites of what it detects to be harmful, and trades places with them. A germ becomes a blood cell, bullets become bits of rubber, and so on. Once I knew what the Tri-Osteron was in it's mutated state, I applied the virus to it and it fortunately was able to corrupt it's matrix and become a conduit for those harmless aspects"

"You sure have covered all the bases Don" Leonardo said, congratulating his brother.

"Thanks. Had the virus been used on the Technodrome as I'd originally intended, It would have rendered it's weapon systems completely useless" Donatello revealed

"So long as that giant eyeball becomes a gob-stopper I'm all for that" Raphael remarked

"Now all we have to figure out is how to send this enraged enforcer home" Leonardo said.

"Worry not my friends, the dawn of your salvation has come" Malkite said

"Woah…you mean, now that your minds are screwed on the right way, you can conjure up a nifty thing-a-ma-jig to disable that trinket?" Michelangelo asked, thinking he'd get it right.

"No he means it literally" Krator revealed, pointing to the outbreak of dawn over the city as the sun came into view.

"Woah…he's right, we've been up the whole night fighting tackling these goons" Michelangelo said.

Donatello looked at the crystal.

"Something's happening, the Tri-Osteron is changing colour" he observed.

"With the advent of sunrise, the Tri-Osteron reverts to an ordinary trinket. Night falls very little in our home dimension, so the crystal's unique gifts are of a rare and celebrated occurrence to us."

A series of shimmers could be heard, Rexington let out a loud roar of defiance before vanishing in a flash. In his place was the action figure that, in this reality, he was represented by.

Larry, who had hung around as a spectator to the whole fight, quickly ran up to snatch back what belonged to him

"Awesome…you've gotta tell me how you turn him back into this" he asked the Turtles, "They'll sell billions over Christmas"

However, his mother was not about to let him take the toy home with him, she smacked it out of his hands and dragged away. Michelangelo picked it up.

"Don't worry little dude, I know an excellent home for this" he said, chuckling to himself, knowing full well he was going to spend endless hours playing with it.

Also watching this unfold was Pierce and Thompson

"What a story, I hope your crew are on top of things Thompson" Pierce said.

"My best saw all this coming, and my brightest has got it all on camera" Thompson bragged.

April handed Peirce the camera. "Here you go Mr. Mars, all the footage from tonight's mishaps"

"Splendid" Mars said, "Burne, I think it's fair to say you have earned not just a bonus, but a promotion, as of this moment…"

There was a large flash and Pierce vanished.

"He's gone" Thompson said in alarm

"Even worse, he took the camera with him, and with it, another Pulitzer guarantee" April said, disheartened. Her despair was briefly lifted when she caught sight of Verna

"Erm…Vernon? Is there something different about you?" she said

"For the last time people, I'm…" Verna began, only to be cut off by a flash. In a matter of moments, she too vanished from view, and soon replaced by the real, and very male, Vernon.

"April? Is that you? Am I…yes. YES, I'm home" he said, beaming with delight "I'm home, I know I am. Thank heavens"

He knelled down and passionately kissed the ground.

"What happened to you?" April asked, examining his face, "You look so pale"

"I''s not paleness, it's mascara" Vernon explained, "I was held down by these alleged "B. " who thought I was someone called "Verna" and given a makeover against my will. They seemed to enjoy my helplessness, thinking I was playing up to the cameras

"Cameras?" April asked

"It was a live newscast going out to the world, or whatever mad world I was inhabiting…nothing but facials, and very cross dressers. A soulless humourless place obsessed with makeovers and reality tv gossip" Vernon explained

"You sure you were off this planet with a description like that?" joked April

"Looks like everyone's being pulled back to where they belong" observed Donatello.

"And it looks like this where we part company" Irma said, as she too began to fade from view.

"Thanks for everything "Ram-Ma"" Raphael said.

"You took an awfully big risk distracting that dinosaur for us" Donatello complimented, "You could have been hurt"

Irma smiled, and stroked Donatello's face, "Hey, everything is well worth the risk for the Turtle you lo…"

With a bright flash of green energy, she too vanished, and replaced by the regular Irma everyone knew.

"Oh Don, it was horrible" she said, "I was stuck in a world where everyone had united against a totalitarian government that demanded it's people pay twice the legal fee if you were double-parked. I never knew that's all it took to push people over the edge"

"The important thing is regular you is back, I don't know what we'd do with another minute of macho Irma" Leonardo remarked.

"Oh. I missed that? I kinda like macho" Irma said, putting a finger on her chin and staring into space. She took another glance at Donatello

"What's up with you?" she said.

Donatello said nothing, he just wrapped his arms around her and squeezed tightly. Irma, initially baffled, took to liking the gesture, and returned it in kind with a firm hug of her own.

Observing the return to normalcy was Shredder, who was none too pleased with this turn of events.

"Those blasted Turtles. They've thwarted our plans again" he snapped.

"It's a good thing we didn't bring our blueprints, they'd have trodden all over them" Bebop said in reflection. Shredder smacked him across the head and activated his communicator, putting him in touch with Krang at the Technodrome.

"Krang, open the portal and get us out of here." he said. In a matter of moments, the portal shimmered into view. Shredder turned to enter it, only to step into Rexington's leftover dinosaur droppings.

"When I said I wanted to step into uncharted territory, I didn't mean this" he said, and, with his two underlings, entered the portal.

"Shredder and the lacklustre lackeys are getting away" Raphael said, but before he could play catch-up, the portal closed.

"Ah nuts" Raphael said, "And just when it looked like we'd hit a slam- dunk, they've moved off the court"

"At least the present danger has passed" Leonardo said.

Michelangelo walked over to Krator and handed them the Tri-Osteron.

"You might want to take this dude" he said.

Thank you strange creatures for all you have done, and for freeing our enslaved minds" Krator replied

"I still have to take responsibility for tainting your crystal" Donatello said apologetically, "It's mutation might be permanent, and could to pull in outcomes from other realities from this point onwards whenever night falls on your home dimension. It looks like you'll have to destroy it."

"I'm afraid The Tri-Osteron is made of an unbreakable substance and cannot be so easily dealt with" Malkite explained, "Besides, we can always make use of you 4K virus to hold off any trouble until the inevitability of sunrise."

"That is, if you don't mind" Krator added.

Donatello tried to chime in on this. "Yeah, actually I…"

"Splendid then. Let us return home Malkite" Krator said, clambering into the pairs' star craft, followed by Malkite.

"No wait, I need that virus to…" Donatello said, but no other words fell on either of the aliens ears as the door to the star craft shut. In a matter of seconds, the vessel's engines were activated and the ship began to rise high above the assembled crowd's gaze, turned right, and glided through the sky en route to the aliens home dimension, far out of reach of the Earth.

"Never mind" Donatello said with a heavy sigh.

"Bum deal dude" Michelangelo said, putting a hand on Donatello's shoulder. Raphael joined in, putting his own hand on Donatello's other shoulder.

"I know it's back to the drawing board Don, but next time it'd be wiser to add in a padlock on whatever it is you make…"

So lost in the moments associated with April losing her story and the departure of the star craft was Burne Thompson that he hadn't noticed Pierce Mars had just pulled up in his car, and had spent the last few seconds witnessing the destruction of his restaurant.

"Thompson…just what the devil happened?" Pierce said

"Mr. Mars, sir, I'm so glad you're alright" Thompson said in relief, Pierce's apparent reappearance finally registering with him, "We thought you'd been abducted by aliens…

"I apologise for being late, I was just on my way back from the newsagents, I was getting a lottery ticket" Pierce revealed.

"It's alright, we covered that bit when you arrived. You won." Thompson explained.

"What are you babbling about? I saw the lottery draws on the televisions on display in the shops. I came up short, and I only just GOT here, I didn't arrive early." Pierce pointed out.

Thompson sensed that this time things weren't going to go right.

"But…but,…what about that huge salary for me and my crew you promised?" he said, testing just how badly things were going.

"I promised nothing of the sort, but given what's happened to this place, maybe a raise isn't a bad idea…"

"Ah good" Thompson said.

"You'll need all the money you can get to pay for the damages to this place out of your pocket" Pierce sharply said

"…But…but…" Thompson began, but he knew all was lost

"See you at work bright and EXTREMELY early Thompson" Pierce said, going back to his car, slamming the door and driving away, leaving Thompson eating the smoke that fired out of the motor.

"Gee for his sake, he better not have a power breakfast next time" Irma remarked. Donatello laughed.

Thompson, however, didn't see the funny side.

"YOU!" he said, pointing his finger at Irma.

"Me?" Irma replied, pointing at herself.

"Your "soothsaying" is what got me in this mess to begin with" Thompson yelled, "I don't know how I've put up with you for so long…but time teaches us all lessons. You're fired!"

April reacted in alarm.

"You can't do that, it wasn't her fault" she said.

" Yeah, besides, one version of her saved all our tails" Michelangelo pointed out.

"Yes, and if she'd remained in this dimension I'd have gleefully hired her and STILL would have sacked this incompetent…Chick-munk" Thompson concluded.

The choice of insult was enough to bring out Irma's own aggressiveness.

"Chick-munk? Oh you've done it this time" Irma said, she rolled up her sleeves and walked towards Thompson, who backed away

"Now Irma, don't do anything rash…keep back…what do you think you're doing?"

"I think you get into the thick of the story…here, I'll help you cover it head to toe" she said, and shoved Thompson, causing him to trip and fall into the dinosaur droppings.

"Let's go Irma, there's nothing more we can do here" Donatello said, escorting Irma away

"Yeah, while it's not his mess, it's best to let him lie in it" Raphael remarked.

Back at the Technodrome, Krang awaited the return of his cohorts. Soon enough, they were all pouring into the base as the portal opened.

"Well, well, well, hail the conquering ZEROS" Krang moaned

Shredder grabbed Rocksteady and Bebop by the scruff of their necks.

"I can't believe you two, you've ran away from far worse things, like ME for example" he said

"I'd argue that T-Rex had more packed in his small lobe than you have in your boots AND brain right now Shredder" Krang added. Wanting to throw Shredder as many put-downs as he deserved for this latest failing.

"Mock me if you must Krang, but mark my words, eventually we WILL work out how to operate the Technodrome, and when we do, the Earth and any other world we set our eyes on will tremble at our feet…"

He paused, something had inspired him

"…But for the time being" he said, looking to his two henchmen, "You two nitwits can set about trembling at MY feet as you clean them up"

Rocksteady and Bebop took one glance at the mess on Shredder's boots and cringed

"I'll get the shoe shine" Rocksteady said

"Clean them…with your LIPS" Shredder added.

"Uh-oh" the two said collectively.

Back at the Turtles' lair, everyone was starting to relax. Irma had even elected to run a hot foot bath for Donatello, just to give him an excuse to sit down and calm his nerves after a taxing ordeal all evening trying to keep his headaches in check.

"Don, it's ready" she said. Donatello came over and dipped his feet into the soothing warm water, he let out a relaxed and chilled sigh

"Oh that's hit the spot" he said, "Thanks"

"We're sorry we got you fired from Channel Six Irma" Leonardo said as the remaining Turtles sat down to watch television with April.

"Oh don't worry about it you guys" Irma replied, keeping a positive outlook, "I wasn't going places there anyway. There was a glass ceiling and I'm just not the type to wear a glass slipper"

"So what will you do now?" April asked.

"Yeah, will you open up a dating agency and lure in all those poor unsuspecting dishes to your wicked cabin?" Raphael sarcastically added.

"I was thinking of getting a lot more physical" Irma replied "…and by that I mean indulging in my aerobics videos."

Donatello suddenly sprung up and began boxing with the air, swaggering from side to side

"That's a great idea Irma" he said, "I really could with that myself"

"Woah, what's gotten into you tiger?" Irma said.

"I've been pent up in my lab for so many months now, this little adventure re-energised me, I could take on the world, heck given what we were up against tonight, I could take on all those thousands of worlds sitting side-by-side with ours. I'd take them any day of the week" he said

As amazed as she was by Donatello's incredible display of energy, Irma couldn't help but notice he was starting to get a little too excited

"Donny, you might want to watch your…" Irma began, Donatello cut her off

"Even with these dizzy spells, I've never felt so balanced" he said, and tried to kick the air, just as he did so, he had another spell, lost his balance, tripped and fell backwards, as he did so, his leg caught the side of the basin, causing it to tilt upwards and drench the Turtle in the soapy water

"I could see that one coming a mile away" Irma said, which triggered a large chorus of laughter from everyone assembled.

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 16th, 2018 at 03:47 AM.
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Old December 24th, 2017, 10:16 AM #6
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> Cameron Samurai
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Cameron Samurai
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Joined: Aug 2006
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"RAPHAEL COUNTS 'EM ALL"


Leonardo stayed calm as the sweat dripped down his forehead. His eyes were tightly shut, and all his hearing could focus on was the clattering of a nearby fan blowing a soft breeze into his face. He was seated on a small wooden chair situated in the centre of the Turtle's sewer lair beneath New York. Observing him was his sensei, Splinter.

"Concentrate Leonardo" Splinter advised as he saw Leonardo strain himself.
"Do not fixate yourself on the exact detail of memory, simply project the moment and the lesson attached to it"

Leonardo complied, "I see Master" he said, "I see the moment...it is a day of winter, where the sun should be at it's peak, but evil forces had greatly reduced it in size, the city was frozen, bridges were filled with snow...caving in under the weight"

"Have you pinpointed the moment yet Leonardo?" Splinter asked. Leonardo concentrated harder, "Yes Sensei", he said, "the bridge is the moment...it bulked, it collapsed, cutting people off from exiting the city, I was shocked at the damage done"

"And in that moment, what lesson did you learn?" Splinter asked of his student.

"I..realised I had spent so much time worrying about myself, that I didn't have time for other people's worries...I realised I had been a fool to doubt myself when so many other things were in doubt, someone had to make a difference, I opted to go back to my brothers and lead them against this thereat. We succeeded, the sun was restored, the threat of early winter had passed... I was...myself again"

"Splendid Leonardo, let this memory define your sense of purpose for many more years to come" Splinter said, offering his congratulations. Leonardo bowed and walked away, as he did so, he bumped into Donatello.

"Your turn", he said.

"Gee Master, are you really going to do this with all of us?" Donatello asked, "We've had plenty of adventures over the years, lots of moments have defined us, why should one memory mean the most when we have a whole catalogue to choose from?"

"Memories are a gap between action and awareness Donatello" Splinter explained, "One specific journey is what makes us take all our later steps with a clearer understanding of what to do when we reach them.
The lesson learned from that one special moment ties the separate days and years into one complete picture of a life lived, and lived matching the highest of expectation"

Donatello sighed and sat down, "Fine" he said, "I just don't see the point of being content with one life lesson over the thousands we've picked up on"

"If you feel this is a challenge for you Donatello, you have my permission to express it as creatively as you can, perhaps you will teach me to think differently" Splinter said, offering Donatello an opportunity to make his case.

Donatello thought hard, the wheels in his head turning, forming ideas, forming solutions. Finally, he hit one.

"I have it Master" he said, ecstatic.

"Good", Splinter said, "But it must wait, for right now I have your time, and you must spend it with your moment"

"Trust me Master, after this exercise, you may need to re-evaluate me, I believe I'm going to have a moment or two" Donatello quipped.

As Donatello began his exercise, Leonardo returned to the living area of the lair, where Michelangelo was chatting to April on the Turtle-Com, a laptop computer nested on his legs, and Raphael was flicking through tv channels

"Anything interesting going on guys?" Leonardo asked.

"Splinter really got us up early for these "memory jogs", the marathons of my favourite show haven't even started" Raphael said, annoyed, "Just this annoying P.B.S special about Bakers"

"What's up with Mike?" Leonardo asked.

"Oh he's discovered the "joy" of writing online fan fiction, and like 90.99% of the planet's population, he's failing miserably at it" Raphael replied, "April loaned him a laptop to work on and she's been his beta-reader. If you ask me, she's got her work cut out for her"

"Mike, it's not "cosy", it's "cozy", I know it looks wrong on the spell-checker, but that's exactly how it's pronounced" April said over the Turtle-Com, "And I don't think Ace Duck would step in dinosaur excrement, this IS a children's cartoon you're writing about, don't try to make it all about gross toilet humor, also "prescience" is actually "presence"

"Gee, I didn't think writing came with so many requirements...can't we write whatever we want so long as it makes you peachy?" Michelangelo asked.

"That's the easiest thing in the world to do Mike, but that's why writers don't do it, they have an obligation to an impressionable audience, not just keen minds, not just experienced minds, but young minds as well" April explained. "Don't worry, you're doing fine, I'll drop by the lair this afternoon and we can polish your story up together"

"What are you going to be doing this morning April?" Leonardo asked, commandeering the Turtle-Com.

"Oh, just doing a Channel Six special on the Bakers' Dozen Summit that's taking place downtown" April revealed, "Leading baker Brad Dallas has a major announcement to make regarding a new top-secret recipe he's been working on in conjunction with some of the world's most brilliant bakers, he claims it's going to change how the world thinks about not just food, but everything"

"Food for thought, I like the notion" Raphael said.

"Ok Raph, you're up for a bit of memory jogging" Donatello said, having completed his exercise. Raphael was less than impressed.

"Oh come on Don, can't it wait 'till after the season premiere of my favourite show?" he said.

"You're a Mutant Turtle, the days of being slow on these things should be left to your infancy" Donatello added, pointing in the direction from whence he came, "Now get to stepping"

Reluctantly, Raphael got up and, in a sulk, marched over to Splinter and the inevitable mental taxation that awaited him.



Meanwhile, from their Technodrome base situated on the far side of the moon, dark forces conspired to misbehave. Shredder, Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop were huddled together around the vast monitor in the central control room, watching the PBS special on Baker Brad Dallas.

"I don't understand your fascination with this man Krang" Shredder complained, "I know our catering budget is a tad low and all our fridges are empty, but we need to think more about getting the Technodrome fully operational, not making sure our stomachs are completely full"

"Maybe if your nose did a little sniffing, you'll find our situation lines up perfectly well with what these bakers are offering in their ovens" Krang replied, and brought up photographs of Dallas and his fellow bakers.

"These are not just ordinary bakers" Krang said, "They are, in secret, some of the most brilliant scientific minds ever assembled. Hiding behind this simple disguise they have been perfecting a formula that heightens the concentration levels and gives the person who takes it a greater understanding of how the most over complicated things work and how the greatest of problems can be easily and quickly solved. With such a formula in our possession, we will be able to broaden our own minds and work out how to unlock the full potential of the Technodrome"

"So what do you want us to do? Go down there armed with mittens?" Shredder asked.

"Secure the formula" Krang ordered, "Either capture someone who knows it, or take the very bake that contains it and bring it back here"

"Oh, I'd love to get my licks in on that" Bebop said, letting out a huge snort.
"Yeah, can we have a little taste boss, please?" Rocksteady pleaded.

"I have to admit, it's a most appetising plan Krang, but we all know it's doomed to fail so long as the Turtles are about" Shredder pointed out
"Must you be such a pessimist?" Krang replied. "Should the Turtles interfere, they will find us more than prepared. Rocksteady, fetch*the pulse"

Rocksteady complied and soon brought back a small grey triangle,

"Yes Krang, and what hole do you think this shape goes through?" Shredder asked sarcastically.

"Do not underestimate the sheer magnitude of what this small shape can provide" Krang replied, "This is will ensure the Turtles will be reduced to nothing more than a very distant memory"

Raphael sat down, Splinter watching him. Raphael tensely laughed and waved a little at his sensei, Splinter gave Raphael a thumbs up.

"In your own time Raphael" he said, Raphael closed his eyes and began nodding his head back and forth, playing a song in his head to get him in the mood, he wasn't used to sitting down and doing just nothing.

He soon let the music in his head get to him, and began to sing along to the tune he'd conjured up, Splinter interrupted him with a deliberate cough. Raphael quickly shut up and proceeded with the exercise.

"Cast your mind back, become a stream of air as you are pulled into the wisps of remembrance" Splinter advised, Raphael tried his best, putting together pictures in his head, though many were scrambled, some were quite clear.

As he remembered, the images conjured up a delightful smirk to Raphael's face.

"Ah, you recall a moment of jubilation" Splinter said, "Concentrate and let me know of it, and what lesson such a moment brought you, you can do it".
Raphael taxed himself, and, as Leonardo did before him, began to buckle under the strain of pulling the images together, small sweat glands ran down his forehead.

The room had gone deathly quiet, permitting Raphael all the solitude required to complete the task. Finally, his eyes snapped open.
"Her" he said. Splinter was quite interested, "A woman? Interesting...What can you tell me about...her?"

"Her eyes were the most dazzling black" Raphael began, "like the inside of a cauldron, she had her hair tied back and a smile that could knock down a herd of elephants, but she was trouble too, she could take you on a wild ride and get everyone to play her game, even if she cared about you, it was her way or no way"

"And what was her name?" Splinter asked.

"The rebellion called her...Dismaya" Raphael revealed "Fourth Princess of the Galactic Prism, home to the alien Tarvan, sworn enemies of the Earth alliance, only one man ever stands in their way...Slate Slabrock" he concluded, jumping out of his chair and pointing to the sky.

"Raphael, are you taking this seriously?" Splinter asked. Raphael sat back down, looked at his sensei, and looked at him with accusing eyes.

"Of course Sensei, I'm always serious about my favourite tv show, "The Adventures of Slate Slabrock (and his many alien girlfriend)",*they've brought me so many great memories and taught me so much about life...well, at least what life is like on other planets"

"This is not a general knowledge quiz Raphael" Splinter said, angered slightly by Raphael's lack of sincerity regarding the exercise, "There will come a time where your moment will matter to all around you, and only with that moment and lesson will you overcome your most persistent problems in the future"

"Sensei, c'mon, let me be light about this, I can conjure up any old memory anytime" Raphael insisted.

"Yeah, but of what ,your life as a Turtle, or your life as a tv junkie?" came a familiar voice as Donatello walked over to them. "How about we put your knowledge to the real test?"

"What have you got boiling in that brain of yours this time Donatello?"

Raphael said. Donatello grabbed him by the hand and began dragging him over to the lab to show him.

"Don't worry" he said, "If everything pans out, none of us will ever have to go through these exercises again, our moments will be as instant as our reflexes" he said.

As the two vanished from view, Splinter looked back on the now empty chair and sighed.

"It is little wonder Donatello's defining moment was surviving a building falling on him" he said, "Rising from debris raises the ego to great heights"

At the Bakers Dozen summit downtown, April was getting ready for her morning broadcast, she applied a layer of lipstick to her mouth, examined her looks her compact mirror, and stepped out of the news van, fresh and ready for the days' events.

A massive crowd had gathered outside the chain of stores and restaurants, a large display of cakes, cookies, loafs, and bagels, all stacked on a large table that stretched far across the street, awaited her.

Under orders, she couldn't partake of any of them, something which extended to other members of the news crew.

"April, must we keep our hands off these delicious looking muffins until the broadcast is finished?" complained Vernon as he greeted her, "I had to skip breakfast because of this assignment"

"Think less with your stomach and be like everyone watching at home, hungry for news" April said, dismissing Vernon's needs, she stood outside the entrance to the chain of eating establishments and awaited the arrival of Brad Dallas.

In an alleyway to the far right of her, a wooden door materialized in thin air and slowly creaked open, from it emerged Shredder and his bumbling henchmen.

"I can't believe Krang gave the portal that desktop image again" Shredder hissed, "I told him I never wanted to see it again after that fiasco in Japan"
"Gee boss, maybe next time you should ask for a window" Bebop remarked, "After all, that's usually full of opportunity"

"A glass window wouldn't be a bad idea...provided I could always throw you two into it and crack it open" Shredder retorted. "Now shut up and follow my lead, and don't forget to bring the Pulse"

Rocksteady and Bebop obeyed and the two left the alleyway, they kept their distance from the crowd, they watched as April began conducting her interview with Brad Dallas, a very slender looking man with a twirly mustache and an extravagantly large chef's hat.

"Mr. Dallas, you and the remaining bakers have been hard at work arranging so many exquisite treats for the fine folk of New York, that many think your latest project could really take the biscuit" April said, "Will it rise like flour or will it pop like a bad souffle?"

"I think this particular project has a real formula for success Ms O'Neil" Dallas replied, "An ingredient than will make even the most fattening foods feel like they've left a real imprint on the mind as well as the body"

"And what of the body?" April asked, "Aren't you concerned that, while your new secret ingredient may strengthen mental prowess, it will prevent people from partaking in healthier activities and eating healthier foods?"

"Not at all Ms O'Neil" Dallas replied, "In fact, our new range of bakes contain flavors that simulate everybody's favorite diets, they needn't miss out at all, and we'll be applying the ingredient to them as well so that both worlds can be savored"

"Someone I don't think you get the point sir" April replied, Dallas took exception to this.

"The point is Ms. O'Neil, that everyone loves a good bit of iced dough between the teeth, it gives them comfort, it gives them a delight that salty foods and sickly looking soup can't hope to provide. I take great pride in my bakes"

"And pride is always when the cookie crumbles" proclaimed a sinister voice .Everyone turned around to see three ghoulish figures standing before them, figures all to familiar to April.

"Shredder" April said in alarm as she identified them.

Because of the high-profile nature of the summit, and the teeming crowds present, there were obviously going to be police officers on hand, and one stepped up to the plate.

"Ok fella, take your weird pets and make your way back to the costume store down that way. We're in no mood for your party-crashing"

"We're no one's pets " Rocksteady uttered.

"You've got your finger on the pulse where that's concerned Rocksteady, use it" Shredder advised, Rocksteady complied and produced the triangular device, pointing it in the direction of the cop. He pressed a small button on the device. A shot of electrical energy was shot towards the cop, it struck him in the head like a sharp dart. The cop froze for just a second, then began swaying from side to side, making babyish noises.

The crowd could sense that, whatever had just transpired, that it was trouble. With their protection compromised, they began to panic, and they parted like the red sea, scrambling in all directions.

Shredder walked through the crowd heading towards Dallas, who backed away, trying to make it back to his shop.

April grabbed the camera from Vernon and approached Shredder, trying to get his face into focus.

"Say cheese Shredder" April said, "You've got a face made for "Most Wanted"

"Really? I didn't know you found my features so appealing" Shredder replied, turning his attention away from Brad, giving him the chance he needed to slip into the cafe and bolt the door.

Shredder realized his mistake too late, he ran up to the door and tried to open it, straining at the knob, but couldn't budge it.

"Fooled by flattery, how embarrassing" he said, turning back to April. "No matter, Dallas won't be going anywhere, and I've got more than one key to the kingdom" he boasted, looking at Rocksteady.

"Whatcha looking at me for?" he said. Shredder picked him up and charged at the door, using Rocksteady and his horn as a battering ram, the bolted door came loose , granting Shredder access to the frightened Dallas.

Shredder was pleased to find Brad wasn't alone, as at his side were the rest of the brilliant bakers Krang had told him of earlier.

"Well, well, quite a menu on display" Shredder cackled, "All that's missing is Gordon Ramsey"

April noticed that Shredder was too preoccupied to be worrying about her
"Whatever they're after, they seem to be favouring these guys over me, which gives me the window I need" she said, and activated her Turtle-Com, "Guys, come in, please"



April's attempts to contact the Turtles temporarily fell on deaf ears, for in his haste to watch Donatello conduct his latest experiment, Michelangelo had left the device on the couch along with his laptop.

Huddled together in Donatello's laboratory, the four Turtles were bearing witness to yet another of Donatello's strange contraptions. A strange greenish orb wired up to all sorts of cables, which in turn were connected to a chair made of pure steel.

"Have a seat Raph" said Donatello. Raphael knocked on the chair with a clenched fist, amazed at it's authenticity. "Smooth, solid construction job genius" he said, "But you gotta let me know why I ought to step into THIS steel mill"

"Oh I'll tell you when Sensei gets here" Donatello said.

"You know...Splinter said something about us being equals years ago, why do we still call him sensei?" Michelangelo asked.

"Because it's like your father saying it's ok to go by his first name, we find it disrespectful" Leonardo explained "...Besides, he was having a rare lapse of confidence when he stepped down as master, he realized that so long as life is lived, there will always be masters and students. It is our destiny to learn"

"Yeah, maybe he can apply that learning to basic English grammar sometime" Michelangelo lamented, thinking back to his literary "masterpiece"

Soon Splinter arrived, curious as the others to what Donatello was up to. Donatello took this as a sign to grab Raphael and force him into the chair, almost as if he needed to keep to a specific schedule.

"Throwing me into the proverbial moat with no explanation? Are you feeling alright Donny?" Raphael said, slightly panicked as Donatello plugged the loose cables onto special locks at both sides of the chair.

He quickly snapped them shut around Raphael's wrists so he couldn't escape.

"Explain your anxiousness Donatello" Splinter asked, a little unnerved by Donatello's arrogance, a side-effect, seemingly, from his confidence-boosting memory jog earlier.

"Not to worry you two" Donatello assured both Raphael and Splinter, "All is good to go, I'm about to put Raphael's mind through it's paces, and should it all work out well, there's a good chance this is a memory that won't be soon, if ever, forgotten, it'll be on the tip of our tongues forever, same with everything else we can recollect"

"I'm thinking his "defining moment" should have been when he was under pressure to fix Burne Thompson's satellite dish" Michelangelo whispered to Leonardo "At least then we knew our lives depended on not screwing up, here I'm not so sure Don knows what he's risking"

Leonardo grabbed Donatello by the hand , halting him before he could plug a massive cable into the glowing electrical orb atop the chain.

"Just what is going on Don?" he asked, "What is this thing?"

"The CITY" Donatello revealed, "Connect Into Tomorrow & Yesterday, a device that specializes in projecting a permanent map of the memory components of the brain, here, while Raph absorbs all this baby can take, I'll put up a virtual demonstration on my computer"

"Can't you just run the demo first?" Michelangelo said
"And wait ages for the results to kick in? I've got no time for that guys" Donatello insisted, and motioned for Leonardo to let go of his arm so he could finish applying the cable to the apparatus.

"He sure is a little cocky today" Leonardo observed, "Any idea what's up with him Master?"
"A building fell on him" Splinter said, confusing Leonardo further. Splinter chuckled at being the only one who got the joke.

With final preparations complete, Donatello looked at Raphael with a smile
"Remember this Raph, you and I are both about share a moment" Donatello declared. Raphael struggled, but couldn't budge

"Yeah, well if this goes wrong, you'll remember today for that wonderful shine on your right eye" Raphael joked. Donatello grinned mischievously and threw the switch.

The room temporarily darkened, lights flickered on an off, the orb above the chair began to spin, getting faster and faster, the electrical neurons inside of it began to scatter and spit out of it, travelling down the cables and coursing through Raphael's body. His body buckled and shook violently, his eyes glazed over.

Inside his mind he could see so many things, faces and vehicles and locations, all taking the place of large emerald-like virtual buildings in his mind, with his memories slowly slotting into small window frames.

At Donatello's computer, the same imagery Raphael was experiencing was being shown to Leonardo and Michelangelo on the screen.

"This is what Raph should be seeing in his mind right now" Donatello said, "CITY operates on a wide multi-memory optional layout, if the user wants to bring up a specific time, date, face, place, then his will will, in a matter of seconds, file through the corresponding indexed file and pull up the visuals, name, anything to do with the memory and immediately register it in the cerebral cortex"

"Come again?" Michelangelo asked

"It's like tapping into a phone book, only like Keanu Reeves" Leonardo explained, offering up a more basic description to his light-headed sibling.
"Sounds like a great idea for a story, I'll get my laptop and start writing down notes" Michelangelo said, preparing to run off. Donatello wasn't impressed. "Wouldn't you rather stay and see my work in effect Mike?" he asked.

"No way dude, I don't think there's space in the room for you, me, Leo and your ego" Michelangelo joked, and darted back to the living area

"What did he mean by that?" Donatello asked. Leonardo was more concerned about Raphael, who whose body was beginning to simmer down.

"Ah, the procedure will be complete then" Donatello said, and walked over to release Raphael from his bonds. Raphael took his time getting out of the chair, feeling somewhat disoriented. Eventually, he came around and tried standing up, his legs felt very shaky and he almost allowed himself to drop to the floor, he stabilized himself by holding on to the sides of the chair, then grabbing Leonardo's hands. It took a few more moments, but he eventually began walking under his own power.

Donatello felt a little guilty seeing Raphael in such a bad way, but he believed the risks taken with him would prove to be a fruitful one.

"Raph, you ok?" Leonardo asked, "You look pretty banged up"

"I need a moment...boy, what am I saying? I've got all the moments I'll ever need" Raphael said, remarkably restrained at what gifts had just been granted to him. Raphael turned to Splinter.

"I'd like to give that memory jog of yours another whirl" Raphael said. Donatello urged Splinter to give him a chance. Splinter was hesitant. "I feel you are only committed to this now out of a desire for play Raphael, not to know your limits" he said.

"Oh relax, just ask me a question, any" Raphael replied. An excited Donatello was keen to ask first.

"Ok, what can you tell us about our adventures recovering the fragments of the Eye of Zarnoth?" he asked.

Raphael commenced his digging, in a span of seconds, he rattled off the answer, re-enacting their experiences physically, "We were training in the park" he began, pulling off a few generic moves, "Mikey put on a dumb Shredder disguise for some reason, suddenly, there was a huge explosion, we looked up in the sky, there it was, a sleek looking star ship in freefall, falling apart, it crashed into the lake, we dived in to investigate and found this weird purple alien, we took him to the surface and learned of the alien crystal, and that it had been split into fragments, he gave us a tracking device before passing away. Shredder beat us to the punch on finding each of them though. He bested us for the first fragment and shrunk us down to the size of ants, we were almost swept away by a road sweeper before making it back to the sewers, where Master Splinter just had to make use of the word "large problem"..."

"Couldn't he have just given us the cliff notes?" Leonardo said to Donatello as Raphael continued to fire off the specifics of the Turtles' adventures. Donatello, however, didn't mind the rambling one bit, he was far too proud of the results of his latest creation.

"A fascinating and disciplined recollection Raphael" Splinter said, "But what did you learn from it?"

Raphael stopped in mid-sentence, pondering this over, this would soon be cut short however, as Michelangelo suddenly burst back into the lab, holding his Turtle-Com in hand.

"Big trouble in the little places guys" he said, holding up the turtle-com to show April.

"Guys, where have you been? I've been trying to contact you for thirty minutes" April said.

"Sorry April, we've all been subject to Donatello's latest round of fifteen famous minutes" Leonardo replied, "What's up?"

"Shredder and his goons have crashed the Bakers Dozen summit, he's taken Brad Dallas and his colleagues hostage"

"Don't sweat it April" Raphael said, "Old tin-grin will regret tussling with Turtles who once sent him packing back to Dimension X with a rocket well and truly up his Technodrome"

"What he means is "we're on our way"" Leonardo assured her, "Come on Turtles,. let's cream that cretin"

"Yeah, and while we're whipping him, we might as well do it with the whip-cream" Michelangelo added.

Back at the summit, Shredder was eyeing up the row of bakes on the outside of the shop, trying to deduce exactly which one contained the formula he was seeking.

"So many delicious options, but only one of them will satisfy our hunger for greater knowledge" he said to himself, he took a lick of one of the cakes icing, he detected a layer of coconut, but didn't feel any more special.

Rather than spend hours filling his stomach until it burst, he opted to go back inside and force the information out of the frightened bakers.

"Ok, level with me, which one of you knows the full formula?" he asked, grabbing one of the bakers and holding him close to his face, staring into him with penetrating, devilish eyes, "Talk, or your soufflés won't be the only thing going in the oven"

"Please, he doesn't know, none of us do, I beg of you" Brad suddenly interrupted. This news made all of his friends react in shock.

"Brad, what are you saying? We perfected the formula together, we left the final touches to you and you came up with the final touch and we were good to go with it" said one of the bakers. Brad shook his head.

"I thought my ingredient would work, but it only made everything taste rock hard, and it certainly didn't expand the mind, just your waist-lines, like all my other works. I couldn't bear the shame of letting you down, so...I cheated. Someone offered me the formula that we eventually used for a small fee, a stack of copper quarters, quite silly come to think of it, but it was my wildest dream come true, and it was better than being the laughing stock of all of you, so I took up the offer, and now we are paying the price for my folly"

"But if you didn't come up with the formula...who did?" Shredder said, "And more interestingly, why do I feel as if I should know this already?"



Following April's directions, the Turtles soon made their way topside and joined her a few meters away from the building Shredder was keeping the bakers hostage in. They noticed the stricken cop lying nearby, his thumb in his mouth, crouched in a fetal position.

"Woah, isn't he a bit big for that sort of thing?" Michelangelo said as he witnessed the cop's odd behaviour.

Donatello walked over to inspect the cop, he waved his hand in front of him, the cop didn't react, Donatello tried pulling the thumb out of his mouth, which produced*some*type of reaction, as the cop burst into tears. Donatello inserted the thumb into the cop's mouth and his temper tantrum ended.

"Seems he's reverted to an infant-like state" Donatello evaluated.

"Times like this make me pine for the days of Rex-1" Raphael said, "Man was that a good adventure...there we were, surrounded at a fair ground by all these renegade Rex-1 duplicates, only the good old, dependable original, slightly modified by Donny and a few hundred videotapes, could hope to save us. Yeah, it took an aerobics workout to short-circuit all the renegades, but it was something that'd tax out any ordinary human or Turtle, only a robot like Rex could take on such a physically demanding challenge..."

"He's in a nostalgic mood today" April observed as Raphael rambled on.

"He better start focusing up, we need everyone's attention fixated on neutralising the hostage situation" Leonardo said.

"Sorry guys, I went on a tangent there" Raphael replied apologetically, "Reminds me of the time I got on Donatello's case for constantly talking like a 50's Bogart Detective when we were wearing trench coats, I think that was the time we were clashing with Tony "The Butcher" Vavaldi"

"Oh Donny, he's doing it again" Leonardo complained, Donatello wasn't too frustrated by it, for obvious reasons, it was, after all, the desired results of his most recent success story.

"Listen guys" April said as she suddenly picked up voices, the Turtles stood ready, arming themselves with their weapons. From out of the building came Bebop and Rocksteady licking their lips and rubbing their stomachs, leering at the cakes on display.

"The boss may not be up to helping himself to this all day, but he doesn't have the belly of a beast" Bebop, taking a cupcake and swallowing it in one gulp.

"Yeah, grab a plate, or better yet, a whole table, this will be worth our while" Rocksteady, picking up one such round coffee table, and titling it sideways, allowing all the iced donuts sitting on it to spill neatly into his mouth.

"It definitely won't take us a while to make you gingerbreads snap"

proclaimed Leonardo as he made the Turtles presence known to the two.

"The Turtles" Bebop yelled, "And just before I could work on my appetite, I gotta work up one now"

The Turtles charged at the two mutants, Rocksteady went after them, Leonardo jumped over him while the other Turtles scattered left and right. Leonardo landed behind Rocksteady and taunted him, tempting him to try and attack him near the building. Leonardo backed all the way up until his shell hit the rim of the large stretch of table at the front of the cafe.

Rocksteady grinned and threw himself towards the Turtles' leader, his horn aimed firmly in his direction. Leonardo suddenly somersaulted onto the table and jumped over Rocksteady, who couldn't stop his charge in time, his body hit the table, causing it to break, and his horn dented the window. Leonardo took a running charge, ran up Rocksteady's back and delivered a swift kick to the window, shattering it, he landed with a thud, right into the path of Shredder, who was standing at the entrance, blocking the bakers from exiting

"Quickly, get out through the hole I've made, just mind the glass" Leonardo said, covering the bakers as they scrambled for the broken window and their custom exit. Shredder stared down Leonardo coldly.

"Brad, consider this your last day of employment" one of the bakers uttered to him.

"Fine by me, I always wanted to be a regular old chocolateer anyway" Brad replied.

Outside, Rocksteady had recovered from his spill . He was covered in layers of icing, and some of the cakes were sticking to his face. He licked most of the icing off his face with his tongue and turned his aggression on the other Turtles, he spotted Raphael being cornered by Bebop, and attempted to join him.

Donatello and Michelangelo stood in his way, but this time Rocksteady seemed ready. As Donatello swung his Bo staff at Rocksteady, the man-rhino casually grabbed it and used it to hoist Donatello high up then brought the Turtle crashing to the ground before swinging the staff like a disc at a highland game and threw Donatello clear through the air and into a nearby set of garbage cans.

"What gives? He's never been that good with reflexes before" Donatello said, his head throbbing from the impact.

Michelangelo twirled his nun-chucks around, ready for anything, Rocksteady grinned, and waited for Michelangelo to start tossing it, as soon as he did so, Rocksteady grabbed it and dragged Michelangelo over to him, he took both nun-chucks and fastened them around Michelangelo like a makeshift chain, before tossing him aside. Michelangelo, unable to control his free-fall, came crashing down in the same spot Donatello had landed in near the trash cans.

"Hey, Bebop, I think I've found where those bakers stashed the ingredient that makes you smarter" Rocksteady proclaimed "I think it was that row of Gingerbread slices I fell into, the icing is coated with it"

"Good, we'll scoop them all up once we deal with this pip-squeak" Bebop said as he approached Raphael, Rocksteady joined him, cutting Raph off from a hasty exit. With Donatello and Michelangelo still incapacitated, it left Raphael isolated

"Rocksteady and a hard place Turtle" the rhino joked, adding some egotistical wit to his enlightened repertoire.

"Oh I've been in these sort of scrapes before remember?" Raphael replied, "There we were, deep in the heart of the Technodrome, we'd gone through every kind of insidious apparatus Shredder could throw at us, we made it to a large chamber, Master Splinter held high above us, bond to some rope. Shredder came in, gave us his old wretched story, offered us the chance to join the foot, I made a reference to lemon sucking he didn't particularly appreciate, and then you two fellas graced our presence for the first time...and do you know what you did next?"

Rockstedy and Bebop had tired of the war stories and charged at him, Raphael was of course counting on them to do that and promptly leapt upwards, causing the two to collide and hit one another.

"Exactly that" Raphael said as he made a perfect landing on top of Rocksteady's head, dusting off his hands, "Maybe ol' Tin-Grin should have kept those robotic counter-parts of you two around a lot longer...Super Rocksteady and Mighty Bebop, they had nuts and bolts for brains, but at least they could test our metal and made you two look like monkeys. Matter of fact, I loved how Shredder acted like a chimp that one time, I think it was on the same day we tangled with those metal headed machines..."

"Raph, a little help here" Michelangelo interrupted, still tied up in his own nun-chucks. Raphael promptly came to his assistance and untied him, the two then helped Donatello up.

"Glad you could pull yourself away from a little bit of history to help us out here Raph"

"I like the big tour of memory C.I.T.Y's given me Donny" Raphael said, "Thanks to those memories, I'm giving those cronies some old-school headaches"

"Those two seem to be going to school, I overheard Rocksteady say something about the cakes making you a major brainiac" Michelangelo revealed.

Recovering from this clumsy collision, Bebop and Rocksteady assessed what had gone wrong. "I thought you said the cakes improved that noggin of yours, why'd you fall for a crude trick like the one that Turtle pulled on us" Bebop asked his partner.

"I only took a lick of the icing, maybe you have to eat the whole thing" Rocksteady replied, before getting up and brushing himself down, "Let's gather up those slices before the Turtles get their hands on them"
The Turtles were, however, ready for them, two of them standing in front of the assorted tables while Michelangelo gathered up as many as he could in his hands.

Suddenly, everyone's attention was diverted by the clashing of steel, as Leonardo and Shredder emerged from the cafe, duelling with their swords.
"Hey guys, how are things?" Leonardo said as he tried to keep Shredder at bay.

"Leo, we think we have what Shredder came for" Donatello revealed. Leonardo pushed Shredder away with a swift kick and ran up to his brother. "Great" he said, "Then we'd best make a tactical retreat"

"Rocksteady, use the Pulse" Shredder commanded, Rocksteady produced the small triangular device and aimed it at Donatello, whose back was turned. Leonardo, however, managed to catch sight of it.

"Donatello, look out" he said, and threw himself in front of his brother, shielding him as a blast erupted from the Pulse, enveloping him. In seconds, Leonardo had collapsed, dropping his blade and curled up in a protective ball, his body trembling in fright, small traces of saliva dripped from his mouth.
"Raph, Leonardo's down" Donatello yelled, "Protect Mikey, he has what they want"

"Way to advertise dude" Michelangelo remarked, not appreciating the target being painted on his back. Donatello realised his mistake and let out a faint "oops".

Raphael however, decided to make a play for Shredder, who had scooped up Leonardo's sword and proceeded to confront him wielding two blades.

"So, you're trying to be a hero are you?" Shredder said, taunting Raphael.

"This is all too familiar territory for you Shredder" Raphael replied "This is just like the time me and the guys attacked you in the Technodrome all those years ago, you had two blades then, and your ego was taking up too much room, we wore you down even then, forcing you out of the machine, which was the plan, and before long you were duking it out on the streets with us while the whole time we were planning to send that thing back to Dimension X with all your forces inside of it, except for you and Krang"

"What a reliable memory, I should win a few pub quizes with you as a hostage" Shredder responded, and he lunged at Raphael, Raphael ducked the shot with the blades and kicked it out of Shredder's hand, reducing him to one sword, Raphael produced one of his sais and matched Shredder's steel, the two swayed back and forth with their weapons joined, each briefly overpowering the other in tests of strength, before standing off yet again.

"Kind of funny, your pride got in the way that time, I didn't think lightning would strike twice, but there you go" Raphael boasted, before looking to his left and seeing Donatello and Michelangelo tailed it. A fateful error Shredder quickly capitalized on.

"You're forgetting two important aspects Turtle...this time I'm not alone, and this time you're bragging and giving me fair warning. Rocksteady, open fire"

Rocksteady complied and fired two shots from the Pulse. Donatello caught sight of them and threw himself in front of Michelangelo, his bo staff caught the first blast, but the second hit the target, felling another Turtle.

"No" Raphael cried out as Donatello fell backwards. Michelangelo felt helpless, as if he tried to pick Donatello up, he would drop the cakes and leave them open to Shredder. For once, he cursed the fact he had to carry around snacks.

Before Shredder and his cronies could close in on the two Turtles, they heard a screech of tires, they turned to find the Channel Six news van heading towards them. The trio scattered, but in making the attempt, Rocksteady dropped the pulse. Before he could grab it, it met it's end as it was crushed under the wheels of the van.

The doors opened and April popped out, "I couldn't leave you guys vulnerable to Shredder while I just sat there and covered the story" she said
"I'd hug you but I'm kind of treating myself right now" Michelangelo replied. April smiled and petted him on the head instead.

"Nice driving April, you only went and mowed over the one thing that could help bring the drool school out of their slumber" Raphael said, making note of the Pulse's destruction and the hapless Turtles and policeman, "Man I wish Splinter had been driving that van, remember all the cool moves he made when rescuing us from Baxter Fly? We were almost sheep-herded into some weird electrical thing that would have placed us in some out-of-synch dimension and..."

"...Hardly think now is for nostalgia dude" Michelangelo said, cutting him off.
"Tell me about it, but I can't shake the urge to do that" Raphael said, "Worse, if I hadn't been so cocky about it, Donatello wouldn't have suffered"
Shredder cursed out his hench-mutants as he surveyed the damage and the cost of the day as several sirens could be heard in the distance

"Blast it, we're out of time" he said, "The boys in green have given the boys in blue time to rally their troops, we must take our leave" . He activated his communicator com-link to the Technodrome and requested Krang open the portal. Before long, the wooden door materialized, opened up, and sucked all three into it, before swiftly closing and vanishing from view.

"Shredder and his goons have tailed it" Raphael said, "And we better do the same, April, help me take Leo and Donny, Mikey, you go ahead, and whatever you do, don't lose any of them"

Michelangelo nodded and ran to the manhole nearby, he placed the cakes down on the ground and lifted the manhole cover off, before gathering them up again and, realizing he couldn't climb down, hoped to make a splash below as he dropped like a stone down the tunnel.

As April climbed down, Donatello slung over her shoulder, Raphael, carrying Leonardo, noticed Michelangelo had left one of the cakes on the ground.

"I wonder just what it is about these things that somehow wets Shredder's appetite?" he said, and took a soft bite. He chewed on it a bit, then, as the sensation of heightened awareness swept over him, his C.I.T.Y-enhanced memories began to play up...the cake had done something more than expand his mind, it was telling him something quite different. It was*reminding*him of something.

Something that he couldn't possibly remember.

"Oh no" he said under his breath.

Back at the Technodrome, Shredder was cursing out his mutants, and had gotten so aggravated by the day's events that he started knocking away at the control consoles with his right foot.

"That's right Shredder, thanks to you everything has a certain kick to it" Krang remarked as he tried to work.

"I can't help it Krang, we finally manage to take down two of those wretched shell-backs, yet we still can't have our cake and eat it" Shredder complained. "We must get back down there and finish the job, how soon can you create a replacement Pulse?" he asked.

"It's impossible" Krang revealed, "The Pulse operated on a certain frequency that is impossible to match using even unconventional sciences, and the metal it was constructed from is not of any origin I'm presently aware of".

"So you didn't come up with this device?" Shredder asked. Krang nodded.

"it's hard to design anything around here when you only have a limited understanding of how this upgraded hunk of tin works" he explained, "To get by on many of our recent missions, I've had to make bargains with all sorts of characters from all corners of the universe and even on Earth"

"The great warlord Krang, reduced to second-hand goods rather than his own hand, how down-market of you" Shredder taunted. Krang hung his brain in shame at this.
"Oh well, never mind that, just point me in the direction of your seller and I'll buy what we require from him or her for a hefty fee, I do have The Foot Clan's budget to play with" Shredder announced, pulling out a cheque book.

"I know, what else do you think I've been using. My paypal account is frozen up, remember?" Krang said. Shredder was beside himself with anger, he jumped up and down in a childish fit. and pounded his fist on the controls.

"How do you even know how to access my credit card?" Shredder asked. Krang elected not to answer, instead he put up an image on the monitor screen, an image of a beautiful park on the outskirts of the city encircling a large stream sewage water pouring out of a nearby sewer drain like a waterfall

"A walk in the park is not going to calm my temper" Shredder said, folding his arms and shaking his head. Krang rolled his eyes, "It's not for exercise you dim-wit, it's where I rendezvoused with my seller. He told me if there was a time I'd need him again, all I'd need do is go back there...since I have no desire to repeat my mistakes, you can go and make a mistake of your own accord, just leave me to my other work in peace"

Shredder took a look at the location, and began scratching away at his mask as if it were his chin, "There's something all too familiar about this, but my mind is a blank when it comes to piecing together what...I have this strange feeling of de ja vu"

His suspicions would pester him for the duration of the morning.

At the Turtles' lair, Splinter, April and the remaining Turtles were pondering how to best deal with the incapacitated Donatello and Leonardo, who were crawling on all fours, making gurgling noises and sniffing at the sofa like dogs, peculiar actions even for creatures that were already very peculiar.

"Those poor guys" April said, petting the helplessly confused Donatello, "is there anything we can do for them Splinter?"

"The easiest idea that comes to the heart is to give them some kind of comfort zone, but the Turtles are at their heart, proud fighters, and in this case, comfort is not what is required. We must motivate a struggle" Splinter revealed, prodding Leonardo with his stick, trying to stir him and disrupt his routine, Leonardo groaned and ultimately grabbed the stick and started sniffing it before proceeding to chew on the end.

"Ok, come on Leo, playtime's over" Raphael snapped, grabbing the stick from Leonardo, who began to cry as the object of his interest was snatched away. As he reached up to try and take it back ,Raphael kept it a distance, even going up on his tip toes and stretching his hand up higher.

"Good Raphael, make him fight for what is his" Splinter said, urging on the action, "it will drive him to fight, to attain his desire for something, and give his mental prowess proper stimulation"

"Leo's needier here than he was that one time he was brainwashed by Donny's mood-altering machine and thought life was all about having fun and playing jokes on us all, we had a field day keeping his playground attitude under control, of course..."

Before he could finish, Leonardo grabbed the stick and sank down to the ground again, putting the stick in his mouth and sucking on it as he soothed himself to sleep.

"What happened? I had it all under wraps" Raphael said. Splinter, however, had the answer on hand.

"Raphael, you were reminiscing again, in doing so, you broke your concentration and enabled your priority to take back his possession, now the fight is out of him, at least for now"

"I'm sorry Sensei, Donatello's new toy has got me counting just about everything we've gone through, it's almost becoming instinct to bring up a past experience. I feel as helpless as I was that one time I was convinced I only had days to live, again because of a false reading by one of Donny's inventions and went out into the city taking on as much crime as I could handle hoping I'd get knocked off before I kicked the bucket, then I fought that weird scientist who..."

"You're doing it again bud" Michelangelo added, interrupting his brother.
April took noticed of Michelangelo's own unique take on handling the almost infant Turtles, as he started rolling Donatello's body over to his lab
"Putting a bit of back into it Mike?" April joked.

"I'm thinking maybe we can use Donny's brain machine to map out their minds again" Michelangelo revealed, "Donny seems to be getting a kick out of this as well" he added, watching the smile grow on Donatello's face, he began to make gleeful noises at the fun being had as he rolled along, he eventually didn't even require Mike's assistance, and rolled over to where C.I.T.Y was located under his own power.

"As usual Mike, you really know how to make everyone roll with it" April joked, patting Michelangelo on the back. Raphael kicked Leonardo slightly, trying to get him to do the same as Donatello, but the leader of the group stayed fixed to his spot, prompting Raphael to use both hands and roll him over much like Michelangelo had done with Donatello, hoping it would spark off some effort from Leo.

It was a different story however, as Raphael eventually found himself rolling his brother all the way towards the lab, "And I thought he learned not to care so much about himself" Raphael remarked, before turning his attention to Donatello's computer,

"Right, time to get the gist of this, Mikey, prep Donatello up in the chair and hook him up to the hardware, I'm going to do a scan of his mind"

"Are you the best person qualified to work that thing? You're not exactly a major at science" April said as Raphael began to type in instructions on the computer.

"It's fine April, I've got some of that Zuma-Heran juice running in my system, the cakes we brought back are laced with the stuff" Raphael explained. April was baffled, "What's a Zuma-Heran when it's at home?" she asked.

For Splinter, however, alarm bells began ringing in his head at the very mention of this. Before Raphael could begin to tell April what it was, he interrupted the two. "No doubt it is one of Raphael's odd nicknames uttered on his favorite tv show" Splinter said, elbowing Raphael, "Am I correct Raphael?"

Raphael seemed to get what Splinter was trying to convey, and, reluctantly, nodded in compliance.

"April, will you tend to Leonardo please" Splinter said, "I feel if he nibbles with my stick longer, it will slowly be reduced to the kind used for playing catch with dogs"

"I'm on it Splinter" April said, moving over to Leonardo, Michelangelo finished connecting Donatello to the device and pressed the switch. Raphael began to work feverishly away at the computer, looking up the virtual map of C.I.T.Y before checking on a similar screen atop the machine that projected a map of Donatello's own mind. He was interested in the scans that came up, showing the virtual buildings, with the memories floating all over them, however, unlike with him, they were not stacking together

"Raphael" Splinter said in a low voice so neither April or Michelangelo could overhear him, "Explain yourself, how can you possibly know of that?"

"Know what Sensei?" Raphael said.

"Of Zuma-Heran?" Splinter replied. "Access to such knowledge should not be possible"

"Blame C.I.T.Y." Raphael said, "Somehow it worked too well, it not only unlocked distant memories, but also opened the lock on the ones nobody wants us knocking around"

"So you recollect the land beneath our dimension. The kingdom that is known only to select members of the Foot Clan such as myself, the world you and your fellow Turtles helped save from Shredder once upon a time..."

"..Yeah, and a world you were quick to wipe from our minds...or so you figured" Raphael replied, "Now it's all coming back up again with a real kick"
The virtual map showed the images, the memories, attempting to enter the slotted 3-D buildings, only to bounce off of them.

"Man, it's like the brain is willing to line them all up but something is freezing them in time. This is just like the day Donatello invented a machine that froze everyone in time, going against nature itself. We had a real struggle with Professor Lloyd Cycloyd when he stole the machine and..."

Raphael caught himself, "Sorry Splinter, I went off-track again, whoever thought remembrance would leave anyone a wreck?"

"Perhaps this is your test Raphael" Splinter said, "To find your moment, you must now relive that which cannot be so easily recollected"

"Are you saying I have to go back there to find a way of restoring the guy to normal, since I'm pretty sure they can be cured by going there, and work out how those cakes ended up in the world?" Raphael asked.

"I did not say anything. You yourself have made that decision and phrased your intent in the form of a question" Splinter replied

"Like asking for a Chinese takeaway" Raphael remarked.

He collected himself, and examined the computer yet again, he pondered his next move, then made his decision.

"Right then, I'll get going, but I think what I ate earlier is wearing off, I can feel my brain taking a turn back along dead end alley, so I better use my smarts to leave some instructions for Mikey on how to operate C.I.T.Y while I'm gone"

"Be certain of yourself Raphael, the journey to Zuma-Heran is a simple one, but the destination is not quite as basic. You will face great tests there, and you must rely on your wits"

"Yeah, that'll be a problem for me" Raphael said

"And why is that?" Splinter said

"Because the king of the Herans can't stand my jokes" Raphael admitted.

At the park, the door representing Krang's dimensional portal popped into view and creaked open, kicking out Shredder, Rocksteady, and Bebop, with all three landing on top of each other.

"Watch where you're falling next time you idiots" Shredder said, dusting himself off. He looked at the lake, staring at for several seconds, trying to piece together the jigsaw in his mind. This area WAS familiar to him, he just couldn't place when he'd been there before. He also felt there was some hidden knowledge to this, something he had learned in his earliest days of control over The Foot clan, which somewhat connected to this, but, again, he couldn't join the dots.

He elected to contact Krang for further instructions, "We're here, now what?" he asked.

" I was experimenting with Copper materials around this area, trying to perfect some kind of high-density magnetiser, when I met my contacts. They seemed keen on my stock and offered up anything that could persuade me to part with them. I did, and I received the metal I used to develop the Pulse" Krang explained.

"So all we have to do is dig around for Copper" Shredder said, "Rocksteady, how's your wallet?"

Rocksteady was hesitant to answer, he twiddled his fingers anxiously as Shredder approached him, asking him again in a delicate tone, not quite getting angry, but making it clear he was irritated by the silence he was receiving.

"I said, "how's your wallet"? He repeated.

"Heftier than it's been in ages boss" Rocksteady saved, "I'm really saving my dough"

"Yeah well that's only because there's no malls on the moon, and we always steal stuff anyway" Bebop added.

Rocksteady was nervous, and tried to look away from Shredder, which was his mistake, as he was tilting his head upwards to look at the sky, Shredder grabbed hold of his leg and held him upside down, he grabbed Rocksteady's other and began shaking him, trying to loosen Rocksteady's wallet from his pockets.

He eventually succeeded.

Shredder dropped Rocksteady and scrambled for the wallet.

Immediately he began throwing out anything that wasn't dirt cheap. Fresh dollar bills were cast aside and thrown onto the water. Rocksteady scrambled for them, trying to scoop them up with his hand, only to cause them to float down stream further.

Shredder finally found what he was looking for, a row of copper quarters. He hastily contacted Krang for further instructions. "I have what I need, what do we do now?" he said

Krang shrugged, "Beats me what happened next was sort of spontaneous, I don't quite remember the specifics, just that I had made a desirable deal"
"How very detailed of you" Shredder sarcastically replied. Rocksteady, in a slump, stared at his reflection in the lake. Suddenly, the reflection began to light up, he reeled back in shock

"Boss" he said, dragging himself over to Shredder's knees and cradling behind them, "The water's been set alight".

Shredder aggressively shook Rocksteady off of him and walked over to the source of the light

"Anything happening?" Krang asked. Shredder put his hand in the water, it didn't feel any stranger, but the light continued to pulse. Soon, bubbles began forming.

"I think we've just found your missing detail" Shredder said as the bubbles increased in size and number, something was stirring beneath the water, and was eager to break through like a child in the womb.

In an almighty burst that soaked Shredder from head to toe, the water spiralled upwards, resembling a helix of some kind, shooting out from the lake and dancing across the helix with a beautiful looking emerald-haired woman twirling around in mid-air like an elegant ballerina. Jumping out of the water also was a peculiar dwarf-like creature with frog legs, leaping over the spiral ripples that were forming with the gentle twisting and turning of the female.

"Now there's a sight" Bebop said, marvelling at the spectacle. "She got you wet there boss" he added as he observed how drenched Shredder was.
Shredder squeezed his cape, draining it of the water intake, "Quiet you idiot" he said.

The woman soon ceased her twirls, and slowly glided down to where the trio were standing. The toad-dwarf followed her down as the water spirals fell back down to the lake, jumping off of them onto the woman's head and then to the ground.

"Right, let's get this over with shall we?" said the toad-dwarf, leaning on the soft arm of the elegant sea maiden. "You've got copper, we can smell it off you, we've got whatever you desire, let's make the trade, and do it before lunch ok?"

"Oh I've come with many things" Shredder said, producing a laser gun from his pocket, "But the only thing parting company are you two and this planet. We're giving you a first-class trip to the moon, you'll just love the space it provides" he cackled.

The maiden stood in front of the toad, shielding him from the gun. She didn't speak a word, but her intent to protect could be found in her dazzling jewelled eyes.

"It seems your maiden friend here has a desire of her own...to be a hero" Shredder said, laughing at the sincerity, "A pity there's noone more qualified in that department to help her out"

"Say, I recognise you" the dwarf said as he took the time to observe Shredder's appearance. "Tin-grin was your name wasn't it?

"The name is Shredder" the villain revealed, "And how could you possibly know me by the irritable nickname provided to me by my enemies?" he said
"Hey boss, you might want to turn around" Rocksteady said as he caught sight of something. "Not now you fool, I'm asking a question" Shredder replied.

As he aimed the gun at the maiden, her glare transfixed Bebop. "She sure is radiant when angry" he said, and, sure enough, this appeared to be literal as the maiden slowly began to glow a bright red.

"Oh you're in trouble now" the dwarf said, "As soon as Ma-Taya is charged up, you'll be charging down the road in sheer terror of what she can do"

"My patience doesn't take as long to run out as it takes your friend to power up" Shredder said, squeezing the trigger on his gun, "One shot from this, and both of you will be snared in energy shackles that no one has been able to escape from"

Shredder's finger began to press down on the trigger, Rocksteady tapped him on the shoulder, trying to get his attention. Shredder ignored him.
The dwarf closed his eyes, the maiden, Ma-Taya, continued to charge up her energies, bright bubbles of light began forming in the lake behind them, rising up and circling over the two above.

The test of wits proved tense, as Shredder felt he was firmly in control of the situation. With one squeeze, he could bring a disenchantment to this magic before it had a chance to envelop him. All it took was one reflex, one finger, and one shot.

In a matter of moments however, one shot at the dice was indeed fired, but not from Shredder. Indeed he soon found himself without the gun, as he found it embedded in a tree with a metal sai stuck to it, holding it there. A sai that had been thrown just at the crucial second Shredder was to have fired.

Shredder finally turned around to find Raphael standing before him, twirling his other sai.

"It isn't nice to threaten a dame Shredder" Raphael said, "Especially ones that are just boiling mad at you"

"Raphael? Is that you?" said the toad, confusing Shredder and his mutants further.

"Tobra? What are you doing here?" Raphael said, as baffled as the others, though for different reasons.

"Did I miss an episode of this show or something?" Bebop asked Rocksteady, "None of this feels familiar...yet somehow does"

"I know, I feel like I ought to remember that toad midget" Rocksteady replied.

"Something is gnawing away at me, a meaning, a place, a secret that was once known to me, I must have my answers" Shredder said, pointing at the maiden, "take her now, before she gets too hot to handle"

"Stay away from her Shredder" Raphael said, taking a step forward.

"Or you'll do what? Tell us another story and give us more than enough time to take what we want?" Shredder taunted.

"Oh I think anything I say pales in comparison to the story you'll be struggling to tell Krang" Raphael snapped back, and pointed to the maiden , her energy levels were now at their peak. The bubbles above her and Tobra headed towards the treacherous trio, and slotted neatly atop their heads
"What's happening?" Shredder said, as mysterious gasses began to emit from the bubbles, slowly draining him of his liveliness. He had just enough energy to ponder just what he was doing there, and why he couldn't remember the last few minutes, before dozing off. Rocksteady and Bebop shared similar fates, and also nodded off upon inhaling the gas from the bubbles.

The three slowly began to rise up in the air, the maiden controlling their loose hold on gravity with her hands, her jewel-encrusted eyes shimmered brightly, as she pointed towards the sky and swung her arms forward, in doing so, she, without even touching them, sent Shredder, Rocksteady, and Bebop far into the distance, until they became specs of light hanging in the sky, before their twinkling forms faded from view.

"What did she do to them?" Raphael asked

"Just gave them some space" Tobras replied, "They should be half-way to the moon as I finish this sentence, right where they wanted to take us"

"Fancy throwing, almost as brutal as that battering ram me and the Turtles saved Master Splinter from that one time Shredder came back and had Baxter build this huge ratcatcher that..." Raphael started, but stopped himself, "Sorry, don't want to bore you with that, you're known to like a little comedy right? Well have I got a joke that'll knock you dead, like that time..."
The maiden however, was not too keen on hearing the quips, she began to panic, and dived back into the shining lake

"What did I say?" Raphael asked. Tobras patted him on the leg.

"Don't mind Ma-Taya" he said, "She's never been very good at going against the code of the kingdom, aka "don't cross people of this planet" or even "whatever you do, don't tell, or listen to, a joke", I persuaded her to join in on the fun I was having here because I didn't like the look of the last person I cut a deal with...all brains, no brawn, a bit cranky too, indicative of old age, I like my customers young and dumb"

"Customers? What do you mean?" Raphael asked, before realising something, "You're the one who sold that recipe to that Baker Dallas didn't you?"

"Hey, I liked the look of his quarter" Tobras admitted.

"You know your kingdom's intellect-heightening herbs aren't to be used out in the real world, that's what Shredder wanted the last time remember?"
Raphael snapped, "What were you thinking trying to play some kind of market up here?"

"I'm just trying to help my Landlady and her family out" Tobras revealed

"Your landlady?" Raphael asked

"Yeah, landlady Bliss RainStocking, she came up with the whole idea, we increase the intellect of the upper world, she and her sisters get enough money to hold off the tax collectors" he said, before freezing up and cutting himself off, "Hey, what am I doing telling you all this?" he swiftly snapped, You're not supposed to remember anything about me, and I know, where I come from, everyone wants to forget you and your comedy"

Tobras spat on both of his hands and rubbed them together, they began to radiate in much the same way as Ma-Taya had earlier. "Time to send you somewhere...not to the moon mind, just to dreamland, where you can forget all your current troubles"

"Wait, I need your help" Raphael said, backing away from the dwarf as he lunged towards him, "Two of my bros got zapped by some gizmo Shredder used, a gizmo that I think had your world's fingerprints all over it"

"How do you figure" Tobras asked

"Because you said you met a brain thing earlier, that'll be Krang" Raphael answered, "A big brain, and a major big bad up here, he's always poking his head up into our ninth cloud"

"Gee, I didn't think he was all that bad...he knew all about this wonderful ongoing thing called "soap operas", we talked for ages about it...oh Raph, I didn't mean any trouble, I just needed the copper so bad" Tobras said, clapping his hands together and expelling the magic that was pouring out of it.

"Yeah well, you should have thought about that before you started playing Slime Shady" Raphael snapped , "Gee, you're more irritating than Mr. Ogg, that other-dimensional imp from Dimension X Krang manipulated, we had a real handful with him. Come to think of it, the fact you'll risk everyone's health up here for Copper is as bad as his desire for porcelain"

"There's someone out there who likes the lure of porcelain?" Tobras asked, clasping his hands together excitedly, "Wow, that's a real upper class delicacy, you've got tell me all about him, tell me of your adventures, stories are the kingdom's new bread and butter these days, stirs up way more interest than corny drab jokes. Bliss can even entertain the king with them and gain some leverage as a storyteller, we need not fear the taxpayers again with such royal favor.

"Look, I've got no time to share tales from the war up stairs ok? I need you to help my brothers out, weave whatever magic you've got, or give me something to take back with me that can restore them to normal, 'cause this whole situation is way too heavy to suddenly get all light"

"Anything to help out the guys who saved our bacon from tin grin" Tobras replied, "but you've got to make up for those awful puns you cracked at the palace, they won't let you back in, but what I can let in is all the stories you can tell me. I promise if you do this, we'll never do what we're doing up here again. We'll keep the King entertained for a whole age, and he need never even know they're about you, we'll "adapt" the stories and change things up to exclude you and the others. Give me all you've got. One after the other. In order. What do you say?"

"That's gonna take just about*every*day let alone one" Raphael said, alarmed
"No need to fear" Tobras said, producing a small diamond from his pocket and activating it. Everything around Raphael slowly began moving in slow-motion, the birds, the sun, the traffic in the distance, the fish in the lake, everything moving at a pace slower than even the average non-mutant Turtle.

"You have your wish" said Tobras, "This diamond operates on our world's linear frequency, while everything will proceed as normal for the outside world, time cannot penetrate this stasis field. You've only got the rest of your life"

Raphael took a deep breath, crouched down, got himself comfortable, and, off the top of his head, began to paint a vivid picture of the Turtles' biography with a passion and dependence on memory like no other. As if his life depended on it. Or more precisely, the lives of two.

At the lair, Michelangelo was having a difficult time operating C.I.T.Y. April leaned over to him, giving him a much needed back rub. "You ironing out the kinks in this thing?" she asked. Michelangelo shook his head

"I don't even know why the first few letters on the keyboard are "QWERTY" and not "ABCDEF" he replied, "Raph really didn't dumb the details down for me to handle"

"Cut that out, you're far from dumb" April said. Michelangelo let out a heavy sigh. He wish he could believe her, and better yet, believe in himself.

"Where did Raph go anyway?" April asked.

"He just said that he was going to find something to give Don and Leo level heads again" Michelangelo replied.

Behind him, Leonardo was prodding his fingers into Donatello's arm, Donatello himself was shaking a little, feeling insecure as he lay shackled to the chair linked to the primary probing mechanism of C.I.T.Y. April ran up and pulled Leonardo away, causing him to break down in tears.

"Oh I wish I could put these two to bed already" April said as she rocked Leonardo back and forth, trying to calm his nerves, "This is reminding me of the time three of them were turned to real kids"

"You picking up Raph's gimmick right now?" Michelangelo joked. April laughed.

When she was sure Leonardo was calm, April walked over to a stack of printed papers lying on the side of the table

"I see you laid out your manuscript for me to look at" she said, skimming through the pages. Michelangelo nodded. "I just hope I've worked out all the bugs from the beta read" he said.

April kneeled down and patted the floor with her hand, "Well come on over here and we'll iron out the rest of*these*kinks".

Michelangelo sat down beside her, April dipped into her right pocket and produced a pair of reading glasses, she put them on her face. Michelangelo took note of this.

"Bookworm" he said.

April let out a tut, took the glasses off, and popped them on Michelangelo.

"There, maybe now you'll see your typos better" she joked. Michelangelo playfully shoved her and the two settled down and began reading from the printed pages.

"You made a mistake there Mike, "bond", should be "bound" April said. Michelangelo continued, unabated, as he realized Leonardo was starting to pay attention to them.

"You also missed out a quote mark here" April continued, but the Turtle paid her no heed, he was starting to make a breakthrough. April eventually stopped and took the time to process what was happening. Leonardo began reacting to certain words, typos, poor grammar, incomplete sentences, almost willing to try and correct Michelangelo alongside her, but unable to properly articulate himself.

"This is amazing" she said, "It's like your writing is so bad that it's offending even the most basic mindset, their mental gears are working"

Michelangelo rushed over to C.I.T.Y and found the virtual landscape was changing, concepts and pictures were trying harder than ever to match up in the virtual buildings, specifically the memories dealing with connecting wording and sentence structure.

Michelangelo kept reading the story as he stood up and walked back over the computer, taking the time to read the instructions this time with a keener mind. He felt he was on to something.

"Got any more bright ideas?" April said, half-jokingly, half -optimistically.
Michelangelo took a gander at the leftover piece of cake left by Raphael, its contents still ripe with the intelligence-enhancing ingredient

"I might need to be a brighter guy for this" he said, grabbing the cake, "But once I crack this computer, I'm going to redecorate a whole C.I.T.Y"
Beaming with confidence, Michelangelo took an aggressively charged bite.



In the Technodrome, Krang was wondering just how long it would take for Shredder to cool down. He continued to wave a fan in his ally's face, trying to halt the breakout of heated sweat that was running down his forehead. The bubbles around him and his mutants had long burst, but they had been like wearing greenhouses, the gas that emitted from them having generated their own unique kind of heat pattern.

Krang had found the three floating in space in proximity of the moon, and had arranged transportation for them back to base before their bubbles ceased to be while they were out there.

"Oh, that's hit the spot Krang, thank you, just wave that thing a little harder" Shredder said as Krang continued to waft the fan.

"I hate being the one to burst your bubbles" Krang said.
"Oh give me a rest Krang, if I could figure out how I got this way, I'd be bursting out at the fools who tried their hand at making a fool out of me"

"Are you sure nothing is ringing a bell?" Krang said.

The only bell Shredder could hear was the one attached to the door.
"Will you get that already?" Shredder ordered. Krang sighed, handed Shredder the fan, and opened the door.

Rocksteady and Bebop both emerged, holding a small bag, Rocksteady dipped into the bag and produced a treat.

"Hey boss, have a bit of carrot cake, I got it from the bakers" Rocksteady suggested. Shredder swatted the cake out of his hench-mutant's hand.
"The only sweet thing I desire from the point forward is revenge on those blasted Turtles" Shredder bellowed.



Raphael wandered through the sewers, lost in thought...or just lost in general. The last few minutes had felt like hours to him, his mouth was dry, he was exasperated, he felt burned out, and yet somehow, as he looked at the small elixir in his hand, he felt the effort had been all worth it.

He only wished he could fully remember what had happened.

A few things came to mind... and his mind raced to find the meanings in the memories, but it was a race ill-suited for a Turtle as slow in the mind as he presently was. So much of what he remembered, the memories kept in place by C.I.T.Y, had become distant to him again, like something had tucked them neatly away at the back of his head, and he somehow felt it was a reward for some momentous task he had just undertaken. A big part of him welcomed that.

All he knew now was he had a mission to complete, and that somehow, he was just about to get it done.

He made his way back to the lair, where, to his surprise, he found Leonardo and Donatello were up and about, scribbling down on pieces of paper. Raphael leaned over and saw crude images of Ace Duck and his friends exchanging comic strip dialogue. Some of the words were misspelt, but on some paper, the words had been crossed out and replaced with the corrected versions by what appeared to be April's handwriting, the other Turtles taking notes from the corrected wording and copying it into their second and third attempts at the drawings.

"Hey, we got ourselves some real wordsmiths here" Raphael remarked.

"Mikey downloaded all of his stories onto the C.I.T.Y device and projected them into Leo and Donatello, they've been having a great time acting them all out and doodling up images inspired by them, it really got their minds to matter again" April said.

"I hope that means no attempts at dinosaur droppings on their end" Raphael added.

"Not to worry bro, I kept it clean and simple" Michelangelo proudly stated.

April kissed him on the cheek, "I'm so proud of you Mike" she said, "You learned you can write a wholesome story, and you found your level"
"Raphael, you are back earlier than expected" Splinter said, "Your journey was not long?"

"I guess so...must have been a pretty fast order, like going to get a prescription at the clinic" Raphael said, producing the elixir, "I don't remember much, but I somehow know this is meant for the guys"

Splinter took the elixir from Raphael, "It is as expected that you would not remember, the world you have glimpsed is not open to many eyes for long, and when they are, they must be firmly closed to it"

"Somehow instinct is telling me not to ask you much about this, you're probably sworn to some secret club vow not to divulge anything anyway" Raphael said

Splinter beckoned April over, "When I have given this to the other Turtles, please trace the police officer struck down by Shredder earlier and give him the remainder so he too can return to normal" he instructed. April nodded.

Splinter opened the elixir and walked over to Donatello, pouring some of the contents into his mouth.

Leonardo tugged at Splinter's kimono, silently making it known he wanted some of the same. Splinter obliged. It did not take long for the effects of the elixir to take effect, and soon Donatello and Leonardo were themselves again.

"Oh that's a relief, every cognitive faculty is coming back to me, I don't have to keep trying to correct Mikey's woeful spelling again" Donatello said
"Yeah, but the drawback is we'll be stuck remembering his stories for a whole lifetime, probably more so than any of our memories" Leonardo replied

"A story, however short, or flawed, always carries a message and a meaning to it my students" Splinter said, "I look forward to the many days of meditation you will spend deciphering said meanings"

"Splinter's right, it's not about what we can remember, but what new tricks we learn that define our journey. Looking back is good, but the past is just a place we've been to, the future is what always needs a map"



"Which is precisely why we should always look to all future attractions as they become available" Raphael said, leaping onto the sofa, and switching the television on, before skimming through a tv guide magazine, looking up upcoming episodes of*Slate Slabrock,*as the rest of the Turtles, April, and Splinter laughed.

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 22nd, 2018 at 09:10 AM.
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Old February 9th, 2018, 05:58 AM #7
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THE LOTUS AND THE SUN

Leonardo leaned back on the sofa in the main living area of his cosy sewer lair beneath Manhattan. He was getting his head around a good book and had just reached chapter five when action not restricted to the printed page demanded his attention. A small explosion could be heard from the vicinity of Donatello's laboratory. Leonardo sighed, shut the book, making sure to book-mark it first, and walked over to the source of the disruption.

Sure enough, inside the lab, Raphael and Donatello were squabbling over the latest mishap to occur with the inventive Turtle's unpredictable machines. "What happened Donny? I thought this would be deep fried, not deep sixed" Raphael said, looking at a piece of what appeared to be charcoaled pizza.

"I don't get it" Donatello said, scratching his head at the massive dent in his new high-tech deep frying device, "I set the temperature at 5.0, and the time for thirty seconds, why did it go to temperature fifty?".

He checked the numbers that made up the timer on the right side of the device and suddenly pinpointed his mistake, "Oh no", he said, "I forgot to add the decimal point when adding in the programme".

Raphael looked at the lamp hanging above, clenching his teeth and closing his eyes tightly so as to contain whatever scream of woe and frustration he could muster.

"Can't you guys cook up trouble somewhere else?" Leonardo said, pointing to his book."I'm trying to do some heavy duty reading here".

Raphael, interested, snatched the book from Leonardo, he read the title: "Lone Pup and Cubby" by Phillip Harris Wolfhammer. "A children's book? Come on Leo, you weren't even reading these when you WERE a kid" Raphael said.

Leonardo took the book back. "Master Splinter taught us to see the good in everything Raph, besides, the book was written by a world renowned psychic, so I like cherry-picking all the stuff that could come true in the world...everything is connected in life in some way, so what better way to pinpoint all the dots than in a work of fiction, where noone can judge you too harshly for pointing out the connections in a world which believes more in coincidence than destiny"

"Someone get him off Cloud Atlas let alone Cloud 9" Raphael remarked. Leonardo opened the pages of the book, and proceeded to read out a passage from page 32, "It was a real dilemma, dinner, the dog thought, as his master realised he had burnt his choice of meal again. He knew the man would probably go out for take-away again, even in light of the danger that was ever present, one person's urge to satisfy his basic stomach urges took greater priority over one's concerns for long-term health"

"Ok, ok, I was thinking of going out for take-away" Raphael said, "But that doesn't mean I'm doing it because some book points out a common cliché in life whenever something goes wrong with dinner plans". He walked out of the lab and headed for his room to take out a trench-coat, intending to go out and get some food. Leonardo twirled around, opening the book at the page he was on and deciding to pester Donatello with it while the Turtle tried working out the problems with the timer on his deep fryer.

"Oh you really should give this book a try Don, it's about inventiveness, loyalty, skill, and proves you don't have to be with a group to fend off overwhelming odds" Leonardo boasted.

Donatello nodded lightly, barely interested, as he punched in a few buttons on the fryer's control panel. Leonardo detected the disinterest and opted to read another passage from the book, one that would push his brothers' buttons ever so slightly.

"As Cubby sat on the porch trying to form a pattern to his problem, a thought occurred to him. he had depended too much on the reliance of numbers and not his own personal instinct. In this instance, he concluded, set timing wasn't necessarily everything"

Donatello's eyes lit up, as if a bulb had just shone brightly above his head. "You're right Leo, I should have been more diligent, and judged which moment was ideal to take the pizza out of the fryer, Master Splinter's always telling us to go with our natural sense of time, I've forgotten that over the years". Leonardo bowed,. "You're very welcome Don" he said.

"Say, can I get a loan of that book after you've finished with it?" Donatello asked. Leonardo declined.

"I promised Mikey I'd give him a skim of it when I was done, it might help influence his creative juices" he said, in reference to Michelangelo's recent turn to creative writing.

"Where is Michelangelo anyway?" Donatello asked, lifting up the burnt Pizza and depositing it in the thrash can. "It's not like him to be A.W.O.L when Pizza's on the horizon".

"You remember that mother Turtle we rescued a few years ago? April caught sight of it down at the beach, Mikey was pretty attached to it so he's went down there with her to get a good glimpse of it".

Leonardo said, suddenly getting a notion to flick through the early pages seeing if there was a passage in there that referenced to someone's similar longing for nostalgia, thinking it synced up perfectly with Michelangelo's ideas.

Finally, Raphael re-emerged from his room, dressed for an average night through the town on the hunt for a piping hot snack. "Right, anyone want anything with a pizza fried by professionals as well as some Chinese?" he said, taking a dig at Donatello.

"I might get something later when I go out" Leonardo said. Raphael was baffled, "How do you reckon?" Raphael said. Leonardo turned to page 42 of the book and began quoting, much to Raphael's annoyance.

"Late was the hour where the lone warrior and his charges went out into the night at a brisk pace, eager for life and adventure, unaware that they were in for the wildest of rides..."

"Oh I'll give you a wild ride. Us in a taxi at traffic after midnight" Raphael said, and, putting his hat on, walked out of the lair, grumbling loudly.

Leonardo looked a little concerned, "What's eating away at him? I thought he'd eat up something like life having precise moments of destiny"

"He's a bit of a realist Leonardo, he's just used to making light remarks at the sheer spontaneous aspects of life, if everything was predetermined, he wouldn't find nearly half of it fun" Donatello explained, Leonardo wasn't keen on listening to this.

"That may be the opinion of a cynic Donny, but I for one am too much in love with the notion of everything somehow making sense in the world" he said, and went back to reading the book.

Col. Sam Harkens looked out at the stars from the observation window of the space shuttle Morse, and then swiftly turned his attention back to what he was reading in his book, he was satisfied more with exploring inner space rather than outer.

As the shuttle flew past the orbiting space station Bird 5, and towards the general area of the brightly lit sun, Harken's fellow astronauts, Lester and Donner, couldn't contain their excitement. Many of the crew were new to deep space exploration, and the tantalising challenge offered to them on this particular mission felt like something out of a James Bond movie.

"It's a mission made for headlines" said the lanky Lester as he looked out of his window at the beaming star, "How cool is the sun?".

He rubbed his hands in anticipation of the investigation ahead, "In all my days basking under that thing on the cosy and toasty California beachfront, I ain't never seen or felt it in such a tepid state as it's been since...that one time it shrank in the 90s".

"Yeah, that was one peculiar time, we did all sorts of observations on it that year to see if it would do that again, and it seemed to be once in a lifetime. We sure missed our shot at making a real break-through there" said Donner, who was writing up notes on a small pad comprised of mathematical equations and crude illustrations of the solar curiosity just ahead of them.

"I heard a lot of stories though, like how it wasn't really any fault of the star, but the work of evil aliens from another dimension with some kind of weather-altering device, the usual cranky conspiracy malarkey"

"Hey, don't be knocking stories in front of Harkens, his head is always into them, even when we're up here making real human interest stories come to life" Lester replied, and elbowed Harkens to get his attention "Ain't that right pal?"

Harkens smiled, and kept skimming through the pages of his book. Lester's curiosity soon overwhelmed him and he took a peek at the pages. He began to burst into fits of laughter.

"Hey, Donner, check it out, Harkens has his nose in a kids fable".

"Hey, it's relevant to the subject at hand, my kid gave it to me when he heard I was going up to check on the thing" Harkens said, defending his interest in the basic tale, "Besides, it's from the pen of the current talk of the town, P.H Wolfhammer"

"That snake-oil "psychic?" I thought you were of rational thought Harkens, you're the last person I'd expect to buy into that "we're all connected" beeswax" Donner replied. Harkens laughed. "Hey, anything that gets a kid to think a little outside the box doesn't deserve to be kept in one in society circles" he said.

"Go on then, tell us what it's about then" Lester said, "It'll take another few hours to get close to the thing, I'd love to hear how this book synchs up with our situation"

"It's called "Who Sings The Sun To Sleep?" revealed Harkens, "It's about a tradition going back thousands of years, back when the tribal worship of sun gods were at their peak. Back then, before they became mere fable, such gods actually existed and would, in periods where they would test those that worshipped them, they would turn off the sun's heat, and charge one of the tribe's people with a disc engraved with the shape of the sun, and tell them to seek out the first newborn child of the summer cycle, then, when they had found him or her, to place the dial on their chests. It would be then that the gods could tell that the months ahead would be bright, optimistic, and radiant in energy, and thus give the sun purpose and strength, they let it shine brighter than it had ever been before, thus beginning the endless summers of old. They say that, one day, just to prove they exist again, the gods will bestow upon us another endless summer, and that the task will fall to a modern day warrior who must seek out the first new child of the cycle, and bestow upon them the solar disc to bring about the sacred days"

Lester shook his head, refusing to take any of this on board. "Just another load of fairy tale child encouragement with no basis in reality" he said, "It's just about summer now, you seriously think something like that is going to happen?"

"Hey, never rule out premonition is all I'm saying, we've seen some pretty weird things in our lifetime...that would include aliens from other dimensions Donner" Harkens continued, punching holes in Donner's earlier dismissal of alien involvement in the last mishap with the sun.

"Bah, it was some mind-altering effect in the water that made us think there was any of that going on" Donner said, dismissively, "I tell you our government want to control the way we drink, the way we eat, the way we sleep, the only thing that's going to save us is out there in the stars, that's the only reason I even tolerate this job, that one day, aliens are going to come knocking at a door such as ours and we'll be..."

He was suddenly startled as such a knock was heard. "What was that?" Lester said. Harkens put down his book and walked over to the window. His face turned white. "Donner...I think your wish just came true" he said, as he spotted no less than three vessels orbiting the shuttle. Metallic grey shafts with giant mole-like diggers attached to their fronts, and with guns at the top and sides charged and ready to fire at leisure. The hatches of the ships opened and from them emerged odd looking hooded figures in purple outfits, they soon began to encircle the ship in their vast numbers.

Donner put down his notepad and remained perfectly still, not knowing how to react as the knock occurred again. Lester casually crept up to the door as another knock came from the door.

"Knock knock" came a raspy voice from the other end. Lester looked back at his friends, Donner nodded his head, silently urging Lester to reply. Lester did so, "Who's there?" he said

"Rock" said the voice. Suddenly, the shuttle began swaying from side to side, first gently, then violently, knocking the astronauts around inside. Harkens struggled to stare out of the window, eventually succeeding, and got a first hand view of events.

"Those things are throwing the ship around with their bare hands" he said, "remarkable"

"Rock who?" Lester yelled, somehow attempting to complete the joke, anything to take his mind off the real danger and he and his friends were in.

"Steady" the voice concluded, and, upon hearing the command, the mysterious beings ceased to shake the ship.

"You think this is some kind of joke? You're sick" Lester angrily yelled.

"Oh yeah? Well let's see just how sick it makes you" the voice replied, and let out another cry of "rock", which set off the figures outside, and they again took to throwing the shuttle from left to right, throwing the crew inside across all corners. Eventually, one of them was knocked into the controls by the fierce vibrations, and inadvertently switched off the gravity in the process.

Electing to observe the helpless trio from the windows were strange abominations in space suits, one looked like a half-human rhinoceros, the other a half human warthog. Collectively they were known to each other and by those who put up with them as Rocksteady and Bebop. Both were taking great delight in the present ills of the three.

"Hey look we got a couple of real floaters" Bebop observed, Rocksteady, the source of the command to "rock" the ship, laughed along with him. "Yeah" he said, "I don't think they fully understand the gravity of their situation"

"We'd better contact the boss" Bebop said, and produced a communicator from his pocket, Rocksteady hastily grabbed the device and activated it. It wasn't long before he could hear and see his master, a figure known by two names, but the one he preferred to be addressed by was "Shredder"

"Well? Can we expect to continue with our project in peace?" said Shredder. Rocksteady nodded, "These three will make perfect hostages for ya Shredder, those NASA nerds nearby won't lift a finger to stop us knowing they'll be risking these three"

"Good, Krang and I are just about to board the Sun-Sealer in another hour, dock at the station and await further instructions, and for all our sakes, don't get too curious and touch anything there" said Shredder, his features vanishing from the communicator screen as he ended transmission.

"Steady there fellas" Rocksteady commanded to the Foot Soldiers giving the helpless shuttle a shake-up, "We'll be hauling this baby the rest of the way"

The Foot Soldiers obeyed and retreated back to their modules, whilst Rocksteady and Bebop returned to their own. Once inside, they activated the controls on the ships. From the modules shot out several cables with suction cups attached to them, they quickly latched onto the hull of the shuttle, the modules turned around and their engines came to life, they began to rocket towards the vicinity of the sun, with the shuttle in tow.

Making his way over to the observation window, Harkens looked on in amazement as the modules approached their destination. It wasn't the fact the sun was barely making him crack a sweat, it wasn't the notion that one of the most powerful sources of heat known to man was presently tepid, that was what they were there to investigate after all, no, it was something far more outlandish, and yet so real. Encircling the sun was a large orbiting technological space ring.

Harkens looked back at his children's book, and, in the back of his mind, hoped beyond hope that wherever the sun gods were today, they would take action before the fall of every tomorrow.
April O'Neil breathed in the cool wisps of air that coated the calm night sky as she and Michelangelo walked along the beach. It wasn't the most serene mesh of water and sand they had seen in all their days on Earth, various odd bits and bobs had been washed-up on shore such as inflatable tyres and planks of half splintered wood, left lying around by neglect of the coast guards and clean-up crews.

The pollution content of the water was also appalling as tipped over barrels spilled out litres of oil into the now-blackened waters. April had a good mind to stop what she and Michelangelo were doing right now just to cover all of this for Channel Six, but realised such an act of eco-awareness had been tried too many times before with the same tiresome results...that nobody of any importance cared enough to do anything about it.

The few that did care were always left with concern and diminished hope, and at this moment she felt like Michelangelo was teetering on the verge of that. She put her arm around him and clutched him close to her, "Hey, chin up Mike, you'll find her" she said, referring to the mother Turtle the two of them had tracked to the beach.

"I hope so Dudette, I don't know why Turtles ever pick these spots, I'm not exactly a role model for kids with the kind of crib I spend every day in" Michelangelo said, lamenting on his own dank and unhealthy abode in the sewers."But then, it's not like we have a choice, it's a bum deal below, or it's as lab rats above, no offense to Master Splinter of course".

April smiled.

"Hey, living in the trenches is something we humans tend to do at the worst of times too, be it in wars, bouts with homelessness, you name it, and you know what? Some are more than content with what they have, it may not be the most socially accepted form of living, but it's still a lifestyle lived and it doesn't take away from who they are as people, just as it doesn't take away the fact you're a kind-hearted, courageous little party animal who'd do anything for his friends" she said, putting her middle finger delicately on Michelangelo's nose, tickling it a little.

"I can't imagine you wanting to live somewhere like our lairs or a trench forever though babe" Michelangelo replied, April shrugged her shoulders, "Depends on who I have to spend forever with" she said.

The two carried on with their long trek across the beach, Michelangelo constantly on the look out for their target. Finally, just up ahead of him, he caught sight of something. His heart began to race. He grabbed April's hand and dragged her along with him as he dashed across the stretch of the beach towards what he could see. "There she is, there she is" he cried out as the mother Turtle he met so long ago came into view, sitting comfortably on a large bed of sand, kicking it's long arms backwards, digging into the coarse layers, attempting to cover her latest batch of eggs.

Michelangelo dropped to his knees and started petting the Turtle and making small cooing noises. "Are you absolutely certain it's her Mike?" April said. Michelangelo took out a small homing device from his pocket and looked at it, it matched the location the Turtle was presently in. "Hundred percent babe", he said, "Donny really came through attaching this to her before we set her on her way"

April smiled, happy for Michelangelo as he basked in the tenderness of the reunion. She started casting her mind back to another time where she had been as sentimental, and the memories that came flooding to her caused her to choke up just a little, she wiped a small tear from her face. Michelangelo spotted this and stood up. "Hey, what's with the waterworks?" he asked. April shook her head.

"Oh, nothing" she said, kneeling down to pet the mother Turtle herself.

"Definitely something" Michelangelo replied, observing her body language, "Open up"

"Just thinking back to that time the three of you guys were turned to kids is all" she said, "So much fun and mischief written in their faces and actions, and me, Irma and you having to play mother, father and Auntie all to keep them out of trouble. I hated it back then, but looking back, I really couldn't be prouder of the work we put into that. I guess seeing you with this beautiful creature right now is reminding me of what I don't really have...motherhood"

"Wow, I thought you were all about the work babe" Michelangelo responded.

April nodded, "So did I" she said, "But somewhere in the back of my mind I think "we...I, made a pretty good parent back then", if only..."

A sharp cry made them both turn, cutting April off before she could finish. Michelangelo looked ahead and saw what appeared to be some sort of skirmish. "Wait here" he said. April, however, proved as stubborn as usual, "Not if there's a story up ahead" she said, and pulled out her mobile camera phone to record the action. Michelangelo ran up to the source of the skirmish to see a masked female figure decked out in a grey Ninja outfit engaged in feverish sword play with a gang of up to five other masked characters in scarlet and black costumes, with penetrating yellowish eyes.

They each took turns at their quarry, who continued to defend herself.

She seemed to be able to sense attempts at ganging up on her, as one crept up behind her whilst her blades were clashing with the steel of another. She closed her eyes, taking a moment to take in the atmosphere, before just as quickly springing the eyes open and delivering a fierce side-kick to the temple of her would-be attacker, knocking him to the ground, before she twirled around and resumed her duel.

The remaining two took out their own blades, the third figure also getting up and taking out his own weapon, they surrounded the Ninja, waiting for her to be overwhelmed by the test of strength she was currently in with her opponent as their blades collided with one another, if she were to be pushed back in the struggle now, she would be at the swift and merciless control of her foes.

One of them attempted to tip the balance in his friend's favour and pulled at the woman's mask as she was pushed back a little, trying to make her lose balance. Instead, the mask came away and revealed the features of a beautiful, but war-weary Asian with flowing, luxurious black hair.

She turned around and swatted her attacker with the end of her right elbow, but this gave her primary foe with an opportunity to cut her down, he prepared to let out a precision strike against the ninja when he felt something grab hold of his arm. He turned around and was met by a jab to the eyes as Michelangelo crashed the scene.

"I know that wasn't very polite of me, but I couldn't help but point out my objections to where you could see them" he joked, and raised his right leg, bringing up into the would-be assailant's chin, he then tossed the semi-conscious body aside and joined the Ninja, whom he instantly recognized.

"Lotus Blossom?" he said, identifying the alluring, feisty, and combative ninja mercenary and occasional ally of the Turtles, "What are you doing in these neck of the urban woods again?"

"I could easily ask the same of you" Lotus said, as she and Michelangelo stood back to back against the five warriors.

"I was kinda paying an elderly woman a visit, but enough about that, let's make whoever's hassling you old news" Michelangelo said. Lotus nodded, and the two separated, taking on their foes with swift and decisive action and expertly skilled reflexes.

Michelangelo's knife-edged chops connected with an assailant's chest, he then brought his elbow down on their neck before standing on top of his head, digging it deep into the sand, the Turtle walked all over the rest of his body, as he did so, another of the warriors ran towards him, Michelangelo dropped down, scooped up the warrior with his feet, landed on his shell and tossed the foe high into the air. He then took out his grappling hook and fired it, the rope latched around the falling foe's legs.

"Been a while since I gave this a spin, might as well give you a free ride too" he said, and swung the warrior around as much as he could, catapulting him into the warriors, Lotus couldn't help but admire the ingenuity. Soon all of her pursuers had been knocked six ways to Sunday through the inadvertent help of one of their own. Satisfied with the result, Michelangelo let go of the grappling hook, allowing the poor warrior still attached to it to fall right into the murky, polluted water below.

Michelangelo brisk fully walked all over the body of the previously felled warrior again, dusting his hands. April ran up to the two, "I got it all here, that was some fancy throwing Mike" she said. Michelangelo smiled.

"Thanks" he replied, he turned to Lotus.

"That's some down, any more to go?" he asked.

Lotus nodded, "In time, there will be others, I must complete my mission before that can happen"

"What mission? We could lend you a hand, or a fist if there's more trouble brewing" Michelangelo said.

Lotus smiled, "Perhaps you can help, but I wouldn't want you or others endangered"

"Danger's a party we've always got an invite for" Michelangelo assured her, "Come back to the lair and you can explain the whole thing"

"It is a long story" Lotus said, before taking April's camera phone and crushing it with a tight clench of her hand, "And one not meant to be seen or understood by the world at large"

"Great" April said in a salty tone, "I always hate it when the public have a say in making cuts to the news"

Upon docking the captive space shuttle Morse at the Sun-Sealer space ring, Rocksteady and Bebop set about forcing themselves into the craft. Using a torch they were able to cut open a small hole in the hull and step forward into it. Lester tried to attack them while they were holding Donner and Harkens are gunpoint, but Bebop swiftly caught sight of him and grabbed him by the throat, eventually slinging him over his shoulder and into the two helpless astronauts. "Alright, no more surprises" Rocksteady bellowed as the Foot Soldiers entered the craft to take the trio prisoner, "One more shot at taking us on and we'll be giving you a shot straight into the hot centre of this here bun"

As the three were being led away by the Foot Soldiers, Rocksteady caught sight of Harkens' book, he decided to take a gander at it. Harkens spotted what he was doing and tried to stop him.

The notion of his cold-hearted fowl tempered captor picking up his son's possessions was too much for Harkens on an emotional level. Donner and Lester had to restrain him.

"Aw, what's the matter? Afraid I'll doodle some moustaches on all yer little characters?" Rocksteady taunted."Sorry, but in this class, I'm the one that says "sit in the corner", take them to the cells" he instructed to the Foot Soldiers. They obeyed, Rocksteady continued to flick through the pages.

"Say, this is mighty strange" he said, "It's like a fairy tale account of stuff we're doing, all this stuff about the sun being cool and all"

"Yeah, but that's because the boss fired that weird sun storage gadget into the heart of the thing and it's absorbing all the heat" Bebop replied. "We'd better tell the boss the prisoners are secure"

"Heh, they're "Prisoners of the Sun", I think that's another kids book title...weird isn't it?" Rocksteady said, Bebop wasn't interested, instead opting to contact Shredder, who was still at the Technodrome making preparations to head over to the space ring with Krang in a transport module.

"Prisoners are cooling off in a nice warm cell boss" Bebop said, not sure if what he just uttered made coherent sense as a sentence, but opted to go with the flow.

"Excellent" Shredder replied, "I'm just about to make it very public. Once I've made my request clear, Krang and I will be on our way, in the meantime, sit there and keep to do nothing but monitor the solar storage unit, we can't afford for that to malfunction at any stage, or you'll be all fried to a crisp"

"It's alright boss, we got us a book to keep us company" Rocksteady said, pointing to the book. Shredder glanced at the title, "Who Sings the Sun to Sleep? Well, I always knew you'd find your level of literacy genius one day Rocksteady"

At the Turtles' lair, Lotus had made herself at home, sipping on some soothing herbal tea supplied by Splinter, and surrounded by three of the Turtles, the most inquisitive of which was Leonardo.

"You think the sun is in some kind of danger?" he said, "I know it's not been at it's warmest in recent weeks, but I'm a little confused, what makes this any different than a typical cool summer period?"

"Recently I began to learn a great deal from a sect of wise monks hidden away on the Hawaiian islands" Lotus explained, "They were descendants of the last remaining tribes to embrace and worship the ancient sun gods of centuries old, they believed that a great and bountiful age of summer was coming, but for many years they had no real clue that could pinpoint them to when this would occur, and then, a book was published, "Who Sings the Sun to Sleep?" a fable intended for children, but the monks saw its' publication as an immediate sign of the impending endless age, and began making estimations, tracking down every known woman expecting a child to fall on the day that the age is expected to begin. Finally, they succeeded, tracking the expected arrival to somewhere in this city, and charged me, the youngest and most eager of their students, with the delivery of the latest and most valuable solar disc, and place it on the first child to bring in the days ahead"

"Solar disc?" Donatello asked. Lotus dug deep into her pocket and produced a greyish stone circle, images of the sun carved on it's front, she turned it over to reveal there were numbers and words carved in the stone as well: 12:15, and "Sinai"

"Sinai" Leonardo said, recognising the word. He started to scramble about the lair, looking for something. The Turtles continued to question Lotus.

"So who were those shady dudes that were hounding you?" Michelangelo asked.

"Not all of the monks from the sect believe we deserve such wondrous hospitality from the gods" Lotus revealed, "There are splinter groups who wish nothing more than the age of average to continue, to punish humanity for all our wrongdoings over the centuries, and they will stop at nothing to enforce their pessimistic view, they are attempting to stop me at every turn, they attacked the temple just before the monks could tell me what the strange markings on the disc meant, they urged me to go on while they did all they could to distract the faction, all I was given in terms of information was that the child would be born somewhere in this city"

"Well you should be pretty safe down here" Donatello assured her, Lotus wasn't so sure.

"I'm afraid I cannot take that chance" she said, "Prior to making my way to New York, I was tagged with a mystical aura that enables the splinter group to track my whereabouts, they will only give up the chase when I have completed my task, as it will mean true failure on their part, I must continue with my journey, and that means keeping you out of harm's way"

"I think you may need us on this Lotus" said Leonardo, coming back with a copy of "Lone Pup and Cubby" in his hand, "Tell me something, who was the author that wrote that book you were talking about?" he asked. "P.H Wolfhammer" Lotus replied. Leonardo opened up the book and showed Lotus the list of prior works by the author at the back, included amongst them was "Who Sings the Sun To Sleep?"

"Remarkable" Lotus said, "It cannot be coincidence that you would have a book by the same author"

"Oh sure it could, he's only the most talked about novelist in the land right now" Michelangelo said, "People always gravitate to greatness"

"But the situation is even greater, too great to dismiss as anything but destiny Michelangelo" Leonardo said, "Anyway, the point is, I think the numbers and that word on the disc are connected to things I've found while reading this book, there's a character called "Sinai" in it, and the numbers, well, they might be referring to something also contained in the book"

"Might does not always make right Leonardo" said Splinter, "It is possible that in your eagerness to jump to conclusions, you will inevitably jump into a rabbit hole fit for Alice"

"You said yourself we should look into the meanings in stories Master" Leonardo countered, and grabbed Lotus' hand, "Come on, let's see if we can track down where this kid is and get things toasty again".

As the two made their way out of the lair, Splinter was left wondering just how well his words are sometimes interpreted.

"Leonardo's got a point Master" Donatello said.

"It appears I have provided my student with very dangerous advise" Splinter admitted.

Lotus and Leonardo rushed out of the lair, in the process they met Raphael, who was coming back from his errands uptown. Leonardo quickly waved to him, Lotus did the same, Raphael watched them both go down the tunnel

"I know I went out for a Chinese, but that's really pushing it" he said.

Cab driver Derick Mallory glanced over at the tattered, slightly soaked books nestled on the shelf of the news stall just outside the bar as the damp rain began to pour down on the city, his friend behind the counter, a meek bespectacled woman called Michelle, urging him to take a look at a fresh book she was holding in her hand. Derik did his best to ignore her and try to make a selection based on his own free range of choice.

Of course, it would help far more if Michelle wasn't so keen on spoiling the end of the books he was glancing at in a silly attempt to captivate his attention.

"What about this one?" Derick said, looking at the book "The Blonde Observer". "Don't bother with it" Michelle advised, " it turns out the main character was wrong about the love interest,, he was harassing her for a pen" she said, and threw the book she had in her hand again in his face, "Try this, come on"

"Fat chance" Derick said, and looked up another title, "Back For Good: A play based on the songs of Take That". "Ah, this is right up my street" he said. Michelle, however, remained persistent, taking it out of his hand and skimming it, "It doesn't cover half the stuff they did after Robbie came back, and it's a sad little tale about a tomboy who can't decide whether to stay at her orphanage with the boy she's known since childhood, or go off and see the world with a man rich enough to do so, the usual mushy stuff. Doesn't speak to anyone at all"

"And I suppose you have something that DOES?" Derick said, annoyed, Michelle beamed a smile his way and lifted up the book she was determined to get him to look at.

"Right here" she said. Derick looked at the title and balked as soon as he looked at the author's name: P.H Wolfhammer.

"How can you be so...obvious?" he said, "I mean, why bend in the wind with public consensus?"

"It makes money, so do I, it speaks to me in way not even related to story content" Michelle said in her defence, "Besides, I figured you'd want to rely on something a bit better than star signs"

"Is that what these "enlightened" books are to people? Road maps for what you think will happen in life? Is this how disenfranchised everyone is getting with reality?"

"Reality is always changing around us, letting all sorts of things into it" Michelle replied, "Some people think it's all the work of government mind control, some think it's because whatever's holding up the walls is slowly breaking them down, people just want answers"

"Years ago, they were laughing at people like Wolfhammer and even locking them up, nowadays they fill whole stadiums and universities to capacity with their views and writings, it's a sickening sight, sickening to see them rewarded for their paranoia and lucky guesses, it's a sick reflection of society, everyone wants to feel like they're up above the Gods"

"Boy, you're really starved for customers tonight are'nt you?" Michelle replied, now irritated by Derik choosing to start lecturing from atop his soapbox, "I try to encourage a recommended read, and you go off and recommend we should all bury the truthers' heads in the sand"

"Truthers...please" Derick said, putting the Wolfhammer book back on the shelf and picking up another title, "Birds of the West Indies", "Times like this I need a good James Bond book" he said, giving Michelle two dollars for the book.

"Think you'll get any traffic at this hour?" Michelle said. Derick was doubtful, "These sort of things don't exactly spring up when you want them to"

Suddenly, the manhole next to them slid open and out emerged Leonardo and Lotus Blossom, they both dusted themselves off and made their way to a taxi cab, knocking at the window to get the attention of the driver. Unbeknown to them, the cab belonged to Derick.

"Of course, such things don't tend to be beneath you for long" he said, and walked over to the two to offer his assistance.

At the Turtles' lair, the three of them were watching television, trying to piece together the conundrum surrounding Lotus and her strange mission

"It's so odd to see so many take stock in what it says in a book. I wonder how anyone got anything published in the old days without raising hairs from paranoid cultures?" Donatello asked

"Hey, I'd love nothing better than people believing Jack could grow a beanstalk, do wonders for the farming community" Raphael remarked.

"The key to mastering a great work is to touch upon our most ambitious desires and play with our highest and lowest of expectation. If people are fearful and are of a troubled mind, they will interpret what they read as an overwhelmingly negative experience that will set about a chain of events that in their mind could come true, even if reality does not dictate that" Splinter advised.

Donatello now felt incredibly worried, "I was almost suckered in by that book Leonardo was reading, now that you put it that way, thank goodness I didn't let my stress from earlier dictate my thought process"

"You are of rational reason and do not break so easily Donatello, Leonardo on the other hand is burdened greatly by leadership responsibilities, and often attempts to overachieve so he can prove himself constantly capable of being the one voice that unifies all four of yours.

Splinter continued. "It appears even I must be more careful of where to point him to when all that is put into consideration. We all must learn new lessons my students, that is what makes life the permanent teacher"

On the couch, Michelangelo was switching channels, waiting for the news to start, he noticed April next to him, dismaying at the remains of her camera phone.

"Sorry your phone got thrashed April, I'll pay for another one" he said.

April gave him a faint smile and patted him on the knee, "Don't worry, you've done far worse to real cameras over the years, which you've yet to pay me back for, not that they're ever in your budget range" she joked.

Michelangelo smiled, "Yeah, money can't buy me love from your Channel Six bosses, that's for sure"

The news came on, and the first subject as usual was the recent activities of the sun, which had been greatly diminished in recent weeks. Raphael was less than keen to watch the reports "the news is one big weather forecast these days" he remarked.

The next bit of news, however, caught everyone's eye. "As of just an hour ago, all contact was lost with the space shuttle Morse" announced the reporter, "Its crew had been assigned the task of monitoring the energy read-outs of the sun much closer in proximity to it, but all attempts to reach the shuttle in the past thirty minutes have been met with radio silence. Then, just five minutes before this broadcast, a video message was transmitted from an unknown source to the NASA control centre"

A shadowy figure appeared on the screen next to the reporter, his appearance was cloaked in secrecy, but his voice was unmistakably familiar to the Turtles. "Citizens of the world, my request is a simple one...do not approach the sun. We are in the process of conducting delicate experiments that will somewhat move us into a new age...if you fail to comply, and if you attempt to stop us, grave harm will come to the crew of the space shuttle we have in our possession. We will accept no forms of contact other than with ships supplying rations to our captors. Again, we are accepting delivery of rations ONLY, that is all, good day...or rather bleak day" the figure concluded, followed by a maniacal laugh.

"Shredder" Raphael said, punching his right fist with his left, "Just when I thought we were getting just a little space from that guy, he goes and takes up a LOT of space"

"He's got to be the one behind the sun's weaker output, but how's he managing it?" Donatello said.

"We'd better turn the light back on up there before Shredder blows it out" Michelangelo replied, getting up and heading for the exit of the lair, with April following him, "I'll head over to Channel Six and sweet-talk Burne into letting me cover this story up in orbit" she said

"Wait, we'd better contact Leonardo first and tell him we're heading up there" Donatello said

"I'm afraid Leonardo may not be reached" Splinter said.

"What's his deal?" Raphael asked, annoyed, "There's real danger being posed here, why shouldn't he drop tracking down fairy tale breadcrumbs and help us out where it's needed?"

"Because he left his Turtle-com on the couch" Splinter said, pointing to the device.

"Oh" Raphael said.

Derick couldn't believe his luck. He wasn't even considering charging his two passengers based on one of their reputations. "To think, I've got one of those Teenage Mutant Turtles riding along with me. My kid absolutely adores you guys, even tried joining that fan club thing on Facebook, all without my permission. Rebel tendencies do a father real proud, would do the same thing myself at his age given what an influence you guys are"

Leonardo wasn't paying attention, he had his mind lost in his book, Lotus was staring out of the cab's window, letting her own thoughts take her to other places in the mind. Derik grumbled, a real life celebrity in his care, and he would much rather ignore the praise of the public. "Living up to the stereotype then" he whispered, and turned his attention to the traffic jam just up ahead. A large cargo lorry was stuck in front of him, refusing to budge.

Lotus broke away from her deep thinking to check up on Leonardo's reading. "Anything on Sinai?" she said. Leonardo was skimming through the pages, "Only that she's a woman and she's in about three chapters, not sure if I should read them in order or not, the clues might not be apparent until after her introduction"

"It is wise not to bring stress amongst yourself, as long as the meanings make sense to you, you should trust your basic instincts and go with them" Lotus advised, "I know I will have to"

"Why's that?" Leonardo asked. Lotus took out the disc from her pocket and stared at it.

"Before I embarked on my mission, I was to also be given the name of the child, but as I said earlier, the renegade sect attacked. In the chaos, I was instructed to deliver this disc to the child during the twilight of the day...but only at the break of dawn"

"But that doesn't make ANY sense" Leonardo said, "How can the sun come out in the dead of night?"

"Riddles were never my choice of game even when I was a young warrior" Lotus admitted, "But we are bound by the Hammer of the Wolf, and in that web, we will weave a pattern"

Leonardo nodded and went back to reading. Derick, having overheard, dismayed at the notion he not only had a celebrity, but he also had a fan of the truther novelist he had been taking great issue with as of late.

Now he was seriously starting to think about charging them for the ride just to spite them. Of course, to start a journey, you have to be on your way, and the truck in front of him, was not about to let him do that. Derick peered out of his window and let off his car horn, demanding the truck's driver pick up on it and move. His strategy proved to be a like-minded one, as other cars behind him also joined in.

He felt like he was part of something special today, he even thought this bit of reality would impress his two passengers who were attached to their fantasies.

The door to the truck suddenly sprang open and a featureless character wearing a black mask with striking yellow eyes stepped out. Derik's face sank as he quietly approached the cab, soon joined by another who emerged from the other end of the truck.

Lotus caught sight of them as well and reacted, "It was wise of us to leave your home when we did, my aura has prepared my enemies well"

Derick watched as the two menacing figures approached the front of the cab. One looked to the other, and then swiftly raised both arms, bringing them crashing down on the main engine, leaving a severe dent in it. Derick's first instinct was to check if the motor was still running and tried moving it a bit, to his relief, despite the damage, the car still functioned, but was still unable to really move out of the jam it was in courtesy of the truck. The other figure approached the left side of the cab, clenched a fist and smashed the window, only for his hand to be grabbed by Lotus, who kicked the door open, sending it into the figure's frame, he was thrown back, Lotus somersaulted out of the cab and delivered a sickening kick to her foe's head. His partner ran over to her and grabbed her from behind.

Lotus tossed the solar disc to Leonardo, which suddenly painted the target on him. Leonardo got out the other end of the cab and tried to etch his way over to the truck

"Where are you going?" Derick said.

"I'm about to get us underway" Leonardo said and made a mad dash for the truck. Lotus elbowed her attacker in the gut, enabling her to free herself from his grip, she brought her right hand crashing down on the attacker's neck and threw him into a nearby wall at break-neck speed, it seemed to knock him senseless.

She entered the cab again and slammed the door shut. "I will pay for the window" she said.

Derick took a look at the battered front of his car, "You better have a bigger budget than that" he remarked.

The second of the attackers came around, a little weary, but his eyes soon became fixated on Leonardo. Detecting that something was off about Lotus' aura, he deduced that Leonardo had in his possession the disc and went after him, Lotus cried out Leonardo's name from the cab to warn him. Leonardo turned and saw the figure heading towards him. He scrambled atop the truck.

From up there, he taunted his stalker to come and confront him there. The attacker obliged, clambering up the vehicle. The two began exchanging heavy blows, each rattling the other with a carefully timed blow to the temple.

Eventually, they both produced their swords and tasted one another's steel. Leonardo was initially pushed back in the duel, to the point he was tethering on the side of the truck's roof, but he was able to gain control of the fight, and pushed his attacker to the other end of the truck, where he too would find himself close to the edge, the two battled back and forth until both reached a stalemate somewhere in the middle.

"Hey, you're pretty strong" an exhausted Leonardo said, getting closer to his foe, "Boy, am I feeling weak at the knees, how about you?" he asked, and brought his right knee crashing into the left leg of his opponent, causing him to drop his sword in pain, Leonardo grabbed his foe by the scruff of the neck and charged along the truck, throwing his foe as far as he could. The assailant was hurtled off the truck and landed in a heap of trash cans below.

"I'd love to chat further, but I'm not one for trash talk" Leonardo said, and clambered down the vehicle and entered the truck. In a few short moments, he had driven the truck up onto the street and parked it to the right, freeing up the road for the remainder of the traffic. He then returned to Derick's cab, where Lotus had nothing to give him but praise.

"You handled yourself like a warrior should Leonardo, I am most impressed" Lotus said, Leonardo blushed and gave her back her disc, "You know what I'm like...give me a challenge, and I'll dance all day around it"

"I'd like that" Lotus said, putting the disc back in her pocket. Leonardo looked at her with an interested expression, wanting to know what she meant.

"Dance I mean" she said, this seemed to spark some motivation from the Turtle and he turned back to the book

"Shall we continue?" he said.

Derik was frozen, not knowing what to do, not sure where to go. He knew the Turtles always contested with all kinds of trouble, but he didn't quite understand the magnitude of how much trouble they could bring until now.

"Driver, carry on" Lotus said, "We don't have all night"

"And I may not have a livelihood by the time we're through" Derick replied, "You ought to be thankful I'm a sucker for a hefty fee"

Derick took a deep breath, put his foot on the pedal, and soon enough they were on their way.

The Channel Six news van pulled up near the fortified gates of the nearby NASA control centre, which had been only recently become based in New York, where a relief mission was about to get underway, delivering food and supplies to the captive crew of the Morse as per Shredder's instructions.

April noticed the beady eye of the security guards eyeing her up, she turned to the Turtles, who were huddled away in the back of the van.

"Just you leave this to me" she said.

The security guard approached the van and asked April what she was doing here, April supplied him with her press card, "I've been assigned to cover the scheduled relief mission, my boss has been in contact with your superiors and have given me written permission to come on board the Rebus shuttle" she said, and provided the guard with the necessary paperwork required.

The guard looked over it, gave April a look that was lacking in empathy, almost as if, when left up to him, he wouldn't let such a pest of the press into the prescience of things.

Eventually, he remembered his place, and swiftly moved over to the intercom to relay the instructions to his bosses, and let April and the van through. The gates opened, and the van passed through the entrance.

"Remember guys, don't compromise yourselves. this is high priority stuff, they WILL ask questions, and you'd better have ready answers" April advised.

"You shouldn't worry about that babe, I came prepared" Michelangelo said, and turned to a large satchel he was carrying, he opened it and produced a large piping hot pepperoni Pizza, "They want us to supply proof we have rations, we can just show 'em this".

April chuckled, "Mike, you're a creative little dear and all, but do you really think that thing will stay warm in the time it takes to get all the way up there in space?"

"Oh, yeah, you're right" Michelangelo replied, a little down-hearted.

The other Turtles were busy applying false beards to their faces, hoping they would enable them to pass for regular humans. Donatello often wondered how they ever were able to fool anyone with these things. "I feel like I've just spent a long time on a desert island every time I put one of these on" he said.

"Hey, it's better than looking like a dollhouse reject" Raphael replied, in reference to the other choice of disguise the Turtles often wore for errands.

"You guys sure you can handle this without Leonardo?" April said as the van approached the main control bunker situated near the shuttle Rebus.

Donatello was uneasy, but felt like this was a real test of their ability to gel as a unit, "We like to think what we're doing separately is part of the one overall mission: to investigate and potentially assist in reheating the sun, the rescue of those hostages is a bonus concern"

"Yeah, only we're handling the facts, and him the fiction" Raphael said, still refusing to buy into Leonardo's mentality regarding fate.

The van pulled and all four exited, another security guard opened the door for them and they stepped inside.

"Hold on a minute" the guard suddenly said, the Turtles froze, "Just what are you lot doing here? If your briefing is over, you should be suiting up, you're scheduled to go up in Rebus in under an hour, get to stepping"

"He thinks we're the crew, what luck" Donatello whispered to Raphael.

"Yeah, that probably means one thing: the crew all have beards that will make Jonathan Frakes blush" Raphael replied.

The Turtles were soon escorted to a changing room by the guard, whereas April was taken to the main control centre to conduct a short interview as well as be prepped for the launch herself. Inside the changing rooms, the Turtles could hear the sounds of streaming water, someone was taking a shower.

"Great, there's a crew member already in here, if he catches us without these disguises, we're deep fried" Raphael said.

"Hopefully we're well done then, I'd hate to be reminded of my deep fryer malfunction" Donatello replied jokingly.

Michelangelo decided to chow down on his pizza, and opened it up. "I wonder if they have microwaves on the shuttle craft?" he said, staring at the huge slice of pizza, saddened his plan hadn't been all that well thought out. "Ah well, time to deposit this in a very secure place" he said, taking his beard off to consume the piece.

However, the pizza's aroma was so powerful, it attracted the man showering. "Say, is that pepperoni pizza I detect?" the man said, emerging from the shower with a towel wrapped around him."You guy shouldn't be eating heavy food so close to being light as a feather way up there"

He stopped in his tracks as Michelangelo looked back at him, his green features clearly visible, the man took a step back. Raphael folded his arms, ticked off at Michelangelo's behaviour, "Hairy situation there Mike, could easily have been avoided if he you had bothered to keep your hair on"

"You're...you're...reptilians" the man said.

"Don't you watch tv? We're the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Raphael replied.

"Oh I know that's what the government calls you, that's their excuse you see, they claim you're , some freakish product of this planet, but we all know the truth don't we?" the man said, "You're aliens, aliens from some other dimension"

"Ok, this guy's read one too many aborted movie screenplays" Raphael remarked, and pulled off his own beard, "Look, all we're trying to do is help, we want to save the crew of the Morse and find out just what's up with that little ball of sunshine up there, we need to get up there to do that"

"And that's all you want? To help?" the man asked, the Turtles nodded. "If you know us by rep, you should know the hero gig is practically all over our C.V" Donatello added.

"I'm not sure...but, provided you show me where your home world is, I'll be glad to help out" he said. The Turtles looked at each other, confused, "You want us to show you where we live up there?" Raphael said, pointing to the sky symbolically.

"I know the name, just not the place" he said. "Nibiru isn't it?".

"Planet X" Michelangelo said, clarifying what the man meant.

Raphael put one hand to his face and buried himself in it. It seemed. It seemed he seemingly couldn't escape people with "out there" ideas today.

"Lets just discuss this when we're up there" Donatello said, patting the man on the shoulder.

"Right, we'd better hurry then, the rest of the crew are only out for a small briefing, I received it earlier this morning because I've been on sight for twenty-four hours" the man said, scrambling for his spacesuit, he tossed three more to the Turtles.

"Better make it five" Michelangelo said, "We're got a lady to take stargazing"

"A woman? Makes sense you'd start taking mates back to your world" the man said. Michelangelo smiled, "Yeah, she's one sweet looking, spirited, feisty friend"

"Somehow I think you need to broaden your mind on what "mate" means in more than one context" Donatello replied. Michelangelo was left scratching his head at this.

Derick hadn't been in a cheerful mood all day, but this was certainly not helping to calm his nerves. He stood in a place of great and unsettling quiet, where nobody could be disturbed, and where even the most bull-headed of men can be easily controlled as they become prisoners of contemplation, thinking in great length at just how much more time they have on this Earth. For reasons such as this, graveyards were most definitely not on anyone's timetable, they existed to remind everyone just how much time was running out.

Nevertheless, here he was, walking alongside his customers, one a local celebrity, his head lost in a "good" book, with a good looking female following every word of it like her life depended on it. Given the altercation with the two's ominous pursuers earlier, he couldn't fault her for giving off that impression.

"Are you sure we're in the right place Leonardo?" Lotus asked as they walked through the intimidating place of permanent rest for many of the city's souls, "This is not a place that is teeming with life, hardly the subject of our search".

"I'm just following the clues left behind in Sinai's portions in the book, she's an errand woman who goes about meeting important figures of power" Leonardo explained, "Here, look at this portion, "Sinai turned to Cubby and said, "with such an iron-clad hold over the land, the father, the king, could well be ruling from the tomb".

"And what does that have to do with here?" Lotus asked.

"Don't you get it? The King Sinai visited in this book had great control over various developmental properties, and invested in them for the good of the people and the kingdom he was building, there's only one kind of "ruler" in this city who's influence in that department still stretches from beyond the grave, and that's the former Mayor of New York, recently deceased, Karl Madden" Leonardo replied.

Derick felt like forming a face palm. "You're really reaching aren't you?" he said. Lotus on the other hand was fascinated by the piecing together of the apparent puzzle and that seemed to interest Leonardo more.

The three eventually reached the tombstone of the deceased political figure. They stared at the headstone, feeling a sense of sorrow, but also relief that they were still amongst the living. "Was he of great charity?" Lotus said, "Yes, he gave us Turtles keys to the city and allowed us to move around the city a little more freely, some people criticised him for it, now he gets to help us out one more time through this...I feel all the strands are coming together" he said, and turned back to the book, flicking through the pages feverishly, "now for the final piece of the puzzle...page 12, paragraph 15"

"The numbers on my disc" Lotus said in realisation. "You are of great insight Leonardo"

"Oh listen to yourselves will you?" Derick snapped, having just about enough of following what appeared to be a wild goose chase, "I spent an hour driving around the streets all whilst you two tossed and turned through every possible page of that book looking for something that matched up perfectly with what you were thinking, and where we're at now came off as a throw of the dice more than a conscious obligation to design. You read into what you wanted to read, a lot of you types do that, thinking it leads to some great "master plan" of life, those people normally drive themselves nuts thinking like this. It's such a shame more people listen to these folks rather than get them the professional help they desperately need"

Derick's rant fell on deaf ears where Lotus was concerned, but not because she cared not for what he was saying...her years of training and precision thinking had given her a sixth sense, she could detect the heartbeat of a killer, and it was zeroing in on them. "Hurry Leonardo, I fear our enemies have us in their sights, if we are not careful, we will become one with this field of the fallen"

Leonardo, pressured by this news, soldiered on, finally finding the page, the paragraph, and the word that would sum up their whole journey, the clue he was seeking. When he read it, however, he felt nothing but confusion, his mind scrambled to find meaning in it. Perhaps it had a lot to do with the lofty lifestyle of the Mayor, perhaps it meant the child they sought was born into areas of great wealth, and thus would be inaccessible to people with minimal income. No matter how much he tried to spin it, he could not shake his anxieties over the word found on paragraph fifteen of page twelve:"expensive"".

And it forced him to change tactics. Now was the time to act like a grown-up, and not such a teenager.

"Leonardo, what are you doing?" Lotus asked as Leonardo tossed the book away. "Trusting the world around me more than the world in front of me" he said, closing his eyes and concentrating deeply. He knew the city, he knew the country, he knew the world, what was forged in Lotus' solar disc made sense in the function of society. He knew it did, and he had to seek the connections out using what he knew of the reality presented to him.

All this time, the thought of impressing Lotus and everyone around him with a deep intellectual pursuit had been more of a priority than making any actual concrete attempt at deduction. Everything that had come together prior to this had only made ROMANTIC sense. Derick was right, as was Raphael, and he knew he could not afford to let his mentality let Lotus and her mission down now.

Numbers came first to his new wave of thoughts.

"Not a paragraph", he said out loud, "Not a word. Think. The Monks had been thorough with their timing, they would be able to pinpoint not just the place...but the time, THE TIME" he realised, "12:15 is the estimated TIME the child will be brought into the world...now, the place, the name, Sinai, what does that mean here, come on, think..." he continued, his eyes tightened shut as he tried to solve the problem.

Lotus' unsettling senses crept back to her, she looked around, her fears were soon confirmed as six of the rogue faction of monks began to swarm over them. Strangely, they did not move or make any attempt to cut them down.

Instead, they waited.

"Why don't they finish us off? The Turtle is distracted, they can pick us off so easily" Derick said. Lotus had her suspicions, and hoped Leonardo would not supply their foes with what they desired.

Finally, Leonardo's eyes snapped open, and gave his final answer.

"The child will be born at 12:15 AM at Mount Sinai Hospital" he said.

"The science and medical centre? I didn't know they handled pregnancies" Derick said. "We'll find out what's going on when we get there" Leonardo replied.

"That is, unless our enemies get there first" Lotus said, pointing to the swarming forces. Three of them suddenly began to break away from the others, heading towards the exit, "They were waiting for you to give them the answer Leonardo".

"Whoops, my bad" Leonardo said. The remaining three Monks charged at them, attempting to distract their foes with a fight so as to buy their comrades enough time to intercept the child before Lotus and Leonardo could.

Derick took up a hiding place at the back of the dead mayor's tombstone as Leonardo and Lotus clashed with the remaining forces.

"Not usually one to hide behind politics, but in this case I'll make an exception" he said.

The battle was fever-pitched and evenly matched for the most part, Leonardo kicked away at one of the hoods, felling him to the ground, then jumping high into the air and brining the full weight of both knees crashing down on his chest.

Lotus delivered a powerful spinning kick to another attacker, sending him into a nearby open grave. It came down to the two against the one, Leonardo and Lotus encircled him, clenched both their fists and delivered simultaneous punches to their adversary's temple, knocking him out.

Derick emerged from his hiding place and saw the mess made. Leonardo and Lotus headed back towards his cab, grabbing him by the hand on the way, "Time to make sure that newborn has a relatively happy birthday" Leonardo said.

And as all three of them clambered into the cab and drove off to the hospital, the whimpering sounds of the felled monks gave sound to the stillness in the fields of the fallen.

What an hour it had been for the remaining Turtles at the nearby NASA control centre. Between getting their human ally, to carry out their plan and getting prepped for launch, they were now seated in the hub of the space shuttle Rebus. Preparing for launch.

Everyone was seated, though they found it hard to move in their big, bulky spacesuits. There had been few times where they had put on such heavy gear, and given how speedy they were in terms of reflex and skill, felt like they they were in an alien environment.

April was the last to board, she greeted the Turtles as she entered and made her way over to a vacant seat, opting to sit next to Michelangelo. She sensed that he was a little jumpy, constantly moving his head in various directions from inside his spacesuit's helmet.

"What are you doing Mike?" she said.

"Trying to get my head 'round this helmet" Michelangelo replied, "Anything to take my mind off a mishap"

"Mishap?" April asked. Michelangelo nodded, "Let's just say there's plenty of space missions in history that have "gone up" in more ways than one".

April sighed. "Mike, this is one of the more careful space programmes we have on offer, nothing bad is going to happen"

"Mike's probably more worried that the pizza he ate pins us down with how big he is" Raphael remarked.

Despite the joke intending to amuse, Michelangelo still felt uneasy. April took his hand and clutched it tight.

"I'll only let go if this ship flies apart. You just be a brave boy, ok? Trust me, nothing bad will come of this" she said.

Michelangelo smiled. "At least until we tangle with the big bads" he replied.

"I hate to interrupt the mush, but can we get on with the star trek?" Raphael snapped, as the Turtles' new human friend, Commander Earnest Ripper, was making his final checks and establishing final clearances with mission control.

"Just a couple of more minutes Lizard Man and we should be good to go"

Finally, they got clearance. Ripper finished up the tests on his end and the fateful countdown began. Over at mission control, the tension was building, and the programmer's supervisor, Colonel Kyte, was beginning to get anxious.

Every mission, even one as simple as a mercy errand, could go wrong at a crucial second.

One mistake, and there would be hell personified as flames would shoot forward to pierce the heavens and death would claim victory over life. As ten seconds gradually ticked down to five, it was as if time began to slow down purely to spite the alertness of everyone assembled.

Finally, the fateful second passed, and the shuttle commenced its launch. All seemed well...and then, seconds later, a group of very frustrated, bearded men stormed through the control centre, followed by a lanky assistant.

"What is the meaning of this?" said Kyte. "We're in the middle of a delicate operation". "I'm sorry sir, but there's been a terrible mistake, THIS is the crew of the Rebus" said the assistant. "Then who is up there with Commander Ripper?" asked Kyte, before he swiftly took over the communications device.

"Ripper, I say chap, come in, what is going on up there? Who is there with you? Your crew are all down here". He was met with radio silence.

On board the shuttle, Ripper congratulated everyone on making it this far, "Don't you guys worry, they don't dare abort the launch now that we've begun our ascent, it's smooth sailing from here"

"I can't believe they're only now realising we're not the crew, perhaps next time there should be an edict not to have so many hairs on the chin" Donatello replied.

As the shuttle soared through the sky, passed into space, and left the Earth far behind, Michelangelo felt his apprehension levels dissipate, partially because his best friend beside him was living up to her promise of keeping his nerves calm, and partially because he was thinking of the rations they had been supplied with, his mind entertaining itself with the notion of taking a few back with him when the mission was over.

The shuttle carried on, heading out into the star-lit void and past the orbiting space station Bird 5, which, having been notified by mission control of the situation, also tried contacting Ripper, urging him to dock with the station and clarify the situation.

On this occasion, Ripper did respond to them, claiming that such an undertaking would take up too much time and that the crew of the Morse could not hope to last long without their food and drink supplies. Reluctantly, and a few threats to Ripper regarding the prospect of never leading a mission into space again, Bird 5 agreed to watch their backs and let them carry on with the mission.

Ripper opened up communications to the space ring as the shuttle headed in the direction of the once brightly burning solar star. "This is space shuttle Rebus, we are part of a relief mission to supply your hostages with supplies, please grant us permission to carry out our mission and assist us in any possible way, thank you"

As the crew waited patiently for a response of some kind, Donatello took the time to look ahead at the giant structure surrounding the sun. "Amazing, for a few days I thought that was just a spec of something you get in the eye for staring at the sun for too long outside, common errors based in perspective, never did I imagine it would be a giant orbiting space platform"

"Shredder sure knows how to put a ring on it" Raphael replied.

Inevitably, Ripper picked up something on his radar, "We've got company" he said, and soon the shuttle was surrounded by flying transport modules, the same type that had attacked the Morse. Their laser guns charged and ready to fire at the slightest provocation. A voice suddenly ran through the shuttles long range communication system.

"Welcome Rebus, I hope you do not mind the escort that will accompany you the rest of the journey, but it is merely a security precaution, follow the modules to our destination peacefully and without incident and this mercy mission should be mercifully over in due course".

"Definitely Shredder" Donatello said, recognising the voice, "We'd best not try anything, at least until we dock"

"Yeah, though I'd love to do nothing more than moonwalk all over them foot fiends and ride one of those terrible tunnellers right through shred-head's abode" Raphael replied.

"How is it in your hotheadedness you come up with the coolest ideas?" Donatello asked. Raphael wondered what he meant, Donatello kept his strategies to himself, not sure how they would pan out as of yet, or if such action would be even necessary.

All would have to gel together with time as the Rebus carried on with its mission, flanked by the transport module on their way to the space ring , to the captive crew of the Morse, and hopefully some semblance of concrete answers.

At Sinai hospital, Doctor Reeves stepped out of the door to her office, approaching her was a man filled with great anxiety, he had been pacing up and down the corridor for hours, eagerly awaiting news.

His only company nearby were three janitors who were cleaning the floors rather too intensely, all of them speaking in an unintelligible language, firing off words that didn't make a lot of sense to him.

Reeves didn't have much news to give him. "Heather's still struggling a bit Ted" she said, "She's never been a really good pusher, even in the therapy sessions"

"Is there anything we can do to speed up the process?" Ted asked as he searched for a way to best make his wife produce their stubborn newborn, "A fright of some kind, can we generate some kind of excitement for her?"

"At this time of night? Doubtful" Reeves said. Suddenly, they heard a series of loud yells coming from the main lobby.

"Who on Earth could that be?" she said, marching down the hall to greet whoever was making the commotion.

She was surprised the source of the noise was a tall green creature accompanied by two regular human beings.

"I'm sorry, but we don't exactly do golden opportunities for scientific research at this time at night" she said, pointing at the clock, "You'll have to invade our planet sometime later"

Leonardo looked at the time and felt relieved, "It's 11: 45, we've got thirty minutes to go, Lotus, barricade the door" he said. Lotus agreed.

Reeves attempted to stop her, "Excuse me", she said, "What do you think you're playing at? Holding down the fort is a game reserved for cowboys and Indians, and somehow I don't think you and that young lady in the Ninja outfit qualify for that"

"Please, it's vitally important you allow us to lock down, there's great danger on its way" Leonardo warned.

Reeves wasn't convinced, "Seems to me the only danger is from the ruckus caused by you, I really don't need this, I'm waiting on hand for a midwife to take over from me, and if she can't get in, I'm going to have to help deliver a very important arrival"

"Wait, you mean to tell us a baby IS on the way here?" Derick said, not able to believe the fates had been kind to Leonardo and Lotus all along.

Reeves folded her arms. "Not usually our priority, but yes one of our assistant researchers has been expecting for a bit now. The workhorse that she is, she often refused maternity leave and kept working through it, it finally caught up with her an hour or so ago and we're all experiencing a reluctant night shift trying to get the baby out"

"Where is everybody anyway?" Leonardo asked

"Beats me, a call came through telling most of the staff to go downtown to another centre, I, Ted and our charge couldn't go because of the baby choosing to come out" Reave said. "I contacted them explaining the emergency, they said they'd try to send out a mid-wife as soon as they could, but so far there's been no sign"

"Oh I'll help" Derick said, excitedly, "I'm a bit of an amateur midwife, helped deliver a couple of twins in the back of the cab. Tried charging her for two extra passengers that one time, you never forget the day you turn a good profit" he boasted.

Everyone looked at him funny. "Only joking" he said, "But I'm sincere about the midwife stuff"

Reeves raised an eyebrow and shook her head, smiling, "Ok, I needed to laugh a little given all that's gone on tonight, I'll take your word for it, come with me"

Leonardo grabbed Derick's hand and shook it, "Thankyou" he said.

"Hey, everyone's gotta believe in something, even if this does seem more like a turnout for lady luck to me, I know you'll do everything to make sure luck is on that baby's side, so I might as well help bring about it's good fortune"

Leonardo approached Lotus, who had bolted the doors.

"How are you holding up?" he said, "Do you sense any intrusions?"

"I feel uneasy, but I am not sure if it is the presence of our foes, or...my own doubts" she replied. Leonardo was taken back "What doubt? We're here aren't we?"

"Only because you made logical deductions" Lotus said, "The monks I work for also deduced the child's location with the same methods, even if they were entertained by the idea it was prophesied in children's fare. Perhaps it was my own foolish hope that the tall tales I enjoyed as a child could come true in this day and age of talking creatures and otherworldly forces...I hoped there was rhyme to the reason...but all that seems to persist is cold hard logic grounded in an unpredictable reality"

Leonardo didn't know what to say, it hurt him to see Lotus feel disheartened and losing her sense of wonder. Was life always destined to disappoint? He briefly thought to himself, before he put such an idea out of his head when faced with the challenge ahead...to make something made of life count in this world.

Leonardo, Lotus, and Derik followed Reaves to her office where the mother of the child was in labour. Reaves explained the situation to Ted. Ted took a while to process what was going on, but came together when he learned of Derik's "credentials".

He leaned over and hugged Reaves, "Oh thank you Dawn, you've done so much for us up 'till now" he said.

Leonardo and Lotus were stunned at the mention of the name. Lotus thought back to what the monks had said to her just before she had set out on her quest. "Deliver the disc to the child during the twilight of the day...but only at the break of dawn" she said. "Leonardo, could it be?..."

"Could it be what?" Reeves asked.

"Nothing" Leonardo said, "Or something, depends on what happens next, can we see the mother now?"

Lotus suddenly stopped in her tracks, her mind had turned to other things.

"What's wrong Lotus?" Leonardo said.

"I feel now that my doubts have been temporarily put to rest, I can be very sure in my thoughts" she said, "We are not alone"

Leonardo looked around, and saw the three janitors mopping the floors, continuing to mutter unintelligible words to themselves.

"How long have those janitors been here?" Leonardo said.

"They arrived about thirty minutes ago, just after the staff got called away. Why?" Reeves said.

The three janitors looked up, eyed up Leonardo and Lotus, and dropped their mops, positioning themselves to engage in combat.

"Get in that room and don't come out" Leonardo instructed. Derick helped escort Reeves and Ted through the door as fast as he could "Do as he says, you're about to get a whole slew of new patients" he remarked.

Leonardo and Lotus looked at each other, nodded, and charged. The renegade monks and the two courageous warriors met in a blinding clash of fists, kicks, and eventual swordplay.

Lotus jumped over one, quickly walked along the walls, and executed a leaping side-kick, knocking her foe into the bucket of water, one of the other opponents slipped on the water and crashed into a wall, leaving only one again.

Leonardo and Lotus pondered how to top what they did to one of them at the graveyard, feeling a double punch to the temple was a bit of a rerun. Instead they swept their legs underneath his, tipping him over and sending him crashing to the floor, they then jumped in the air and landed on his chest with both legs, before Leonardo used his right leg to kick the foes' head backwards, smashing it against the floor and rendering him helpless.

"Well, that should leave our new arrival snug and secure for now" Leonardo said, "Let's deliver it shall we?" he asked Lotus. Lotus walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek. "Whatever was that for?" he asked. "I may be unsure of many things right now" Lotus said, "But you are as sure as the dawn"

Having been escorted into the Sun-Sealer space ring's docking bay, the Turtles, April, and Ripper waited patiently inside the Rebus for signs of their captors. Foot Soldiers loomed menacingly around the ship.

"Worked out what this thing is yet Don?" asked Raphael, Donatello shook his head "Whatever it is, it's been built with the utmost precision, almost as if they had all the time in the world to defy the heat of the sun to construct it, I just wonder how they did it without burning to a crisp"

Finally, Shredder made his presence known. Having finally arrived at the space ring earlier, he was eager to get his project underway. Following him as he strolled down the docking bay were Krang, Rocksteady, Bebop, as well as the three captive Morse crew members Lester, Donner, and Harkens.

They approached the Rebus. Shredder knocked on the hull.

"We're here, you may disembark with the supplies".

"What do we do now?" Michelangelo asked Donatello, who got up and took one of the ration boxes.

"Supply and demand" he said, and approached the exit to the shuttle, opening the door.

He left the ship and stepped out into enemy territory. The other Turtles and Ripper also took supplies and followed him out. April prepared to join them but Michelangelo cautioned her to stay where she was.

"Best to wait until things get ugly beautiful" he said. April nodded, and the Turtle followed his brothers and Ripper out the door.

"Well, these look like a rather hefty package" Shredder said, "These could do one for a whole month, not my preferred time span, but it'll have to do until the next errand. Rocksteady Bebop, secure the supplies and load them onto my transport module"

"What? But those rations were intended for US" Donner replied angrily. "This was never about you three" Shredder said, "Our refrigerator is broken and all our own food has gone to waste, so we have to settle for the hand-me-downs from Earth until it's repaired. This was as best an option I could afford, and it's a simple enough method that it can be repeated, we take you three hostage, we get supplies, and now we will take THIS crew hostage and request TWICE the rations, and they'll grant us that thinking they're now feeding two sets of hostages when in fact they're only feeding one overall party"

"So what are we doing here?" Donner said, "Why don't you just let us waste away in our cells?". Shredder laughed, "I wanted to see the look on your faces when I explained my strategy, villains tend to brag"

"Well I hope you know we appreciate you bringing the hostages to where we can easily find them Shredder" said Donatello, pulling off his fake beard, with the other two Turtles joining in, revealing themselves to their enemies.

"The Turtles" Shredder rasped, "Delivering food usually isn't your past time, usually you're always on the receiving end"

"Hey, not the first time we've fooled you with this trick" Raphael replied.

"No matter, you fools are far too late" Shredder said, and turned to Krang, "Krang, give the order, it's time to sail away with this searing star". Krang complied, his hand transformed into a radio, and he instructed Foot Soldiers working in another corner of the ring to commence with the project. Ripper couldn't help but be amazed at Krang's appearance, "Is he from Planet X ?" he asked Michelangelo, "Dimension X dude, big difference" the Turtle replied

"Sail away? This isn't a boat Shredder" Donatello responded. Shredder cackled, "Oh no?". The whole bay suddenly began to shake as everyone felt the full magnitude of what they were inhabiting move forward. Krang activated a nearby monitor, which linked him to a camera attached to one of the orbiting transport modules, which showed, to the Turtles' astonishment, the sun beginning to shift out of it's position.

"What have you done?" Donatello asked.

"The sun sealer project has been underway for months" Krang explained, "By making use of a solar inhibitor, we have been able to suppress the intense heat of the sun for a while, making it possible to construct this space station around it, special connectors are attached to the inhibitor, making it possible for the next phase of the operation, to move the sun behind the moon and condemn the entire planet to a permanent age of cold, darkness, and perpetual despair, and we will only move it back if we are granted immediate ownership of the planet"

"I know the phrase "I should have brought my sunscreen", but even this kind of sunscreen is a little extreme" Michelangelo remarked.

Donatello was incensed, "You're playing around with the laws of nature, we can't allow this"

"And how do you plan to prevent a grand scale move like this? Face it Turtles, we've stopped you cold this time" Shredder taunted. "On the contrary Shredder, thanks to Raph here, I think I'm warming to the means of stopping you" he replied.

Raphael pointed to himself, "Me?" he said, then he remembered what he had said to Donatello earlier about riding the modules through the structure.

"Well we'll just have to try and switch that light bulb at the top of your head off" Krang replied, "Attack Foot Soldiers"

As the Foot Soldiers closed in, the three Turtles stood their ground, "What's the plan now Don?" Raphael said, "Secure the hostages, bring them on board one of the modules, I'll take another" Donatello said.

Raphael felt uneasy, Donatello really WAS taking what he said to literal task, and it frightened him as much as the scale of Shredder's ambitious plan.

It was a task much easier laid out than executed in practise. Without Leonardo, the Turtles faced a more difficult challenge as they united against the merciless machine squadron.

Donatello used his bo staff to decapitate three in a row, Raphael plunged his sais into the chest compartments of one, picked it up with the sais still embedded in it, and swung it around, knocking it into other Foot Soldiers surrounding him, he then took the sais out and dug them deep into another, and another.

Michelangelo thought about repeating the tactic he had used at the beach when protecting Lotus, but upon seeing what Raphael was doing, felt it would be too similar, he fired his grappling hook at the roof of the bay, snagging it on some piping above, and swung his body frame hard into an advancing posse of troops, he took his nun-chucks out of the back of his shell and wrapped them tightly around a soldiers neck, snapping it off. He threw the head to one of the other soldiers, who caught it.

Such a distraction enabled Michelangelo to take a running tackle and take it to the floor, where he levelled punch after punch down on it. One solider attempted to seize him from behind, but were taken out by Ripper with a well-timed blow to the back of the head with a supply case.

With four united, three Turtles and one human, the tide of battle was soon turned to the side of the heroes.

Watching all this unfold was April, who was filming the fight. She opted to help in some way herself and yelled over to Rocksteady. "Yoo hoo honeybunch" she said, waving, "I seemed to have dropped my compact, could you pick it up for me?"

"Sure, anything for an ex" Rocksteady said, in reference to the time a love potion had made him fall in love with the channel six reporter. He bent down to look for it, urging Bebop to help him, April silently signalled the captive astronauts to take action.

"Hey, I can't find it anywhere" Rocksteady said, Lester understood April's message.

"Here, maybe you should take a closer look" he said, and kicked Rocksteady in the rear, sending him crashing to the floor.

Bebop turned around, only to be taken out by a swift kick to the head by Raphael. "I know you're trying to move the sun, but next time you might want to settle for Uranus" he remarked.

Donatello fought his way over to one of the parked transport modules and opened the hatch, "Hurry everyone, get in" he said. The Turtles, April, Ripper, Donner, Lester, and Harkens all scrambled to the module, with Donatello choosing to take the one parked just in front.

"Cover me when we leave the space ring, we'll be in for a dog fight out there" Donatello said as he passed by Raphael. Raphael understood and entered his module, Donatello took a moment to collect his thoughts, and then climbed aboard his own.

The modules flared into life and as they approached the bolted down exit doors, Donatello activated the weapon systems on the craft, the laser guns took the doors out with a single shot, causing the unforgiving vacuum of space to begin sucking out anything that wasn't locked down.

Shredder, Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop, just prior to this, had scrambled to a module of their own and had swiftly took off in pursuit of the Turtles. They followed them out of what remained of the doors, and flew out into space.

Shredder contacted the remaining modules outside and instructed them to do their best to take out the crafts the Turtles were in.

What followed was a spectacular interstellar dogfight, the modules twisting and turning through the array of stars exchanging laser fire left and right, from above and beneath the ring, the battle was evenly matched.

Shredder's own module joined in, trying its hardest not to shake Donatello's craft as it was the one doing the most damage to the space ring. Donatello eventually pinpointed the main engine of the Sun-Sealer and took it out with a well-timed blast, halting the advancements it was making with the sun in tow.

"Now for the solar inhibitor" Donatello said, and checked the module for any live camera feeds, since one was present on a module outside. Luck was on his side, as he was able to find one, revealing it as being in the very centre of the sun.

With Shredder's module still in pursuit, Donatello had to make the one shot count. Other modules swarmed to his location, but the distraction proved costly for them as the module carrying everyone else was able to pick them off with their backs turned.

Donatello took the fateful shot, the laser guns fired, and in a span of seconds, the inhibitor was destroyed.

"There, now hopefully that means we've scooped back our heat" Donatello said, congratulating himself. Suddenly, he noticed that Shredder's module had stopped tailing him, and, instead, had begun to quickly speed away.

Donatello pondered what was making them turn tail and leave so quickly, then as he looked at the giant fireball emerging from the core of the sun, he got his answer.

"Oh dear" he said, and frantically began working at the controls of his craft, turning it around and activating the thrusters, he contacted the others on his Turtle-Com, "Guys, head as far away from the area as possible, with the inhibitor destroyed all the suppressed heat is pouring out, at an escalated rate" he cried.

The other Turtles complied and both modules raced back to Earth as the sun grew more and more intense, inevitably engulfing the Sun-Sealer space ring and tearing it apart.



Back at Sinai hospital, Ted's expectant wife Heather, had, with the aid of Derick's capable skills, successfully given birth to a bouncing baby boy. Leonardo and Lotus beamed with delight as the baby attempted to reach out towards them with its precious little fingers. "He's a real treasure" Leonardo said, and looked up to Derik, "Thank you". " Derik shrugged, "Don't mention it, and to make your day a little better, there's no charge for any of the place we've been to. I think moments like this are all the reward we need"

"I just heard on the radio the Sinai staff that went missing were stuck in circumstances similar to our traffic jam earlier, those monks must have been everywhere tonight" Leonardo explained, "They're said to be on the way here now, so we'd better make ourselves scarce soon"

Lotus looked at the clock on the wall, they were in the dying seconds of 12:15 AM, the time of arrival for the baby. She looked at the solar disc and approached the mother, "Please" she said, "If you don't mind, I would like to..." she began, then cut herself off, "...Never mind, it's silly" she said. Leonardo looked at her.

"Still having trouble believing in fairy tales?" Leonardo said. Lotus was uncertain, "Logic, fate, it's all so random, one cannot be too certain of a guaranteed outcome" she said.

Leonardo placed his hand on hers, "For someone just born, there's a guaranteed future staring it in the face. That child, this moment, needs all the pleasantries it can afford, even if you don't quite think fairy tales can come true, let this child's memory be one that can, let the story of a kindly band of strangers who came to deliver this baby from hostile intent and the challenges of nature be one that inspires it in all its formative, innocent years. Let him remember the Lotus, if not the sun"

Lotus, moved by Leonardo's words, asked Heather again if she could place something on the child. Heather looked at Reeves and Ted, who nodded in approval, she gave Lotus permission to proceed. Lotus went up to the baby, and gently, placed the solar disc on it's chest.

As she did so, there was a bright flash that illuminated the night sky, everyone stared out of the window as a powerful bright light engulfing the area. Leonardo opened the window of the clinic to take in the breeze of the night air and to experience the warm glow first hand, he felt an amazing surge of heat, he basked in it, and held out Lotus' hand so she could feel the radiance in her palm.

"The sun, oh Leo, it dances on my fingertips" Lotus said with glee, "The monks were right, the book was right, the promise of endless summer...it could yet come true"

Eventually, the surge of light dissipated, but it lingered long enough to leave everyone with a lifelong memory of this late hour. After the intensity of the lifelong memory subsided, Leonardo's exhaustion crept in and he yawned from all of the exhausting tasks of the day had finally, it seemed, been put to rest, and now his mind was contemplating the same notion.

"We'd better head back to the lair" he said, and, as he and Lotus prepared to leave and say their goodbyes to Derick, he took one last look outside, revelling in the fresh warmth of the night, and began to sing "The sun will come out tomorrow"

The next morning, the Turtles were all huddled in their lair, all of them safe and sound, watching April's news broadcast, which detailed the Turtles battle with Shredder's goons, as well as showing the destruction of the Sun-Sealer space ring, all taken from April's video camera.

"Once again, the gallant force of good known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have risen to the occasion" April reported, "Their successful efforts to restore the sun to normal has resulted in it's power being raised to significantly higher levels, this led to one of the biggest heat waves ever experienced on any continent for quite some time. Scientists have projected the wave to last for up to five or six months before the regular levels resume. Noted for their bravery under pressure were the crew members of the lost space shuttles Rebus and Morse, their bravery providing the Turtles with the crucial time needed to complete their mission. The crews are expected to be granted full honours later this week by the Mayor, whereas the heroic Turtles have once more opted to slip into the shadows...for those of us who remain in the light, we say "Thank you...and stop beating yourself over the head for what happened to my phone Mike" she concluded, winking at the camera. Watching the television, Michelangelo grinned.

Raphael got up and switched the TV off, "Well", he began, "The shadows are nice and all, but who wants to sit in the shade when we have countless days to spend with lotion on our chests and sand up to our necks, who's with me?" he said.

"Oh, not me Raph" Donatello replied, "The heat's been really getting to me, I need to work on something to cool us all down"

"Come on Donny, the sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray, and it's all down to you, bask in the glory as well as the heat, you'll enjoy it" he said. Donatello wasn't so sure he could take all the credit though, and took out a book and passed it to Raphael.

"Really Raph, I was just doing what was required of me" he said.

Raphael looked at the book, it was "Who Sings the Sun to Sleep?". "Donny, please don't tell me you're putting it all down to this again" he replied, disappointed in his brother."This thing doesn't mention giant flying modules and the sun gods certainly didn't blow up the death star, it's all make believe, some things aren't laid out for us to find, we make our own rules, and we write our own destiny"

Donatello shushed him as Leonardo and Lotus walked into the living room, Raphael hid the book from view.

"Morning" he said.

"Lotus is about to head back to the home of the monks" Leonardo replied, "Now that the mission is complete and the "prophecy" fulfilled, she's ready to take on whatever else they have for her"

"You need not worry about the renegade faction either" Lotus assured them, "Once the child was born, our few remaining foes picked themselves up and retreated, their mission was, how would you put it, "a major wash-out""

Leonardo handed Lotus a package, "Here" he said, "Food and drink for your journey home, I wish you well" he said. Lotus took the package and kissed Leonardo on the cheek, "Until destiny designs another path for us to cross together Leonardo, farewell" she said, and turned to exit the lair, as she did so, she took the opportunity to skip around like an overexcited schoolgirl before twirling around and vanishing through the exit. Raphael glanced over at Leonardo's blushing expression.

"She's in high spirits" he observed, "And you must be high to let her go off thinking her fairy tales accomplished something"

"Everyone's gotta have faith Raph" Leonardo said, and headed to the sofa. "Be it by luck, or by design, we succeeded in both our missions and in the end, isn't the end result what we should be happy with?"

"Leonardo is right Raphael" Master Splinter said as he entered the room, "So many things are connected, but to the unclear eye, they remain unchained, only through the arrogance and ambition of evil and the perseverance and intention of good can the greater picture be truly grasped, it is this continuous test of sides that, through coincidence, or through the will of creation, continues to shape the cycle of life on this planet. Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and try"

"..I know that's not how it goes" Raphael replied.

Splinter nodded, "I know" he said, "I just abhor using the "D" word"

At his favourite newsstand topside, Derick picked up his usual newspaper and skimmed through the pages until he got to the local news bulletins, there, he found what he was looking for, a photo of Heather and Ted and their proud baby boy, with the headline "Sinai's favourite son". He smiled and paid for the paper. As he did so, he took a gander at one of the books on display. It was "Lone Pup and Cubby".

"You're becoming a legend around these parts with your midwife act" said Michelle, "A bit of a bold leader where other cabbies are concerned"

Derick laughed, picked up the book, and paid for it. "Sometimes it's better just to read about those people" he said, and walked back to his cab, basking in what was, for many a month, and for the memories a lifetime, an endless and promising summer.

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 24th, 2018 at 01:02 AM.
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Old July 28th, 2018, 05:47 AM #8
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> Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
 
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Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 32,725



MUTANTS AND MIRACLES

Christmas was many things, but the one word that could best describe it on a consistent basis was "frantic". Frantic shoppers and frantic traffic littered the pavements and roads of New York City. For a large contingent of people there was very little time for real recreational activity when there were presents to purchase and job obligations to fulfil.

Yes. Job obligations. Christmas, even in the present time, still carried with the Bob Cratchetts of the age, working tirelessly for their Ebenezer’s, and unlike that wonderful carol, there would be no ghosts to put their greed notions to rest.

For those with the good fortune to not be so committed to the workplace, or obligated by the pull of good parenting to shower their offspring with expensive gifts, there were a few places where they could entertain themselves, but sometimes one good place is all you need. Such a place came in the form of the nearby ice rink in the heart of Times Square, where many a couple and an aspiring skater glided across the smooth and slippery floor in graceful motion. For a period that felt so out of control, many skaters felt like they could master just about anything. Not just their bodies, but their troubles too.

Situated at the centre of the rink was another mistress of her particular element. April O'Neil, ace reporter for Channel Six news, covering the jubilant activity for her station.

"This is April O'Neil live from Times Square in New York, where, as the countdown to Christmas slowly ticks away, many are flocking to the beautiful and bustling skating rink to take their minds off those scrambling to make it home and prepare their purchased presents for the big day in three days time when they will be unwrapped by family members young and old. What will YOU be waking up to Christmas morning? We'll be back with you live in a few hours when yours truly will be taking to the ice with the elegant, dynamic, mysterious and talented skater, our very own "Phantom of the Arctic", see you then"

As the live feed was cut, April's assistant and cameraman, Vernon, was quick to criticize her.

"April, keep in mind kids are watching, drop a line about good old Saint Nick when we come back" he insisted.

April sighed.

"Santa? Why?" she said

"You don't want them to think he's not coming down the chimney do you?" Vernon replied

"Oh grow up Vernon, It's hard pressed to find any kid that believes in a Father Christmas anymore" April countered.

"Mr. Thompson's NEPHEWS do, and if you want a big surprise this year in regards to bonuses, it's best you keep ALL the children in mind" Vernon replied.

"Oh fine" April said, complying with some resistance in her tone, "But I'm leaving you to SUPPLY me with a Santa. If I'm going to drop a line about him, he may as well show up as a surprise"

"Oh leave that to me, I have the perfect candidate, it's a sure thing" Vernon replied. A thought suddenly occurred to him.

"Say, April?" he asked.

"What is it?" April said

"Who is going to be our "Phantom of the Arctic" this year? Our usual man quit Channel Six last month"

"Just you worry about finding a Santa Vernon, I've got this covered...that is, IF he says 'yes' to it" April replied. Vernon nodded, letting her get on with it.

As he turned his attention to lecturing more of the news crew about just about anything that came to his snobbish, quasi-perfectionist mind, April took to her handy Turtle-Com and activated it. A friendly face soon materialized on the main screen, that of April's best friend, the party animal of the four maverick mutants known as the Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo.

"Hey dudette, what's hanging?" Michelangelo said.

"You free?" April asked.

"As a bird, no wait, I'm a Turtle, scratch that" Michelangelo replied. April giggled, and pressed forward with her inquiry.

"Ok, that's covered, do you SKATE?" she said.

"I'm a champion at that babe, got a real knack for the time I accidentally froze up the whole lair" Michelangelo confessed.

"Well you better get back in the swing of things, I need you to put whatever skills you got to good use. Every year we stage a dance at the ice rink with a reporter and a "Phantom" skater who whisks his partner off on a whirlwind routine. I've been selected for it this year, but our main man quit over a pay raise a month ago, and we've been in the lurch ever since. What do you say Mike, You up for it?"

"Gee April, I'm good at slipping and a sliding, but dancing on ice? I think that's best left to British TV" Michelangelo admitted, scratching his head.

"Please, just talk it over with the guys, I'm sure they'll understand" April said.

"Oh yeah, of course, Raph would be really up for it" Michelangelo replied, April wasn't impressed.

"Talk it over with them, not talk yourself out of this" she replied.

"Fine, you win...again" Michelangelo said

"Just what I wanted to hear from my leading amphibian. Ciao" she said, and turned off the Turtle-com. Vernon once again approached her

"Remember April, all the pick-up shots of the skaters are your responsibility. Burne trusting you with the directing gig could lead to bigger things for you behind the cameras, and bigger opportunities for me in front of it if you like the taste of such a job. You better have asked all the right questions around those with the technical know-how"

"Oh I ask the right questions all the time...I only wish the time came where I could give the right answer" April said. Vernon was confused

"What do you mean by that?" he said

April looked up at the sky, placing a hand out to catch a falling snowflake. As it evaporated in her hand, she clutched it close to her.

"My business Vernon. Mind your own" she said, and set to work on the pick-up shots.


***

Inside the Turtles' lair, preparations were underway for the holidays yet to come. Leonardo and Raphael were in the kitchen, the casual tunes of the radio echoing through the room.

Leonardo was perched on a chair, putting up decorations that hung from the ceiling, and blowing up turtle-shaped balloons which he tied to little paperweights, which prevented them from floating upwards.

Raphael was busy checking up on the Turtles' Christmas shopping lists, crossing out things they had acquired, and what was still to come. He moaned when he got down to Michelangelo's list.

Everyone had settled for things people in their late teens might find useful in day to day activity: body wash, a light-hearted book to read, and various tools to help out with inventions or to keep up the general maintenance around the lair, but Michelangelo was ever the kid, demanding video games, action figures, and yet another MP3 player. All very pricey items.

"You ever wish Mikey would just grow up? We're always so peaceful about his presents, I'm starting to feel like a real Turtle-dove, we need to put our foot down sometime" Raphael complained.

"Some people in this world are just born to play Raph, you can't expect them to change their nature just like that" Leonardo replied. "Master Splinter always taught us to be tolerant of one's tastes and to honour their desires"

"Yeah, but I don't think he ever put our budget into consideration with that advice" Raphael replied, "I know there's corners of the government that like putting forward our income for our years of diligent service, but if they knew what was being spent down here, they'd probably force us to take citizenship tests, take the bread from our table, and force us to work regular jobs"

"Mikey isn't beyond a bit of flexibility, if you just talk to him instead of outright telling him "we won't be doing this", he might try to tone the list down"

Conveniently enough, Michelangelo soon walked into the kitchen, Leonardo urged Raphael to try to start up the conversation.

"Leo, can we talk?" Michelangelo said, Leonardo pointed at himself, as if to say "me?”. Raphael sighed and went back to examining the list.

"What's up?" Leonardo asked.

"April wants me to help her skate off at the rink, only it's some kind of dance. I'm not so much a prime time player in that department" Michelangelo explained

"You're still going though right? I mean...it's April" Leonardo replied.

"Yeah, I guess..." Michelangelo said, "It's just...this is the third thing I'll have done for her in the span of six months. Having dinner, attending the theatre etc, heck even checking in on that mother turtle at the beach was more her suggestion, even if I was up for that. I just wish I could say "my turn""

"Do you want to turn her down then?" Leonardo asked. Michelangelo shook his head.

"No, but she's really depending a lot on me. ME. I mean, what's so special about me?" Michelangelo asked, "I'm normally the non-stop party portion of the green machine"

"Maybe that's what she's looking for" Leonardo said, "Out of all four of us, you really are the most "normal", I'm well too wrapped up in my training, meditations, and swordsmanship, Raph's way too cynical sometimes, Don's invested in machines and hardware and often speaks above our station etc. We all have some way out-of-synch priorities when it comes to everyday life, but you're so care-free and focused on living that everything gels naturally with you around"

"So my kind of groove is the new normal these days? Righteous notion dude. I always knew it'd pay off one day" Michelangelo replied excitedly.

Soon enough, however, everyone would be busy with something, starting with Michelangelo, as the radio station took a break from it's non-stop barrage of festive music to supply their listeners with a commercial.

"Fight fire with fire at the Engagements Martial Arts Expo" bellowed the commercial's narrator, "You and a partner of your choice can pit your wits against some of the most experienced martial arts masters for a chance to win a sizeable cash prize. To apply..."

Michelangelo abruptly switched off the radio, and pointed at it jubilantly, "That's it! That's totally it!"

"What's what?" Raphael asked

"That expo! I can wipe the floor easily with those guys, April wouldn't have to break a sweat, and she'd get to have a good laugh too. I've done more than enough for her, now she can have a good time with something I'm really passionate about. I'll ask her tonight at the skating rink"

He suddenly stopped himself, realizing what he'd done. "Wait" he said, "Aw, I switched the radio off before it could tell you how to apply"

Sensing the opportunity for a spot of mischief, Raphael chimed in.

"Oh don't worry Mike, I've heard that commercial before, I know EXACTLY how you apply, but first I need to ask, do you have any cash with you right now?" he asked

"Fifty bucks. April's aunt gave it to me as an early present when she last visited. Spend it wisely were her exact words.

Wise isn't how I operate so I haven't dared spend it out of fear I'd get something really stupid and she'd find out"

"Following me has never been wiser where that cash is concerned" Raphael said, grabbing Michelangelo by the hand and dragging him along, "C'mon" he said.

"Raph, what are you up to?" Leonardo said, suspecting fowl play.

"Keep up the decorating, we may take a while" Raphael said, and the two swiftly exited the kitchen and the lair.

Opting to shake off Raphael's intentions and save his thoughts for another time, Leonardo resumed decorating, having particular trouble with a piece of mistletoe. The temporary peace was, however, shattered by a loud range of rambling coming from ahead of him, as Donatello walked in, screaming at someone on his Turtle-Com.

"I said CALM DOWN, I'll do whatever I can" he said

"What's up Donatello?" Leonardo asked

"Oh it's Irma" Donatello replied, "One of her Christmas presents is "defective", she wants me to fix it"

"Any word on when Master Splinter is coming back from Florida? You were trying to contact him earlier" Leonardo said, wanting to change the subject off of Irma as quickly as possible for Donatello's sake.

"Oh that's no problem Leonardo, Splinter took an early bus. He contacted me just before Irma patched in and began hollering"

"I am NOT hollering" Irma's voice insisted as it rang out from the Turtle-Com.

"At least he's safe" Leonardo said.

"He's also bringing some old friends around for the holidays: The Punk Frogs" Donatello added. Leonardo was now ecstatic.

"That's great news" he said, and got off the chair, grabbing his winter clothes off a clothes hanger, "I'll go meet him at the station. Could you finish up the decorations before you go for Irma's present? Raph and Mike have done a runner" Leonardo asked

"Sure, leave ME with all the practical stuff" Donatello replied in a sarcastic tone.

"Great, we'll try and get back for dinner" Leonardo said, and darted out of the lair.

"Wait, Leo, WHO'S GOING TO COOK THE DINNER? LEO?" Donatello yelled, but it was too late.

"Great" he said.

At the local prison, Officer Paul Tobias was feeling the grind that came with the regular patrols of his sector of the building. Prisoners that had gotten to know him over the many months and years continued their daily habit of heckling him, attempting to wind him up. He paid them no mind, and preferred keeping any commands to keep calm to his partner Bret Trent, who relished the opportunity to play the intimidation game with those he was responsible for.

Walking over to Bret, Paul found he was occupied more with a book than what the prisoners were up to. He took a peek at the title: "A Christmas Carol".

"Of course" Tobias said. Bret peered up at him and nodded.

"Just taking a peek at the middle of it" Bret replied. "Christmas present, don't want to get to the depressing part too quickly"

"Afraid it will blight your merriest of days by speaking true of your attitude?" came a raspy voice from the cell behind the two officers. Bret instantly took to the defence.

"Quiet you" he said.

"I thought he only talked to the rats" Paul said, and took a gander at the large rodent Bret kept as a pet as it dangled off of the man's keys. Part of him felt more than uneasy about Bret keeping that thing around the man the known world identified as "The Rat King"

"I have learned a great deal from conversing with the true vermin of the world that which makes up most of humanity. It has given me a greater appreciation of the subjects I serve, the oppressed journeymen of the cursed Earth around us"

Bret laughed. "Your loyal subjects haven't lifted a finger to bust you out, probably too busy with the tiniest scraps of cheese left on a street curb, or finding the jangling of keys to be the most rewarding exercise they can partake in. Wake up Rat King, it's been seven years of a thirteen-plus sentence and your kingdom's crumbled more than the average cookie"

With that said, Bret shut the book, his recreational activity shattered by the disruption on hand, he went over to the radio perched on the table and activated it.

As the latest smash-hit songs began playing over the airwaves, the collection of prisoners in the cells raised their voices in protests at the sickening sounds of mediocre output. Bret was more than happy to add to their memory by turning up the volume.

The barrage of music was, however, soon cut short by a break for the latest local news bulletins.

The prisoners welcomed the reprieve and started heckling Bret with loud cat-calls and fowl-tempered songs at his expense. Rat King didn't join in, feeling this sort of interaction with the lowest of the low was beneath his station.

"And in local news, after weeks of dealing with a growing infestation of rats, the St. Wells Orphanage is to receive a visit from the city's top exterminator unit, who will be using the opportunity to test out a different type of gas on the rodent incursion, one that will render them helpless within an instant rather than a few seconds" announced the newsreader.

Bret welcomed this bit of news, as it enabled him to take another swing at his choice of target this day.

"Looks like your crumbling kingdom's taken another hard bite" he said, letting out another piggish laugh, and stroking the fur of his pet rat, placing it back on the edge of his keys.

The Rat King, whilst clearly incensed, remained composed and collected.

"Despite how much you people repulse me, I have learned many a new trick from you, tricks that will help me

Do you want to know of the many tricks I have learned from you people?" Rat King asked. Bret waved him off, uninterested, and took to playing with his pet rat, allowing it to walk gently along both of his hands and up his arm.

Paul, however, was curious by what the Rat King was talking about.

"Tell me" he said.

"Have you ever heard of Sigil magic?" The Rat King asked. Paul shook his head.

"It's relatively simple. Anyone can practice it, it is a clear cut way to understanding the realms of chaos magic, you can make just about anything happen to you, and it comes to you almost instantly. Simply write down a desire in the form of a sentence, take out the repeated letters of said sentence, then take out the vowels. You should be left with a string of consonants, take the consonants, rearrange them, and mash them up. What you should have is something that does not resemble the original sentence. Stare at what you have created, concentrate all your mental energy on it, and inevitably your desire will manifest gradually over time"

Paul was mesmerized by the explanation. The Rat King suddenly leaned forward, beckoning Paul to come closer so he could gently whisper in his ear.

"Do you wish to know of my deepest desire?" he said. Paul nodded, transfixed by the knowledge he was being given, he was eager to learn.

"I wanted to direct a Hollywood movie" he said. Paul took a step backwards, a tad baffled.

Suddenly, the rat bit deep into Bret's hand. Bret screamed and tried to shake off the creature. Paul ran over to his friend and tried to pry the creature off him, the rat finally let go and ran down the side of Bret's body, quickly snagging it's teeth on the keys and running towards the Rat King's cell. The Rat King picked up the keys from the rodent, stroked its little head and kissed it gently, before inserting the key into the lock of the door. The cell door swung open and he stepped out.

"This day had been long prepared for me as soon as you first brought your pet into this pit many months ago" he told Bret, who was in very apparent pain. "The world, however, had ceased to interest me, you were quite right, my kingdom had crumbled, but now that forces are gathering, action is apparent, my kingdom has come again"

All around him, he could feel chaos in motion. The desperation of prisoners hungry for equal freedom, the distress of his captors as they scrambled for their guns. He whistled gently as he walked over to Paul and kicked the gun out of his hand and delivered another vicious kick to his head, knocking him down. Bret reached for his own gun, but his once faithful furry friend was keen to attack him once again, clawing away at his eyes. The Rat King beckoned the rat to him, it ran up and crawled up the side of his leg and up to his shoulder.

The Rat King kneeled down next to Paul, who was barely conscious; he put one finger up to his chin and forced him to stare into his glowing red eyes.

"When the time comes to make your report, you will tell of my escape in a precise amount of detail, you will talk of this plan, and you will talk of my intent. What I intend to do will be talked about for years to come, word will eventually reach Hollywood, ever desperate for an idea, a moment that defines larger than life ambition and perseverance. In time, ten years, twenty, or even less, a movie will likely be made following, to the letter, my directions, my details, my desires...my ambition will come to life, all without having to play the game by their rules"

Paul groaned, and finally gave in to his injuries, slowly slipping into unconsciousness. The Rat King turned and started running down the corridors of the prison. As he did so, he tossed the keys into another cell, allowing another prisoner to take his leave, and from there the domino effect began. By the time The Rat King was out of his wing of the prison, the seeds of a full scale riot was being sown.

Soon he, and eventually his subjects, would taste true freedom, and so much more would come afterwards.

Such was his desire.





***

Donatello buzzed the door to Irma's apartment once again. This was now the fourth time in a row.

He knew someone was in, as he could hear clear barking on the other end, but a furry four-legged friend was not who he'd come to visit. Time was not on his side. So many priorities were running through his head. He STILL had to prepare dinner for the other Turtles, Splinter, AND their visitors the Punk Frogs. On top of that, his own stomach was feeling the hunger grind. All this to come and he had yet to pick up the item Irma wanted repaired. He didn't know how he was going to fit it all into the next few hours.

"Come on, open up" Donatello said out loud, tapping his hands lightly on his legs, trying to keep himself amused, he started playing a little tune in his head and ended up getting a bit carried away with it. He began to twirl and take steps to the left and right, before commencing a series of aerobics stretches, bending over and touching his tip toes with his hands.

As he continued this technique, the door to the apartment opened and Irma emerged, dressed in a blue dressing gown, her feet covered in woolly slippers that matched the gown in colour. Donatello froze when he saw the slippers, and abruptly turned around, trying to collect himself and get back to a more serious stance, he brushed himself down and turned back to face her.

"Sorry Irma, I just got bored waiting for some sign of life beyond that...door" he said, briefly trailing off as he got a closer look at the amused Irma. She was standing upright, a comb in her right hand, her hair, usually held up, was down, and she wasn't wearing her glasses.

"Donny? Hello?" Irma said, waving her free hand in front of Donatello's glazed expression, snapping her fingers to try and get his attention. Finally, she reached for her pair of glasses on the table just behind the door and put them on.

"There, do you recognise me now?" Irma asked. Donatello finally snapped out of his funk. He didn't quite know what had just come over him, only that it had provided a far better distraction than his impromptu exercise outside. He sort of smiled back at her, not knowing what to say. Irma shrugged and brushed her hair a bit, beckoning Donatello to come into the apartment with a turn of her head

"I was taking a shower" she said as she let Donatello in, "If it wasn't obvious enough, you have to shed a couple of things before you can hose down"

"I get it, I get it" Donatello insisted.

As he entered the living area of the apartment, the source of the barking the Turtle had heard earlier got closer, before revealing itself to be a small, but lively and energetic dog. Donatello scooped it up, it keenly licked his face.

"Why hello there boy" Donatello said, stroking the dog's back, "I didn't know you still had this lovely thing Irma, I've been around here a couple of times and he's never around"

"I kind of share him with the whole of the apartment complex, the other tenants used to take him in whenever I was working at Channel Six or busy with house chores. I've obviously had a lot of free time since I lost my job" she explained, she then drifted off slightly, thinking back to the time she met the dog

"You know, it's funny" she said, "I know I got that thing at the height of that madness involving three of you Turtles and that love potion that made them ga-ga over me, but I've never found out which one of them sent me that adorable creature"

"It's the thought that counts Irma, best not to dwell on the "hows" and "whys" of things and just bask in the gift given to you" Donatello advised, and put the dog down. He could tell Irma was still distant in her thoughts, and wondered if it had anything to do with the loss of her job.

"How are you holding up without any income?" he said.

"I may spend a little wildly, but when push comes to shove, I save wisely" Irma replied, putting the coffee mug down on her computer desk. "I'm looking to save up and start a series of aerobics tutorial DVDs over the next year or so, I've found it a proper and delightful hobby the last couple of months, a real light-headed, light-hearted distraction"

"Great minds think alike" Donatello muttered to himself, still unable to shake off that ridiculous routine he was indulging in before Irma greeted him. He opted to change the subject. He noticed a large stuffed teddy bear sprawled on the sofa.

"That the present you want fixed?" he said

"Yeah, the latest thing from an online novelty store. My ex sent it over to me" Irma said

"So you and Howie Hardy aren't making sweet music together?" Donatello asked

"I don't know why we're always on and off the way we are, I guess I just don't find him inventive enough, he always stays in the box rather than step out of it" Irma explained, "Anyway, we're still friends, and we do share the same sense of fun, so we've been giving each other silly presents over the holidays, kind of elevates our moods during a season where everyone else is so certain about things and we're so unsure if the next step is the right one"

"What's exactly wrong with this thing?" Donatello continued, touching the bear delicately with his finger, it gently fell down upon contact.

"It won't talk" Irma explained, "It's got about fifteen different phrases it can churn out, usually one for each month of the year, but it has a few extra things to say about Christmas"

"Aw gee Irma, this is a very sweet gift all things considered" Donatello said, and looked at the instructions on the bear's tag: "Press my tummy and I'll make it funny". He proceeded to press the bear's stomach, but what came out was a series of scrambled, distorted rasps in a low monotone voice.

"Yeah, I see what you mean" Donatello said, and picked the bear up, "Nevermind though, I'll have it good as new in no short order"

"Thanks Donny" Irma said, "With everything going on, I need something to remind me of what Christmas is really like"

"I'd best get going, I've got a Christmas roast to prepare, and now I've got to deal with a bear" Donatello said, and scrambled for the door, only to trip up and fall down. The dog, getting excited, began to dash around the fallen Turtle in a mad circle.

"With moments like this, you'll be the subject of a different kind of roast entirely one of these days" Irma joked.

***

Back at the Ice rink, April was huddled in the back of her news van, looking over the rushes of footage she had directed, cherry-picking the best shots and pointing out which ones to focus more on.

She was enjoying this particular job, it felt like a major step-up from regular reporting, she felt more in command.

So many times she can put together a compelling story only for her director to act up or for things to be interrupted by outside forces and no attempt would sometimes be made to remount the story. As she had proven several times over the last few months, only she seemed to have the stones to press forward with her ambitious attempts at conveying an important event to the general public, and if she could bring that fearlessness to everyone working for her, that could only lead to better reporting.

Before she could give instructions on how to best edit down the shots, she was interrupted by one of the news crew.

"Excuse me Mss O'Neil, but Mr. Fenwick is back from his errand" he said. April rolled her eyes.

"Fine, let's get this over with" she said, and exited the news van, grabbing her pink mittens off the control console and putting them on along with her ear-muffs.

As she exited the van and took one look at Vernon, she was overcome with an emotional response, one that she desperately needed after a couple of pent-up hours dealing with all the footage she'd shot.

There, standing before her, was Vernon dressed head to toe like Father Christmas. Right down to a beard that looked far too big for anyone to realistically claim as his own, his waist was noticeably wider, trying to emulate the portliness of the character. Vernon opened up the coat to reveal large amounts of padding beneath.

"You don't have to point out how ingenious it is, I'm more than happy to show you" he said. April couldn't contain herself. "Vernon, you look like you can barely sit in a sleigh let alone ride one"

"Well it's a good thing we're not committing that far to this premise isn't it?" Vernon said dismissively and clicked his fingers. At the silent command, another member of the crew approached them with a pair of ice skates, Vernon took them, and tried to kneel down, only to split his pants in the attempt. The more misfortune that occurred to him, the merrier April's mood became.

"Just wait 'till you see me spread real joy to the little ones on that rink, Mr. Thompson's nephews' eyes will just light up when they watch me in action at home on television" he said as he put the skates.

"Yeah, in the meantime, most of us watching you in person will be throwing up" April remarked.

When it became obvious Vernon was having a lot of difficulty putting the skates on, April kneeled down and helped him out, albeit reluctantly. If anything, she was just trying to get back to more interesting work, which Vernon was doing his unintentional best to hold up.

"By the way, after putting up with what feels like an age of inquirers on my end, I've worked out how to give the right answer after all" April said, not sure why she was sharing this with Vernon, but felt like she had to share her excitement with people familiar with her, "Something came up about ten minutes before you arrived"

"That's all well and good, but I'm far concerned with my brilliant solution to the Santa supply" Vernon said, and, with the help of April, got to his feet. He staggered over to the rink and took to the ice.

"Stay on him" April instructed to the cameraman, "I don't want to miss an instant of this, the office Christmas tape needs as many fowl-ups as it can muster"

Sure enough, Vernon didn't disappoint. Losing his balance frequently, he would often cut in between dancing partners and solo exhibitionists, sometimes knocking them over or at the very least getting a sharp and harsh lecture.

He tried his luck with the kids, asking a young boy what he'd like for Christmas.

"Your beard" he said, and yanked it off, putting it on his own face and parading around with it. Vernon's own face began to gradually sink.

Back in the van, April once more felt like she was in control. No amount of ego-stroking from Vernon would get in her mood this day. Today was a day of real authority for her. It was a day of real empowerment, not just as a director or as a reporter, but a regular woman as well.

She couldn't wait to share such enthusiasm with the guys, provided they ever got here.

Her mood was slightly marred, however, when another crewman jumped in with a breaking story

"April, there's been a massive prison break-out, we just heard it on the news, it was instigated by the Rat King" he said.

"So much for peaceful holiday spirit" April replied, "Still, one can hope they receive a visit from the Turtles of Christmas Present"

***



Raphael wished he had a watch to check as he finished off his hot and spicy meatball sandwich inside the nearby Subway restaurant. Michelangelo had been in the bathroom for about thirty minutes.

He wondered if he was having some "difficulty" given what had happened earlier with the two of them. Perhaps Michelangelo should have went before hand. He couldn't change what was transpiring now, he could only cringe to himself whenever someone else walked out of the rest room with an elated expression on their face and sounds of relentless laughter echoing from their voices.

Finally, Michelangelo stepped out. The place had become a lot busier in the half hour he had spent in there, and so many more customers got their first-hand look at what he was wearing. Like any who had been in the bathroom with him doing their business, many fell about in hysterical fits.

Draped from head to toe in a long velvet and purple cape, a sharp tuxedo, no shoes, and tight trousers with a replica snakeskin belt, and a twirly moustache covering his mouth, Michelangelo looked like someone had overcompensated at Halloween. He had trouble walking in the outfit, almost tripping up over the cape, which sparked further laughs from the crowd. Michelangelo eventually collected much of the cape up in his arms and sped towards the door. Raphael followed him.

"I can't believe you took so long in there" Raphael said as the two left Subway, "What was the matter? Did the "Phantom of the Arctic" feel a little too stiff under the collar in more ways than one?"

"Blame how tight these pants are" Michelangelo replied, "They're not coming off anytime soon"

"Not a bad notion in your case" Raphael remarked.

As the two walked down the street, Michelangelo continued to provoke awkward looks from passers-by. He felt embarrassed to even be wearing this. He was even frightening little babies as a mother pushed a pram past him, as soon as he and the baby in the pram made eye contact, the child was reduced to tears.

"Why did you insist on wearing that thing all the way to the rink?" Raphael asked, "At least going as your regular old self, people wouldn't be paging the heckler-hill mob notifying them the hooded claw was in town"

"Who are you calling old?" Michelangelo asked. Raphael shrugged, and changed the subject

"You didn't lose what was necessary for the application while you were in there right?" Raphael asked.

Michelangelo nodded, "Yeah, it's in my side pocket. I hope April doesn't mind that we went cheap on it" he said, "We needed more than enough to buy the item AND this awful outfit"

"Hey, like I've been saying, it's just a little thing to get you two in, besides, no matter how pricy it is, it's the look on April's face that will supply you with a truly priceless moment" Raphael advised."She'll be blown away by the offer"

The two passed a parked car, where a dog was locked inside of it, waiting for its owner to come out of the nearby store. Michelangelo waved to the little dog, taken in by its cuteness, but it too was taken aback by his costumed appearance and began ringing out a series of alert barks.

"Man, this Phantom suit really likes to blend reality and fiction together, whoever else bought this must have some seriously lonely nights to himself" he said,. "I don't think they can have pets dressed like this"

Michelangelo turned around and found Raphael was distracted, staring at a window full of televisions, where an emergency news report was being broadcast

"Police have been called to St Wells Orphanage, where what appeared to be a regular visit by the local exterminator soon escalated into a dangerous and ongoing hostage situation. The alleged exterminator has since barricaded himself inside the building, trapping the estimated number of 210 innocent children in with him. We talked to a senior staff member who managed to survive an altercation with the kidnapper"

The reporter switched to a live feed of the orphanage to talk with the victim, he was visibly shaken, but tried to compose himself for the cameras.

"What can you tell us about the situation?" the reporter asked

"It was...it was all so sudden" the man said, still rattled, "I opened the door and he said he was there to "gather the vermin", I invited him in, suddenly I noticed a large rat coming out of his jacket pocket, it ran up his shoulder and nibbled a bit at his ear, he seemed to smile at that. Then, I noticed his eyes glowing, I told him it was his job to get rid of such things, then he replied "The only thing we need rid of is you", then his eyes glowed a bright red, he picked me up by the neck of my tie, lifted me high above the air, and tossed me to the ground, then he shut the door. We have to get those children out of there, there's no telling what that man is capable of"

"That sounds an awful lot like a dirty rat we happen to know" Raphael said as he digested the information, "Come on, that orphanage isn't far from here"

"Can't we wait 'till I get out of this thing first?" Michelangelo asked, having more than enough difficulty trying to slip the replica snakeskin belt loose.

"No time for your present Mikey, we've got to ensure those kids have a future" Raphael said.

As the two began heading down the street, Raphael patched in to Donatello's frequency on the Turtle-Com. However, he was met with complete static

"Now what's that busy brainiac up to to warrant radio silence?" Raphael said.

With the crisis still fresh in his mind, he realized he had no time to dwell on it. With Leonardo busy collecting Master Splinter, and unable to reach Donatello, it seemed all hope for the children of St. Wells lied with the unlikely heroic blend of a comedian and an idiot.

***

Pride.

It was forever a fragile thing.

At the most crucial of seconds, it can be dented, and all one can feel afterwards is a sense of strong humiliation.

As Donatello lit a candle and illuminated the now completely darkened lair, he felt such overwhelming humility wash over him. He stared at the oven, just a few minutes ago alive and vibrant with heat, cooking the large Christmas roast that would have more than sufficed for his fellow Turtles, his sensei, and their guests from Florida.

Now the roast, after enjoying some many minutes of tantalising heat, would endure such heat no more and instead be subjected to a cooling off period that would delay the feast for much longer.

Donatello stared at the source of the power blackout, a small silver and emerald green tool connected to a series of wires plugged into a nearby adaptor unit. The tool had a small blue orb attached to it, with several dents visible in it.

Previously, it had no dents at all, but that was before he reversed the polarity of the neutron flow three whole times trying to get the job done quicker. The resulting surge had nullified all the power in the lair, including the power in his recharging Turtle-Com.

This sonic remote was one of his latest inventions. When it functioned properly, it could run well over fifty things at once. It could even operate machinery from a thousand mile radius with the right adjustments. Donatello was at least relieved he didn't guide the Turtle Van from the lair with it, otherwise Leonardo would never come back with his passengers.

Now that his carelessness and eagerness to do several things at once had led to the undoing of the lair, Donatello would now have to make repairs to Irma's teddy bear the old fashioned way. Using nothing more than a pair of hands, some tools, and his knowledge of computerized micro-chips.

What annoyed him more was that the process wouldn't even take him that long. It would take about twenty minutes in his estimation. Twenty minutes, and he had tried using the device to make the repairs in just one, with a fifteen minute roast taking about five had his invention ran smoothly.

He was a Turtle, and yet he couldn't seem to take anything slowly.

So he began to work, the candlelight his only companion, the only glimmer of warmth and hope in a mercilessly cold environment. He collected his tools and began to work away.

As the twenty minutes passed, Donatello kept going back to the chip in the bear, pressing it to see if the distortions were gradually being diminished with every adjustment.

He was delighted when he got "Merry..." followed by "Roses are red...", and then an utterance of "You better not...", it was nice to get such optimistic output from the thing at a time where he really needed a pick-me-up. The half-complete messages spurred him on and he continued to make repairs.

Eventually, the twenty minutes eventually passed and all seemed well. Donatello pressed the button down on the bear to hear the finished product in it's clearest form.

What he got made his heart and head sink.

"Merry Christmas...if that makes you go away for another twelve months, why not say it?" uttered the bear.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, Christmas brings cheer, which is why I hate you" followed.

"You better not hope, you best start to cry, Christmas is ruined, I'm telling you why...Santa Claus does not exist" followed that in a slightly out-of-tune melody, closely followed up by a raspberry blow.

Donatello didn't bother with the remaining messages. He was too incensed to continue.

Twenty minutes of his life wasted on a gift fit for pessimist adults and rebellious teens at a time of great benevolence. Twenty minutes that he tried to squeeze into one, which had cost him Christmas dinner, some free time to watch television and catch up on the news, and no way of communicating with the other Turtles to let them know what was going on.

All of it down the drain just to entertain Irma's dry and cruel sense of humour.

Donatello thought long and hard to himself, trying not to get too worked up at this time of the year, he tried to understand thing from Irma's perspective. The woman had recently lost her job, she'd broken up with her boyfriend, she was contemplating a different career path that could succeed or fail in the future.

All these things coming to the surface WOULD make her edgy.

But what really irritated him was that she had begged him for help in this situation. He was not always this much of an optimist, but often tried to be around this time of year. After all, if he didn't have some encouragement and optimism, the need for invention and creativity of any sort would be non-existent.

Now he'd been taken for a ride, he had contributed to Irma's misery by succeeding in his repairs, and the very idea of contributing to someone's foul mood was eating away at him.

"Right, if that's the way that...that woman wants to play it, I know just how to pay her back" he said, and, scrambling for a few fresh micro-chips, he set to work on supplying her with the right kind of payback.

At St. Wells Orphanage, the police squadrons had gathered and the situation was being assessed. The man in charge of the delicate operation, Sam Barrette, took to the old cliché of using a megaphone to yell out impassioned pleas to the cause of the hostage crisis for some kind of negotiation

"Rat King, we are willing to give you a fair shake so long as you give up your hostages" Barrette began, "Let them go one by one and we promise to allow the number of rodents pent up in that building safe passage out of it and back into the sewers. "

It wasn't long before a small note slipped out of the window. One of the officers ran up to collect it, he came over to Barrette's car and gave him the note. Opening it, Barrette found an assortments of vowels and crossed out letters. He processed it a little in his head and deduced the complete sentence was "Now I want to be a first grade teacher"

"Any idea what that means sir?" the officer asked. Barrette tore up the note, "He's playing games with us" Barrette replied. "And we can't afford to deal our hands so long as the children are in danger. It's bad enough this unit is practically chicken feed for him so many of the other patrols are dealing with the prison riot"

"Then allow us to lay a couple of green eggs on this large ham" came a snappy, enthusiastic voice. Barrett's men raised their weapons as two figures came into view. Barrette advised them to hold their fire, recognizing at least one of them

"Hold your horses fellas, these things are almost always on our side" he said, and went over to greet Raphael and Michelangelo of Ninja Turtles fame. "Teenage Mutant Turtles right?"

"You're missing the Ninja part dude" Michelangelo said

"Sorry, I grew up watching you guys on British tv back when the word "ninja" was a no-no. Frankly, I always found that less cheesy than the full thing" Barrette explained. "What can we do for you?"

"We caught wind of this bad storm and thought we could settle it for you" Raphael said, pointing to the orphanage, "How's the situation?"

"Troubling" Barrette replied, "Rat King has a good number in there, and we have to also take into account the rodent problem still present in the place, he could be surrounding those poor kids with as up to one hundred plus of vermin carrying all sorts of diseases, and they'll probably be peckish too, they could go for the building, they could go for the kids, we're up against the wall"

"Then we better tear down some walls down before the rats do" Michelangelo said. Barrette walked over to him, inspecting his gaudy outfit.

"And what exactly can you do to help out? Wave a magic wand and utter the lines "Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches?" Barrette said, mocking Michelangelo's attire, even pulling off his fake moustache, "There's only two of you. To get the job done you've got to be comprised of all fours"

"Hey, two birds is good for one stone" Raphael said, "Given all the cutbacks at work this time of year, we can only apologize you're not getting the full severance package"

"Please don't joke about salary rates at this time of year around me" Barrette said, before walking back to his car, "Go home and enjoy your holidays as best you can, I can't risk just using two of you, Blade, escort them out of here" he said to a taller man in a police outfit, "Sure boss" he said. Barrette turned around, something was off.

"Wait, that's not Blade's voice" he said, and put his hand on the officer's shoulder. Suddenly, the "officer" twirled around, handcuffed Barrett's hand to his own, and pulled him over, wrapping his arm around his neck, reaching for his weapon, and placing it against his temple.

"I'm afraid Blade became indisposed when he went for that doughnut around the corner" the man said, "I spilled out of the riot not knowing what to do with myself, so I opted to follow the Rat King and be close to the action. Unfortunately, as you just proved, my disguise isn't very foolproof, so we're going with a plan inspired by current events. I'm taking you hostage and guaranteeing myself safe passage out of here"

He pointed to the other officers, helpless to do much about it, "And none of you shall stop me" the criminal continued.

However, as he tried to move away, he found his legs snagged in some kind of rope that had wrapped around them. As he tried to move, he was hoisted from his position and sent crashing to the ground below.

As he groggily raised his head, it was sent crashing back to the pavement by the drop of a knee pad coming down from above as Raphael leapt off a police car and landed on him.

Michelangelo walked over to the crook, caught in his grappling hook wire, dusted his hands, and began to sing a little song to himself, "Two hearts, taking out just one mind..."

Raphael helped Barrette up, taking the key from the criminal's hand and freeing the officer. "Now that you've seen how this little double-take works, you sure you don't want us to give the Rat King twice the trouble?"

"Ok, ok, you've impressed me" Barrette said.

"Radical burst of enthusiasm dude" Michelangelo said, "Only question now is...how do we get in? Rat King's literally nailed it when it comes to protecting his crash pad"

"We can't use the windows either, that wouldn't even surprise him, he could give the order for one of those kids to be a chew toy for his pets"

Raphael pondered the problem for a while longer, but it wasn't long before Michelangelo came up with the answer simply by looking up. He nudged Raphael and pointed to what he saw

"Oh you've got to be kidding" Raphael said

"Hey, around this time of year we usually leave it to the pro with the sleigh, but if we want to wrap this up in a neat bow we're going to have to try it ourselves"

"Ok, but just so you know, it's a definite we'll be getting lumps of coal this Christmas" Raphael remarked.

***
The Rat King couldn't help but feel proud of the police waiting outside for him. Whoever was in charge of them knew exactly what to say and how to pander to his exact needs. Were this any other kind of situation, he might even entertain the idea of compliance.

The safety of the children for the survival of what was, in his mind, the superior species.

But things hadn't quite worked out that way.

Instead, when he took over the orphanage, overpowered and tied up what remained of the staff, and used his unique communication skills to rally up all the rats in the building, he stumbled across a unique range of reactions from the children.

Some were clearly frightened, and those that were huddled together in a tight circle, a few of the females standing atop chairs, while the rats simply looked up at them, curiosity their only real intent, but the fear of what they could do keeping the girls anchored to the spot.

Others, in particular the males, gravitated to his presence, taken in by how "cool" he was. Examining some of the rooms, the Rat King had even found that some of the children had even been secretly keeping some of the rats as pets and nourishing them, even putting them in small cages with female types so they could continue to breed.

So impressed was the Rat King that he elected not to make things too simple for himself, nothing so cut-and-dry as taking the rats from the building and building his kingdom up from scratch. This represented a different type of opportunity for him.

He would gather those that were not fazed by him or his subjects, he would sit them down, and he would tell them stories. Stories that gave them inspiration and interest in the world that slipped so far beneath the gaze of surface dwellers, and he hoped that, with such insight and inspiration, they would make something of their lives in their adult years, devoting their time to his favourite type of creature, and giving them greater control and dominion of the land above.

He began with the story of his prison escape, keeping the kids current with the news. It seemed to work, as many faces were alight with interest and were wowed by the "cool" factor of how resourceful the rat situated on his shoulder was in assisting the break-out.

"Tell another story Mr. King" echoed an ecstatic voice. The Rat King was surprised to find it was female, who was taking the time to pet some of the surrounding rats.

"Perhaps defying convention IS the mandate of the day" The Rat King expressed, and chose to share with them something different,

"What better way to convey that than to submit for your approval, the tale of the beast in the machine. When I was first beginning to build my kingdom, I made the mistake of assuming my subjects were not all equal...that they were of two distinct groups, the strong, and the weak. I punished those that were feeble and found it hard to keep up by feeding them to small white robotic creatures I had fished out of the remains of some derelict mansion uptown.

One day, I put one of these perceived failings in the belly of the machine. I didn't pay it any mind, that is, until a few days later, where I found the creature split wide open, with a gaping hole inside of it, and the rat back amongst the pack, evident by the mesh of wiring still fresh in its teeth and which coated whole areas of it's body. Against all odds, it had chewed and clawed what was thought to be impenetrable and impossible to slip out of. It was designed as the perfect prison, and on this occasion, it had failed. It is then that I realised that, while there was the strong, and there was the weak, there was also a third distinct group I had overlooked: The adaptable.

From then on, I deemed my subjects all equal in stature, for they could rise to the occasion at any given opportunity. This is the lesson I give to you, be you of weak mind or ill heart, when you are taken in by a prison of any kind, trapped in either the machine supplied by society or one supplied by your lack of confidence and lack of vision, don't just trust your reliable instincts and the old ways, change the game, defy convention, and sharpen new skills, for we all learn every day, and the lessons learned will shape whatever kingdom you desire"

The children gave him a standing ovation for the stirring story, and demanded another.

However, before The Rat King could indulge them further, everyone suddenly allowed silence to overtake them, all so they could pick up further on some faint commotion coming from above them. Slight grunts and faint insults as what sounded like two people squabbling amongst themselves got louder and louder

"You're standing on my head" came one voice.

"Better that than your sai, did you have to take that out before you climbed in?" asked another

"What is this defiance?" The Rat King bellowed, "Who dares disrupt me when I am entertaining my court?"

The answer came to him in a crumpled heap as Michelangelo and Raphael finally lost their footing and came crashing down the chimney and out of the fireplace in the centre of the room.

The kids all began laughing at the sight as the two turtles rolled over on top of each other before hastily springing to their feet and trying to cut an unconvincing action pose in front of the huddled group.

"Alright, that wasn't fun, but we're all about business today anyway" Raphael said, dusting himself off.

Michelangelo examined himself, his costume was covered in soot.

"Look at the state of me dude, this dirty look is going to get me nothing but dirty looks at the Ice rink" Michelangelo said.

"Turtles" The Rat King said.

Raphael sarcastically bowed, "We live to serve my liege...,in your case to serve you time"

"Are you little rascals ok?" Raphael asked of the frightened girls huddled on the chair. They nodded.

One of the braver kids, not happy with the intrusion, walked over to Raphael and stomped on his foot.

"Go away, Mr. King is telling us stories, he's not hurting anyone" the kid said in defence of his captor. Raphael hopped about for a bit in pain, "Oh yeah, I can tell his storytelling has really left an impact on me" he replied.

"We've got a few stories that'll easily surpass anything he's been telling you little dude, starting with the tale of how we cleaned his clock today" Michelangelo said, and he tried to approach the Rat King, twirling his nun-chucks around.

However, one of the rats began to chew away at the back of his cape, which sent him reeling back. The distraction allowed The Rat King the chance to take out a laser gun and aim it at the helpless Turtle and opened fire, but Raphael was able to tackle Michelangelo, which in turn caused part of his cape to tear away from the grip of the rat's teeth, splitting it into two halves.

"I'm really starting to look the part aren't I?" Michelangelo said as he looked at the tattered remnants of his cape. Raphael quickly got him up as The Rat King's gun fired another shot. They ducked out of the way and cornered him from left to right, the rats scurrying over the pair of them as they did so, trying to protect their master, nibbling slightly at their eyes.

"Hey, I'm meant to be green and orange, not black and blue" Michelangelo replied, tearing the rats away from his face.

"We've gotta get clear of these furry fritters, they're making it impossible to kick the King off his throne" Raphael replied, throwing a few off of him

"My kingdom rallies to my defence, what can the two of you possibly do against thousands of four legged soldiers?" The Rat King uttered, raising his weapon and waiting until the creatures had managed to position the panicked pairing of Turtles in the middle of the hall, allowing him a clear cut shot that would render both of them helpless.

Suddenly, he found his moment interrupted by the little girl who had been brave enough to surround herself with the rats, the one that had encouraged him to tell the children another story. She stood in front of the two Turtles with her arms spread

"Please Mr. King, don't hurt them, it's Christmas" she said.

"Get out of the way kid" Raphael cried out

"Yeah, when that guy sets out to cut through someone, he doesn't care who's on the floor" Michelangelo added

"Out of the way youngling" The Rat King said, his finger squeezing down hard on the trigger. The girl remained where she was, anchored to the spot.

The tension mounted, the Rat King's trigger-finger trembled, the Turtles continued to struggle against the teeming hordes of rodents, unable to do anything to take the child out of harms' way.

Finally, when all seemed ideal, The Rat King sighed and relented, and tossed the gun away.

"Give them safe passage" he whispered. At this command, the rats ceased their attack on the two Turtles and swarmed around him.

The Rat King tore open the carpet beneath him, revealing the wooden floorboard, he pulled open one of the planks, and instructed the rats to pour down it.

The Turtles saw their opportunity to nab their foe and moved in, but the girl suddenly opted to shield him this time, "Like we were saying, he didn't harm us, he just told a story...he gave us a gift" she said.

"What gift was that?" Raphael asked

"What better gift than one of knowledge?" The Rat King replied, and, as soon as the last rat went under the board, he put up his hands in surrender, "And in turn, their patience, their tolerance, and their bravery taught me to no longer take an old saying for granted: Suffer not the children"

Michelangelo tied his grappling hook rope over The Rat King's hands whilst Raphael took freeing the helpless staff members.

Eventually the barricade blocking the door was lifted, enabling the Turtles to walk out of the building with their prisoner in tow. The cops ran over to them and took The Rat King into custody. As he was led away, several of the kids accompanied him, telling any officer who listened how he hadn't been a threat and he shouldn't be treated like a rat in a cage.

"I return to the belly of the beast, a prisoner of the machine...but remember what I told you my younglings...adaptability is a key of life, there are no groups, we are all of equal mind, and working within that mind, we will all become a pack" he said. The officers mocked his stirring speech by circularly moving their fingers near their temples. indicating he was "****oo"

As the car carrying The Rat King drove off, Barrette approached the Turtles. "Congratulations guys, we owe you for this, that must of been one hell of a fight "

"Hey, we didn't lift a finger except to rattle off the rats biting them" Raphael said, "Sometimes you just have to put it down to the good old spirit of the holidays"

"Amen dude, I just hope everyone at the rink is totally tubuiloso in spirit to look past my appearance" Michelangelo remarked, again referring to the tattered, coal-ridden remnants of his phantom outfit.

"I suppose being dressed like a phantom is the biggest reason you're making such an opera out of this" Raphael said.


***

As the news reports began to come in updating the city on the status of the hostage situation at St. Wells, Irma couldn't help but feel incredibly guilty as she watched everything unfold on television.

Learning that only two of the Turtles had played a hand in bringing the crisis to a halt had worried her, she wondered if Donatello had forsaken his responsibilities to the city because she had given him a task that felt so trivial and pointless compared to the magnitude of what had just transpired.

She had tried contacting him on the Turtle-Com when the crisis had begun, but there had been no answer, which only made her worry more.

Had he been attacked on his way home?

Did The Rat King get to him first?

So many questions, and ones that could only now be answered by a simple touch of her door buzzer, or, if he wanted to come through the side, a tap on her window.

She remembered the last time he tried that. She almost decapitated him with a frying pan. She allowed herself a warm smile when reflecting on that, but it was only momentary.

Finally, the door buzzed, Irma's pet roared into life, barking madly. Irma calmed the pet down with a few strokes and walked up to the door and unlocked it.

In came Donatello, a stern, icy look on his face. The heavy teddy bear Irma had wanted fixed clasped in both of his hands. Holding his head up, Donatello stomped over to the sofa and deposited the bear on it, before sitting down next to it, his arms folded and one leg crossed over the other.

"Don?" Irma uttered, a little nervous. Donatello looked over to the television. "What's going on?" he said.

Irma, realizing Donatello didn't know what had happened, panicked and hastily switched the television off.

"Hey, who needs to watch how the world works at winter? It's almost always the same unexciting thing" Irma anxiously replied, and took to the kitchen, "You want some coffee or anything?"

"A protein shake would do just fine" Donatello replied, "Be sure to use ALL your vegetables, I like it good, juicy, and in vast quantities"

Irma froze. He was only ever this excessive when he was mad about something.

"So, how'd the...repairs go?" she asked as she prepared the shake, hoping Donatello would oblige her if she did what he asked of her

"Oh it went pretty well all things considered...until I used a dues ex machina which ended up being a DUH ex machina" Donatello replied, "I caused a power outage that took out all the levels of electricity in the lair, so once I took your thing out of the shop, I had to utilize as much emergency power as possible. Still haven't quite succeeded there by the way" he continued.

By now, Irma felt like cowering in a corner, her head hung in shame. Donatello's sarcasm-laced rant was gnawing away at her

"I'm using as many candles as I can just to find my way through the lair, I managed to get my Turtle-Com going once again, I might have to buy a couple of gerbils at the pet store and attach them to special conductor treadmills that can generate consistent energy levels, which means having to sacrifice my Christmas budget, and it looks like a succulent Christmas dinner for everyone at home is off the cards too" he continued, "But all of that doesn't matter because repairing YOUR teddy bear with all it's cute and optimistic language about the holidays is all I cared about"

"So you HAVE heard it rattle off a few things correct?" Irma asked, pouring the vegetables into the blender and scrunching them up to form an unappealing green, purple and orange liquid.

"Oh I heard it alright...I caught a lot of interesting things, but hey, it's your gift, maybe you ought to hear it yourself?"

Irma gulped. "I don't think so...I don't exactly feel very moody anymore"

"Oh I think this bear is exactly what you need Irma, come on, you owe me as much for taking all that time to make it work again"

Irma finished preparing the shake and brought it over to Donatello, he patted the edge of the sofa, urging her to sit down. Irma grinned nervously and did so. She looked at the bear staring into her. She felt quite intimidated by the whole situation.

Donatello took the shake and downed it in one greedy gulp. He let out a small burp, wiped some of the liquid from his mouth and looked at Irma, urging her to press the bear's stomach, "Go on, let's hear some of that holiday cheer"

Irma was scared. Certain thoughts came to her mind, "Was Donatello so mad that he made certain adjustments to it himself? Would the bear be ruder than ever?"

Rationalizing that the fear of the unknown was a lot worse, Irma pressed the button and closed her eyes tight, bracing herself for the worst.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, Christmas is clear when I've got faith in you" came a distinctly familiar voice from the bear. Irma's eyes sprang open, and her face began to beam happily. She pressed the bear again

"Merry Christmas...if that makes you stays forever, why not say it every day?" the voice uttered. By now Irma could tell the voice was Donatello's. She turned back over to him

"How...what...I thought..." she rattled off in succession. Donatello shrugged.

"I replaced the original and much more pessimistic voice modulations with something a bit more upbeat, hope you don't mind" he said, "I figured you needed a bit of a boost over the holidays"

"You did all of that...for me?" Irma asked.

"What are friends for?" Donatello replied, and leaned over to give her a peck on the cheek, "Merry Christmas Irma"

As he prepared to get up, he found him being held to the spot by Irma, who clutched his hand tight.

"Don, this is way above and beyond what any normal friend would do for someone...this took real effort, effort I've rarely ever seen even from my long laundry list of suitors. You really put your back into this, all to snap me out of my salty attitude, that deserves some real sugar sweetheart"

She kissed him on the forehead. Donatello blushed brightly.

"My my Donatello, are you auditioning for the part of Rudolph?" she asked, observing the red around his face.

"I'm just really glad I was more upfront with giving you a gift this time" he said.

Irma was taken back. "What do you mean?" she said

"Well...who do you THINK got you that puppy?" he said.

Irma's eyes welled up, she looked at the dog as it lovingly darted across the room, she looked back at Donatello, and, without any further hesitation, gently kissed him on the mouth.

The two were anchored to the spot, suspended in a sense of timelessness, revelling in the merry moment, the pull of the holidays and the complexity of loneliness had conspired for real magic to unfold this fateful afternoon, and neither would just forget about it when it was over. This was now and forever. In this spark of passion, a lifetime of possibility was unfolding for the pair of them.

As both enjoyed the moment, Irma's phone suddenly started ringing, forcing her to pull away to answer. The two began giggling. As Irma got up, Donatello fell backwards in a fit of joyous hysterics, repeating the words "oh boy" and "wow" to himself repeatedly.

Irma got to the phone, trying hard to contain her own giggles, and answered. "Hello?" she said.

"Hi Irma, just me" came the familiar voice of April O'Neil, "I thought you wouldn't mind coming down to Rockefeller Centre to see me and the Phantom of the Arctic take to the rink, we go live in about thirty minutes"

"Sure, after all that's happened today, I think I need some air" Irma replied, looking back at Donatello, who waved at her nervously

"Great. Raphael also got in touch with me, he says Leonardo, Splinter and the Frogs will be joining us just in time for the skate-off" April continued, "See you then"

After April had ended the call, Irma looked back to Donatello, "Ready to go out for a bit?"

"We're rushing into things already?" Donatello asked. Irma shook her head, "April's skating off in half an hour, I want to see how she fares. Everyone's coming along"

"What should we tell them?" Donatello continued, springing up from the sofa and jumping wildly everywhere, energetic and excited.

"I'll just say I got my gift" Irma replied, gently patting Donatello's head and graciously stroking his face, "I won't specify which one"

Irma fetched the lead for her dog, attached it to the animal, and, arm in arm, she and Donatello walked out of the apartment to see the action at the rink unfold.

***

At the rink, there was a sense of unity from all assembled, as the kids were pouring onto the ice in droves and couples continued to make the most of their elegant and romantic glides across the floor.

As they skated and skidded across the floor, the helpless Vernon Fenwick was slumped somewhere in the middle, having slipped and fell on his bottom earlier, and finding himself unable to stand as a group of mischievous children surrounded him, holding hands and forming a protective circle, keeping him isolated. They began to sing an agonizing song.

"Ho Ho Hum, Santa's on his bum" they chanted. Vernon groaned.

What was worse was that, amongst the heckling kids, were Mr. Thompson's nephews, who had pressured their uncle to let them come down after seeing the turmoil Vernon had experienced in his Santa guise earlier.

While all this was unfolding, April was staring at her watch, checking the time, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her Phantom. It was almost time to hit the airwaves.

"Oh where is he? We're on in five" she said.

Suddenly, she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She turned around, and her worries melted away as a familiar face greeted her

"Happy holidays April" said the friendly voice of Leonardo, who was accompanied by Splinter and the Turtles' old allies, the Punk Frogs, all dressed in snugly jackets and mittens.

"Boy am I glad you got here. I heard the stations were all snowed in" April said

Leonardo nodded, "They certainly were, but the Frogs, sensei and I all volunteered to clear the paths as best we could" he said, "As a result, we couldn't pry ourselves away from it and couldn't deal with that hostage crisis down at the orphanage"

"We can only be thankful that the other, most urgent deed of the day was carried out by two of my students" Splinter said

"Speaking of them, where are Raphael and Michelangelo?" Leonardo asked, "Raphael told us to meet him, Mike and you here"

"Beats me Leonardo" April replied, "But at this rate, they'll have instants to spare rather than seconds"

"Boy it sure is nice seeing all those people dancing on top of frozen water like that" remarked Rasputin the Frog, "If only we could get some of that down in the swamp, it's always good and toasty down there"

"We've had such a nice bit of variety these last couple of hours" replied Napoleon Frog, "First by taking the bus rather than the pesky old sewer route, clearing up the busy Manhattan roads and getting a real taste of what a shovel can do, now I feel like going on the ice and showing everyone why frogs legs are the diamonds of the dance"

Donatello and Irma were the next to arrive, their dog in tow.

"We're here April" Irma said, "Now when exactly does the lout of the dance show up?"

"Be nice Irma...one of us has to be, since if he's any later I'm going to have to kill him" April said.

Leonardo noticed Donatello's arm was wrapped around Irma's.

"Are you in the escort business now or are you just happy to see her?" Leonardo asked. Donatello, alarmed, quickly yanked his arm out of Irma and waved to Leonardo.

A police car suddenly pulled up behind them, and out of it emerged Michelangelo and Raphael

"Thanks for the ride copper dude" Michelangelo replied, waving to officer Barrette, who waved back before driving away.. The two turtles walked over to greet Leonardo, the Frogs, Splinter, and April.

"I'm ready to put on a show dudette" he said. April took one look at the tattered, coal-ridden remnants of his outfit and tried to hold back her laughter.

"Yeah, you sure look the part" April remarked sarcastically, and pointed to the rink, "Brush yourself down a bit and get into the swing of things, let's really make an impact out there, just not the kind Vernon tends to make.


Michelangelo was nervous, but steeled himself up for the occasion, and, after wiping some of the dirt from his outfit, he took April's hand and glided across the ice. As the cameras came to life, so did the pair of them, starting off elegantly with a slow dance, then, as April whispered instructions to Michelangelo on what to do next, co-originating the entire session so he couldn't screw it up.

Michelangelo tried following everything to the letter, but on some occasions he slipped. He compensated for this by, at points where he thought he was careering out of control, he would pick April off of her feet and, before hitting the edge of the rink, stuck out one foot, it graced the side, enabling him to propel the foot off of it and dash back on to the rink with one leg still perched upright. April was impressed

"I've seen you sweep me off my feet when rescuing me from a burning building, but this is a whole other level for you" she said. Michelangelo smiled.

The burst of enthusiasm from her seemed to calm his nerves and the two were able to finish off the dance without much more incident. As April made the signal for the cameras to cut, she and Michelangelo gave each other a high five.

"Thanks for the dance lesson dudette, we're a total team out there" Michelangelo replied

"Think nothing of it Mike" April said

Michelangelo scratched the back of his head anxiously, "Er, April, I know this is a bit of a stretch for you to accept this, but according to Raph, I heard this was how you apply for this big thing I wanted you to go with me to..."

"Here it comes, here it comes" Raphael said excitedly, rubbing his hands and sporting a sinister grin.

"What are you getting at Mike?" April said

Michelangelo dug deep into his pocket and produced a small purple case, he popped it open, revealing a small brass ring dotted with micro sized diamond pebbles.

April clasped both of her hands together and put them against her mouth, she was awestruck

"Will you..." Michelangelo attempted to ask, but found himself stuttering, "Will you..."

Raphael couldn't contain himself anymore, he laughed out loud hysterically, "Oh boy, this is going into my next book on the best pranks ever, just look at the expression on her face"

"What are you up to now Raphael?" Leonardo said.

"Calm down Raph, calm down" Raphael said to himself, "I want to hear what she says about this, oh when I'm good, I'm good"

"Will you..." Michelangelo continued, trying desperately to get the words out. April put one finger to his mouth and whispered "sshhh", before saying "yes"

"But I didn't finish the question" Michelangelo said.

"You don't have to say anything else...yes, yes, I'll marry you" April replied

Raphael felt like punching the air, "Yes, that's what I'm..."

He suddenly froze, the magnitude of what he'd said coming to him.

"What did she say?" he said out loud.

"Not what I was getting at...but...hey, score one for bachelor Ninja Turtles everywhere" Michelangelo said, and threw his arms around April, the two embracing as several other people on the ice wiped their tears and applauded the sight.

"Obviously I've missed a scene or two in this episode?" Irma said

"I don't get it, she was supposed to...to...she wasn't meant to..." Raphael said to himself repeatedly.

"Nothing in life goes by the design of the one individual, but by the intent and heart of those united with common purpose" Splinter said, "I feel most proud today to see that tradition of life maintained"

"It was just a joke, that thing we got her was dirt cheap, I wouldn't have said 'yes' with a thing like that"

"It's the thought that counts Raphael" Donatello replied.

As the music on the rink's loudspeakers started up, "Finally Found" by Honeyz, everyone resumed dancing, including April and Michelangelo, all whilst Raphael continued to try and dissect just how much his prank had backfired.

"How was I?" April whispered to Michelangelo

"You were loud and proud babe" Michelangelo replied, he took another look at Raphael, "Think we should leave him like that all week?"

"It was a good thing you used your bathroom break earlier to let me in on what he was trying to pull on you, at least he didn't tell you what his idea of babysitting was, then we'd really be in trouble"

"I may be a little empty in the nest sometimes, but I've still got one chick in there that's well-fed" Michelangelo replied, happy to signify that he wasn't as gullible as Raphael had assumed, and that he had successfully gotten the better of the prankster of the group.

April kissed him on the forehead.

"Thanks" she said, "I've been struggling with finding the right answer for ages now...I don't think with everything that goes on that I'll ever find someone regular I can have a similar experience with. If anyone had to ask me that question, I'm glad it was you"

"Happy to oblige babe" Michelangelo replied, and ticked April's nose with his right hand.

"Mike?" April said.

"What?" Michelangelo replied

"Does it have to end?" she said.

"Woah...you mean...you want to actually keep this going for a week?" Michelangelo said, "Why not cut it off when the jokes in it's prime?"

"What if it doesn't have to be a joke?" April said, wrapping her arms around Michelangelo's neck. The Turtle got hot and heavy very quickly as uncertainty coursed through him.

"You said you couldn't find someone" Michelangelo said

"I said someone regular." she replied, "You guys have always been right up my street. Especially you. You've been saving my world so many times it's high time I swooped in and shared in yours"

"This is a pretty gnarly notion April...especially for two friends" Michelangelo replied, the dance helping to ease his nerves.

"We're best friends Mike. Best friends can make the most incredible things happen if they're brave enough, and I know precisely just how brave you are. No matter how much the weight of the world feels like it's pinning you down, you have the strength to lift it high above your shoulders and endure a task that puts even Atlas to shame"

"People are so gonna talk" Michelangelo said.

"Let them, so long as they say "that girl likes him, and he likes her"...do you Mike? Do you like me?"

Michelangelo was on the spot, part of him thought it wasn't fair, part of him was open to answering, excited, unsure, happy, conflicted, all the range of emotions were open to him. He chose in this instant to be brave.

"Of course I do. I always have...just never thought you'd ever..." he began; April cut him off by gently pressing her head against his.

"It's ok my brave little party dude" she whispered, "You can think about a lot of different things now"

As the music came to a stop the two ceased dancing and stood in the centre of the rink, they both looked up at the twinkling stars. They saw a shooting comet fly past.

"Think we should go as fast as that?" she asked

"I'm a turtle babe. We're going the only pace I know. Slow" he said.

"You're the boss" April replied, "And at least a boss like you won't dock my pay"

"So are we still going to that martial arts thing?" Michelangelo said.

"Oh totally" April said, posing in a fighting stance jokingly.

Eventually, the two left the rink, and, after April had overseen a few more cuts of the programme in the news van's editing suite for the complication programme over Christmas, joined the Turtles and the Frogs in the Turtle Van.

As the van drove down the busy streets, Raphael was still trying to piece together what had happened.

"I don't get it...you two? YOU TWO?" he continued, "Who in the heck would marry the pair of you?"

"Last I checked, Casey Jones is still a master of ceremonies down in Texas" Leonardo replied, smiling.

"Don't you join in too" Raphael said.

"Boy, I sure am hungry" Rasputin said, "Any chance we can head on down to your lair and chow down on some food, anything but Pizza will do"

"Sorry guys, I had a roast going, but there were complications" Donatello replied.

"Don't worry, I've got a plump one back at home, we can have dinner over there" Irma said. Donatello grinned.

"Where have you been all my life?" he asked.

The van pulled over at the traffic lights, where a lot of angered drivers were busy hammering their car horns and making a lot of commotion.

"What's going on there?" Leonardo asked, and peered out.

He caught a glimpse of a bunch of hoodlums jumping up and down the cars, knocking over newsstands and threatening helpless citizens, a few police cars were there, but the cops seemed helpless as hostages had been taken

"Guess there's no rest for the wicked even at this time of year" Leonardo said

"Of course, the prison break-out, we forgot all about it" Raphael said

"The let's make sure those crooks don't forget who protects this city" Leonardo said, getting out of the car and darting through the traffic, "Come on Turtles"

"Alright, time to deliver some much needed Christmas beatings" Michelangelo yelled, tearing off his disguise and jumping out of the van, before turning back and offering April his hand, "You don't mind working on our first date do you?"

"Are you kidding? There's nothing better than coping with stories like this every day of your life" April said, and took his hand as he led out of the van, the two ran after Leonardo.

Donatello followed, "They might need some logic thrown into this" he said to Irma, Irma kissed him on the cheek, "Go and blind him with science" she said.

"Ok, all this mushiness is getting me so riled up, I'm going to give any Coney island cousin I see an extra few knocks on the noggin if I see any kissing going on" he said, and also ran out of the van in pursuit of his brothers.

"Hey, don't forget about us" said Napoleon, as he and the other Frogs followed them out.

All that was left were Splinter and Irma, watching the Turtles and Frogs take to the streets to deliver as best a brand of justice as they could dish out. So much had changed for some of the Turtles in such short a time, but when push came to shove, they remained the same as they always were.

"Those mutants sure are miracles aren't they Mr. Splinter" Irma remarked.

"To preserve peace and love, and ensure fun...merry Christmas from us...everyone" Splinter said, and delivered a small wink to an invisible camera.

"Who are you winking at?" Irma asked.
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Old December 29th, 2018, 11:13 AM #9
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> Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 32,725
Cameron Samurai
DENY IT'S A PARTY!
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 32,725



THE FLIES THAT CAME TO DINNER
Donatello took one look in the mirror, examined the grey suit and black tie he was dressed in, and thought "too shady" to himself.

He went through the wardrobe and found another suit. He tried it on and took again to the mirror.

This one was heavily laced with checkers.

"I'm not selling a car am I?" he thought, and hastily removed it.

The third option was a more reliable choice. Black all over with a red tie.

"Like going to a funeral" Donatello said aloud, and permitted himself a tiny chuckle, knowing that wasn't far from the truth.

It was going to be a busy day. A day of reflection on past sins, a day where people would remember names and faces, a time and a place. A day where the past would be reflected on and over time mercilessly picked apart before it all culminated in a decision that would decide a great deal of futures.

A very formal and detail ridden wake. All yet to come.

But first came the hounding.

He peered out of the window of Irma Langenstien's apartment, gazing out at the teeming mass of reporters and photographers stationed outside. All of them eagerly awaiting his exit.

Donatello felt something brush against his legs, he looked down to see Irma's beloved dog standing on it's back legs, lifting it's paws up with a look of strong affection. Donatello knelt down and patted it on the head

"Yeah boy, on any normal day, this would be a good time for a walk. Too bad there IS such a thing as freedom of the press" Donatello said, the dog affectionately licking his fingers.

The door to the main bedroom opened and out emerged Irma, the girl Donatello had been miraculously calling his girlfriend for a long time.

Unlike Donatello, she hadn't been indecisive about her appearance and was dressed for the occasion, sharply attired in a strict white collar shirt, black tie, and purple waistcoat. Her glasses were in her right hand, and her lips were rich with ruby lipstick.

She approached Donatello and kissed him rosily on the cheek.

"And how are we feeling this morning?" Irma asked

"I feel more like I'm IN Mourning" Donatello said, continuing to look out at the packed crowd of paparazzi.

"Pay them no mind, they're not so tough out there once you start chipping away at the little things about them" Irma remarked

"What little things?" Donatello asked

"Oh you know, their lack of a good aftershave, pointing out their teeth remain unwashed, the general sense of guilt they have over driving everyone they meet to fatigue and ruin...once you throw it in their face with a good lecture, their already vain reflections in the mirror crack and fall apart"

Irma sat down to put her high heels on and collect her purse, which was perched on the table opposite her.

Her loyal dog walked over to her and jumped up on the couch next to her. Irma took another gander at Donatello's outfit.

"You're not wearing that to the kind of circus we're going to" she said

"Do you have any brighter suggestions" Donatello said as he examined the crude blackness of his suit.

"Just the thing" Irma replied, and, after putting on her shoes, got up and looked through the wardrobe.

As he watched her, Donatello thought long and hard to himself, trying to fathom how he had gotten this far with her.

This was the woman who, several years ago, ran away from the notion of marrying three of his love-sick brothers.

This was the woman who had crushed on Master Splinter and had ran away in sheer horror when she saw him for the first time and realized he was a rat.

Yet this was also the same woman who had crushed on a robot of all things, Rex-1, and had openly blushed at Donatello when she mistook his compliments towards a satellite dish for some affectionate nod to her looks.

In retrospect, Donatello wasn't exactly sure himself if he meant the dish or not. After all, he'd been privately sorting out his feelings for her around the same time.

He didn't quite know when it had begun. He initially reckoned it was after Tony Vivaldi's men brought a whole building crashing down on him and she was the one to care for him when he reached out for help at her place of work at the time, a kind move which gave him back the strength he needed to act against Vivaldi and rescue his brothers.

Irma's odd behaviour and Donatello's general weariness of humanity triggered a rollercoaster wave of emotions and thoughts in his mind...he detested the way humans looked down on mutants even after all they'd done for them, and equally despaired when they let the Turtles know how much they appreciated their help.

They were so hard to pin down, so untrustworthy, so flawed.

He'd been tempted several times to put the human race behind him, knowing he'd been on this kind of rollercoaster all his life, but something always told him to have some measure of faith as that ride got bumpy.

Maybe it was because Master Splinter, the sensei that had taught him right from wrong and to put his mind to whatever he thought mattered, had been human once upon a time, and had shown great courage at the prospect of teaching four highly combustible elements how to function in the world, perfecting them in the art of skill and compassion.

Those traits conspired to anchor Donatello to the world he would very often tire of.

Sometimes he regretted it, as was the case today.

And then he would look at Irma, and all that weariness would wash away.

He didn't have to consider much else regarding the issue anymore.

He was there, they were here, because they loved each other.

Irma finished her search and emerged with a bright emerald green suit and matching tie with a white shirt and brown trousers, she tossed it to Donatello

"There, put it on" she said, "It's better to feel like you're in your element"

"Proud colours Irma" Donatello remarked, and promptly changed. He found the trousers a tight fit, and struggled a little in getting them on. He ended up tripping and falling down, which amused Irma greatly.

Finally, he was able to pull the trousers up and stood upright.

"There, how do I look?" he said.

"Like you're all over the place?" Irma remarked.

Donatello sighed, and slouched slightly. Irma, sensing his uncertainty, walked over to him and straightened him up.

"Look sharp solider" she said, "The day needs a bit of green fingers"

Donatello smiled, "I'll try to sculpt something out of the hedges that'll be bearing down on us"

Irma put her finger under Donatello's chin and leaned closer to his face, "I can always count on you cutting in" she replied

And then, in a moment of pure magic, the two exchanged a tender kiss that calmed every shot nerve in Donatello's body.

He was ready.

Irma disengaged from the kiss and walked over to the door, she hugged her dog tight and let it run out in front.

"First, let's cut our way through the weeds outside" Irma said, looking at the media wolf pack outside.

"Mustn't forget my pound of flesh" Donatello said, grabbing his goofy rubber human looking mask and putting it on to conceal his features.

No matter how important the story was today, the very notion of a public human and Turtle romance would only serve to over-sensationalise something already brimming with controversy.

After dropping the dog off at a neighbour nearby, the couple went down the stairs of the apartment complex, approached the lobby, clutched each other's hands tight, and exited the building, try to dash as quickly as possible to the car that was standing by to take them to their destination.

The pack struck hard with flashing cameras in their hands and frequent questions emitting from their lips

"Ms. Langenstien, or is it Ms. 'Tello? What can you share with us on your meeting today?" asked one, who Irma quickly dismissed.

"Can you explain just what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were doing at the party that evening?" asked another

"Why does your boyfriend have green hands?" asked a third.

"He's very sick" Irma said. followed by a sharp utterance of "...Of you"

Donatello moved in front of Irma, trying to shield her from the photographers. The driver of their car opened the door for them and they clambered in.

Soon the car was shooting down the main road. Some of the press tried following on foot, some took to their motorcycles. Donatello and Irma glanced at one another and breathed a sigh of relief as they were able to catch their breath from such a trying ordeal.

"That was nightmarish" Donatello said, "And you wonder why I only give some people my time of day"

Irma reached into her purse and pulled out a pair of gloves, "Put these on so they don't spot any trace of green beyond your waistcoat"

Donatello complied and put them on, "Sorry Irma, I didn't think about this"

"It's ok Donny, no one else is thinking, otherwise they'd be in their right minds about all this"

"I better call the guys, let them know we're on our way" Donatello said, and collected his turtle-com from the purse, he activated it and Michelangelo's friendly face greeted him

"Hey there bro, we're all gathered around the tube ready to watch the inquiry go live. You sure Irma is ready for something this monumental?" Michelangelo asked

"It's my fault she's in this much hot water, I just hope cooler heads prevail in there" Donatello remarked

Following a few slight detours to avoid any busy afternoon traffic as well as the persistence of the paparazzi, the car arrived at a large business complex, the Howard Oswald Tower, a think tank for shrewd businessmen and home to a very public inquiry.

Channel Six news reporters were on hand to greet Irma and Donatello as they emerged from the vehicle and attempted to head inside.

Leading the pack was Vernon.

"Well well Irma, it's nice to see you making a big splash in the papers" he said mockingly, "It's such a pity that your consistent habit of mucking things up is what gets you this sort of press, but then, what else would earn you a reputation?"

Irma's hand trembled as she clenched it into a fist.

"Why you condescending one-note, spineless little..." Irma began, only to be escorted away by Donatello and a flock of security guards.

"So much for journalistic impartiality" Donatello said.

"Oh I'm so glad I parted ways with that network...and thanks for parting me from him before I could arrange the same between his nose and his face" Irma replied

The two entered a vast room that was quickly locked behind them.

In front of them were a row of seats with people circling them from left to right, cameras zoomed in on the pair as they made their way to their own seats.

In the middle of the room were three officious looking people, two men, one woman. All were wearing glasses..

The two sat down, Donatello waved at the tribunal of three. They didn't wave back

"Not very accommodating on a social front" Donatello whispered

"Are we sitting comfortably?" said one of the three, pushing his papers together and staring menacingly at Irma and Donatello

"Ready when you are Mr. Speaker" Irma said.

"Before we begin Ms 'Tello...Langenstien, whichever alias you're using this day of the week, I hope you understand the futility of trying our patience. We have been told by reasonable sources that you have a tendency to be self-deprecating or break out into anecdotes about how badly your days have been, pointing out the smallest possible nitpicks and elongating them beyond the point of anyone's patience, this inquiry intends to get to the point very quickly, do not waste our time"

"I won't" Irma replied. Donatello approved, proud of Irma's bravery.

"It is my understanding that your boyfriend was also present during the evening in question...but that he had disappeared just as events spiralled out of control" the man continued

"I feel he is a credible enough witness, he had interactions with Professor Sagan" Irma replied.

"And you think a few rounds of casual social lingo can explain in great detail how an eccentric, yet well respected figure in the scientific community went out of his way to unleash unprecedented havoc on a vast group of innocent people assembled at that event?"

"You'd be surprised at what I can pick up after someone takes too much spiked punch" Donatello began

"Speak when you are spoken to" the man replied.

Donatello suddenly felt a lot smaller.

And as the tribunal's lead speaker continued his opening argument, grilling Irma over what role she had played in a tense situation that had unfolded those many months ago and how it had led to the fall of an overambitious scientist and a frightening ordeal for so many assembled at what appeared to be a harmless event, one thought crossed Donatello's mind.

How DID they get here?

Ask a silly question

He knew exactly how they got here.

TWO MONTHS AGO

The alarm clock buzzed loudly, awakening April O'Neil from her slumber.

She pulled her hands out of the bed sheets, her eyes half closed, and blindly scouted for the clock. When she finally got a hold of it, she raised high above her head and dropped it to the ground with an almighty thud.

She rose out of the bed and rubbed her eyes gently, taking in the rancid smell of body odour and rank sewage. She opened her eyes to find herself graced with a heap of unsorted beds and half-eaten bowls of cereal.

Nearby, the loud hum of music and loud howls of laughter from a canned TV audience emitting from the television signalled all she needed to know.

There was doubt about it.

The Turtles were up.

And the unenviable responsibility of clearing up the cesspool that was their sleeping quarters had fallen to her.

She could march down the corridor, enter the living area, switch off the television, and berate the guys for not clearing up after themselves, but she figured, in her head, that getting the beds cleaned and the mess cleared was just as active an exercise for her as an active morning period of training was for them.

And after all the training she had done at the crack of dawn yesterday, she found it a much more manageable way to while away the minutes.

A moment to fold up and redress the sheets, followed by a dash of sweeping with a nearby broom, and the sleeping quarters looked good as new.

Examining herself and despairing slightly at another sight, April slipped a pair of pink fuzzy slippers and picked up a bowl of cereal, and, after emptying its contents in the bin, she headed to the kitchen to pour herself a fresh packet.

She did so, refusing to take milk as she didn't trust the Turtles to have picked up a fresh container, and munched down as she walked into the living area, where a source of great joy to her was lazily sprawled on the sofa, his right hand dangling off of it, his left hand holding the remote control, and his head staring up at the lights. He began adjusting the volume on the television, not happy with the pitch.

April beamed affectionately as her best friend of seventeen years, and boyfriend of six months, Michelangelo, continued to be predictably and unapologetically indecisive.

"Morning" she said as she approached him, bending over to kiss him on the top of his head. Michelangelo gently dropped the remote and stroked April's hair gently, "How'd I do last night dudedette?" he asked.

"Well the good news is you didn't snore , first time in three months where that didn't occur" she said, "So top marks for that...BUT."

"But what?" Michelangelo said

April reached down to something that was sticking to her yellow Night shirt, a number 6 plastered over the front, and peeled off a greasy mound of cheese and chilli Pizza from it, dropping it into Michelangelo's lap.

"You didn't go to bed on an empty stomach" she said.

"It all relates to a dream I had, trust me" Michelangelo said.

"Really now?" April said, her arms folded.

"Absolutely, I dreamt I was looking through the fridge, and only found one slice of the cheese and chilli special left, I realized I needed to give it shelter from the long cold nights it was enduring, so I brought it to the warmest recesses I could hope to venture to, and it enjoyed it's last few moments of existence in my capable hands"

"Sounds so literal, a real dream come true" April replied sarcastically.

"Well you should know all about that babe, you've been a reality for this long" Michelangelo said, raising his head up from the edge of the sofa and kissing his girl tenderly on the lips.

After a few moments, the two stopped, and Michelangelo moved up to allow April room to sit down

"So you want to do some warm-up fist fight routines after you're done with breakfast?" Michelangelo asked.

"No time Mike, this is my working week remember?" April said, "I've got to be down at Channel Six in under an hour, we're covering a major scientific development supervised by Professor Kim Sagan of the Augmented Particle Energies division. He's conducting some kind of experiment today"

"Dudette, I don't cruise down the science lane., you want to get into detail on stuff like that, you ought to date Donatello" Michelangelo replied. April nudged him with an elbow

"Jerk" she said, "I'll let Donatello know you gave us your blessing when I see him"

"Hey, I wasn't serious" Michelangelo said, slightly panicking.

April giggled.

"Relax honey, Donnie's going to be on hand for the experiment, he's bringing Irma along with him"

"That's alright then, wouldn't want to think a turtle known for innovation was replacing a turtle known for sheer sensation in your daily routine" Michelangelo said

"The day Donatello ever dates me is the day you guys delight thousands on Nickelodeon" April remarked. as she put down the bowl.

After another passionate embrace, she swiftly got up and did a couple of morning stretches, before kicking off her slippers and wrapping both arms around her nightshirt, gently pulling it over her head. She tossed the greasy shirt over Michelangelo and walked over to a clothes hamper, pulling out a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and her brown jacket.

Normally she'd wear her trademark channel six jumpsuit, but it was currently indisposed, as Michelangelo breaking the washing machine led him to have the astounding brainstorm of dunking the suit in the Hudson river.

Not what one might call a thorough scrub.

As April walked back through the tunnel to get changed, Michelangelo tossed her discarded shirt away, got off the sofa and opted to go into the kitchen to get a snack. In doing so, he walked by Leonardo, who was eating a lettuce-ridden sandwich.

"Hey bro, how's the Sensei?" Michelangelo asked

"He's still meditating, it's taking him longer than normal to stir from it, something is distressing him greatly...but he'd want us to start training as usual, we start in five minutes " Leonardo said.

Michelangelo grumbled, knowing he would have to practise without April.

Leonardo made his way to the tunnel up ahead where April was getting changed, and leaned on the wall, continuing to bite into the sandwich.

"Just so you know, Raphael is driving Donatello to the science facility right now, they're just collecting Irma first" Leonardo said.

"Now that's what I call prioritising" April said, "You could easily apply some of that to keep your bedroom from going to the dogs" April's critical voice echoed from the tunnel.

"Sorry April, we don't usually think about the little things when we wake up unless Master Splinter brings it up" Leonardo replied, "We're always so worried about what we're waking up to we just rush into the day"

"I suppose that's a reasonable excuse, keeping up the daily heroics is more important than keeping up appearances

"Speaking of 'keeping things up'...congrats on passing six months with Michelangelo" Leonardo added, "Normally, his interests usually last about five to twenty minutes, this has really brought out the best in both of you"

"Thanks Leonardo" April replied, "I hope you don't mind me crashing here every now and then because of it, I know Mike and I are supposed to be taking it slow, but for me, it's been slow enough, what it taking a decade to 'fess up to him. As long as we get the co-habiting down to an exact science, we should be primed for the next step whenever that comes in a year or two from now"

"I do wonder why it took this long...I thought you were strictly for regular flesh and bone, and that you normally left the extraordinary flirts to Irma" Leonardo pondered

"There was a time where I thought that was what I wanted, that I told myself 'it just wouldn't work out, we're from different worlds', but you know how it goes Leo, sometimes what you want in your head isn't what you feel in your heart. Besides, there's only so many times someone can call you so many cute pet names as Mike did before it begins to rub off. I don't know when my infatuation with him started, maybe it was that time he kept changing between his real form and that of a human. Maybe it was there since the beginning when I read him and the rest of you bedtime stories. All I know was I was in denial for a while after I realized I felt for him in "that way""

"How did you cope?" Leonardo asked, "It must have been hard to keep it bottled up for so long"

"I did a lot of weird things" April replied, emerging from the tunnel fully dressed, gently combing her hair with a partially dirty brush that was lying around and using her free hand to apply lipstick to her lips, "I remember how bad it got when Channel Six was destroyed and you guys got blamed for it. All of a sudden hating Turtles was the "in thing" for the general public again, it was a horrible time to deal with the feelings I had. I imagined headlines like "tough cookie reporter crumbles over freak of nature" in my head and despaired over how it would affect my career, and then my family, my aunt, I began to get bitter, I even started resenting my friendship with you guys, I resented how I felt about Mike. I was ashamed, and angry, at you, at him, at the world, at everyone. Eventually, when the opportunity arose to try and take my frustrations with you guys out in a public way, I readily took it"

"Is that why you turned on us during that whole business with Megavolt? When you even took to aiding the military in hunting us down?" Leonardo asked, "That always felt very out of character to me"

"I regretted it almost as soon as I started accusing you of committing the crimes" April explained, "It didn't take me long to get to the bottom of things and work out you were being framed...I vowed to myself I wouldn't let myself fall victim to that kind of doubt about you again, but I didn't know what else to do at the time...eventually I thought distancing myself from you would be the best solution, but one thing or another always dropped me back into your lap. Whenever it didn't, I felt miserable and unaccomplished where it counted. I was lonely. I needed you guys. More importantly, I needed Mike to know how I felt one day, and I knew the time would come where I could say what was on my mind, and that I trusted him not to freak out about it, all I had to do was wait"

"And in doing so, you mellowed" Leonardo replied. April nodded.

"I knew what I felt, I couldn't shake it, to change was impossible, I had spent so many years being saved, complimented, and entertained by Mike that there was no way I could dismiss my feelings as just that of friendship. He wasn't just a friend, he was my best friend, and he was everything I had longed looked for in someone of my own kind and could never seem to pin down"

"I think you made a brave choice April. We were all worried about you way back then, we've all went through a world of weirdness, where the sky felt just a little red and our hearts were slightly greyer, but by holding onto our convictions, by providing every end of the tunnel with light, we were able to shine again"

A touched April delicately kissed Leonardo on the cheek, "And I hope you keep shining, because all of you are more precious and priceless than diamonds, not just to me, but to the world"

Michelangelo walked back into the living area, brandishing his nun-chucks.

"Come on fearless leader, I need to check these 'chucks" he said

April put her shoes on and grabbed her bag off the floor.

"Honey, tell Donatello I'll be about forty minutes late, it's been days since I was at my apartment, I need to check on it, plus I need to shower down, you may be used to freezing water, but I handle it hot" April said to Michelangelo, who gave her a thumbs up. The two exchanged a parting kiss and April ran out of the lair.

Leonardo turned around, Michelangelo noticed some lipstick on his cheek.

"And where have you been spending your mornings?" he said.

"Nothing to worry about Michelangelo, April was just polishing a diamond" Leonardo replied.

ONE HOUR LATER

Donatello never understood the hold bathrooms had on women.

Bathrooms in vast buildings demanded two simple requirements from those using them, three if the people who used them bothered washing their hands, but women always take the extra time to perfect everything about the trip.

He wasn't privy to whatever they were up to for obvious reasons pertaining to gender, but he was of a logical mind and deduced it was probably the exact same things that held her up at the apartment earlier.

Always about looking her best and to stand out.

Even amongst a room teeming with the most unattractive people.

Donatello felt more sorry for Raphael, who was sitting outside in the Turtle van, having driven them to the A.P.E facility , and now had to wait patiently for them to exit.

A simple requirement complicated by the length of time the experiment Donatello and Irma were on hand to witness would take. From preparation, to explanation, to demonstration, to the post-session question and answer period from the scientists in attendance as well as the press.

Everyone was in for a long afternoon.

Raphael had brought a graphic novel along to help pass the hours by. Thinking Raphael would read it in record time though.

Donatello had suggested Raphael read his long essay on the long-term consequences of molecular psycho-physical revision, which was the subject of today's experiments, but Raphael had suggested he would only try processing that essay if he felt it was a guaranteed means of ensuring an afternoon nap.

Finally, the door to the bathroom opened and Irma stepped out, she took her glasses off and breathed gently onto the lenses and rubbed them with her hands before snapping them back on.

"Ok, be honest, are you sure I look like I could be remotely interested in this whiz-bang demo?" Irma asked, "You don't think anyone can read the boredom lines on my face?"

"Look Irma, nobody is here to out-interest the other, it's not a competition, everyone in that room is supposed to be an equal and we're giving Professor Sagan the respect and the time to put across his discoveries in a manner that enhances our curiosity"

"I thought you spent a whole evening writing down something that said Kim's work was dangerous and ridiculously unproductive" Irma said, in reference to the essay Donatello had left in the van

"I admit,, I was all set to have you read that out at the demonstration, but a cooler head prevailed" Donatello replied, "My concerns are all based in theory, I need to see how it works out in reality"

"What if I get asked for a question though?" Irma asked, "I don't exactly know psycho-physics from psycho people"

Donatello handed her a small compact and put one hand on her shoulder to reassure his girlfriend.

"Use this, it's got a built-in audio system so I'll be able to overhear everything, just pretend you're powdering your nose while answering the question and I'll text you what to say and you can read it out from the compact's "mirror", which is really a small video screen"

"I've heard about face book, but this is really glamorizing it" Irma said.

"You'll do fine" Donatello said, giving Irma a peck on the cheek, "Now hurry along and join the group, they're stationed at floor three, room five"

Irma nodded and headed to the elevator, blowing a kiss to Donatello as she entered it. Donatello waved as the doors to the elevator closed.

Once Irma was gone, Donatello sighed.

He just knew this wouldn't go smoothly no matter how well laid out this was.

Part of him wanted to curse the very day he got his degree credited to a "Donna 'Tello", and how ever since then, all the major invites to the biggest science expos and showcases had required him to drag Irma to each and every one of them, all while he did his best to sneak in or mingle in his role as her date.

He had thought it would be easier now that they were actively dating, but there was always a little niggle here and there that kept them on their toes.

This was one of those instances where regular civilians were not allowed, and security was tighter than previous locations.

Whether he liked it or not, Donatello would have to wait this one out.

Worried Irma would soon be up to her neck in techno babble from people far above her station in intelligence, Donatello pulled out a small cell phone, he had in his pocket, white in colour, and pressed a few buttons. A small holographic video image of Irma's emitted from it.

"Ah good, the live stream is working" Donatello said.

His link to Irma established, Donatello watched on, before long he was picking up a lot of commotion, indicating Irma had arrived and was graced with the presence of distinguished members of the scientific community.

Not one to keep to herself, Irma began doing what Donatello dreaded...she started to mingle, applying some of her observational skills to compliment and critique the appearances of the scientists, although she tried her best to do in the most polite manner possible so as not to offend them.

She was eventually asked a short, yet complicated question.

As instructed by Donatello, Irma pretended to power her nose while reading off the text Donatello was feeding her. She delivered the answer with impeccable accuracy, rarely stumbling on the complicated jargon Donatello was utilizing.

A part of him felt a little guilty for trying to make Irma say such big words, knowing it was a bit above her station, but the fact she was able to cope under such pressure made him incredibly proud of her. He loved testing the limits of people around him.

But of course, as soon as the scientist who asked the question began complimenting Irma on her remarkable and punchy means of conveying the answer, Irma got carried away and used it as an excuse to fire off on all the tiny little nuances of her daily routine, stuff that was far too basic for her audience to be dealing with. Before long, she lost the attention of the person conversing with her.

"Yeah Irma, that's right, talk about the complicated ins and outs of line-dancing, that'll win you a crowd" a sarcastic Donatello uttered out loud.

Soon, the doors to room five opened and a medium sized man appeared requesting the scientists come inside, Irma quickly followed them.

"Now comes the part where we all need to get patient" Donatello said, "And patience isn't normally that woman's m.o"

Outside A.P.E's doors, Raphael was facing an issue. He had gotten ahead of himself and skimmed through his graphic novel in only half an hour, leaving him with nothing except Donatello's essay.

"Ah what the heck, I don't just need a good night's sleep, I need last night's sleep" Raphael said, referring to the trouble he had accessing the land of nod several hours earlier.

He skimmed through the pages of the essay...but his eyes didn't get heavy, far from it, instead, they widened in awe as he read ahead.

"Man, if Donatello is right, this puts all those zany "Flash Dog and the Schizoid Armada" comic strips well and truly down" Raphael said, looking out at the building and fearing what could come out of the demonstration should things go awry.

ELSEWHERE

It was a thing of beauty.

A miraculous achievement.

It's reflexes were top-notch, it could feel pain when jabbed with a sharp pen, it could shed a tear, it could laugh.

Oh how it could laugh.

Professor Ray Cross of the A.P.E research facility had achieved his goal. He had completed work on his "M.I. ": Masterfully Improving Man's Inner Child.

A child-like robot that operated on the same mental frequency as a human of a young age, vulnerable to all the things that they were...curious about nature, eager to construct things out of building blocks, trying to utter simple words as if they were big and meaningful.

With top-notch reflexes and a captivating sense of wonder about it, the M.I.M.I.C could easily be the highlight of today's events.

It dismayed Cross that it wasn't, for that opportunity belonged to someone else in the room.

As he watched the M.I.M.I.C put the final big block on a stack it had been amassing, Cross turned his back to write down a few final notes.

Suddenly, he heard a crash, followed by a loud thud.

His stomach twisted and turned, an ill feeling swept over him, he turned back around to find M.I.M.I.C on the floor, lying completely still. Cross dropped his notes and ran over to the android, its eyes remained open, it's friendly smile still etched across its face.

Cross snapped his fingers, trying to provoke a reaction from the eyes, they refused to blink in reaction.

"What caused this?" Cross said, before noticing someone making final adjustments to a large triangular device.

In the person's right hand was a medium sized gun with a large rock-solid boxing glove attached to it.

Cross immediately recognized who it belonged to.

"That wasn't necessary Sagan" Cross said

"What IS necessary these days?" Kim Sagan asked his colleague, gently placing the boxing glove gun on the table and putting on a pair of earphones connected to a hi-fi system.

He walked over to the unconscious android and delicately allowed his fingers to dance across its complexion. Sagan's own face seemed to match it in expression, but only slightly...he couldn't hope to smile while he was still among the living and breathing.

"Everything is built to last only a little while, before it all turns to the dark" he continued, "Besides, you've created a such a cliché. Why must we remain fascinated with the wants of a child? We should be as growth has made us"

"While it is true age is vital to progression, we are not instructed to forget about the past, we owe something to history, and if we are to become fully-fledged creators, we must not forget we are teachers too" Cross argued, closing the eyes of the M.I.M.I.C and shaking his head in sadness.

"An education in the futility of life is all that's really required Cross" Sagan countered

"Your boredom will be what undoes your progress Sagan" Cross said, getting up and checking the security monitors.

"Have more faith in yourself man, especially now that you've got an audience to think about" Cross said as he spotted the group of scientists invited to witness the forthcoming experiment filing into the corridor that led to their lab.

Sagan stuck his tongue out at Cross and put on a pair of headphones connected to an MP3 player. Cross shook his head, weary of Sagan's selfishness, and dragged the M.I.M.I.C out of sight, putting it in its nearby storage unit and out of sight.

The floor was all Sagan's'.

The scientists, as well as Irma, soon poured into the lab.

Cross welcomed them.

"My dear friends, it is an honour to be in your company for this special presentation. Without further ado, I give you the pioneer of the psycho-physical reviser, or as he likes to call it, the "Psycho-splinter", Professor Kim Sagan"

"Oh, Psycho-Splinter, I'm hoping that doesn't mean I'm facing a kamikaze rodent" Irma said out loud. Everyone looked at her funny. She grinned nervously and resumed "powdering her nose". A text came across her compact's mirror reading "mouth closed, ears open honey, xxx"

Sagan put the finishing touches to the triangular device, and walked over to a nearby coat rack, he fiddled through the pockets for a few minutes, trying the patience of the whole room. Cross sweated, his nerves shot, and his own temper beginning to rise.

Sagan eventually took out a pair of headphones connected to a small MP3 player and put them on his ears, he then reached and produced a piece of bubble gum that he inserted in his mouth

"Gentleman" he said, putting on a cynically-charged upper class accent, "As you know, the purpose of our experiments is to determine which side of our psychological make-up we rely on the most...the intellectual side, perhaps the masculine side, do we let all our precious feelings contained within the sentimental or feminine side pave our way? Or do we indulge the curious and quaint child-like allure of our youth map out our adult years?"

"Good question" Irma remarked "...if it'd be answered already I probably would've settle for a regular old human by now"

Everyone turned and gave her an awkward look again, some were now insisting she be quiet.

"Oh sorry, thinking out loud again" Irma said.

She soon received another text.

"Yes, the sound of your own voice, you sure you're more in love with that?"

"I knew you wouldn't like that" Irma whispered into the compact, slightly ashamed of herself, "I'll make it up to you tonight, a big toasted pizza, my treat"

Hoping for no further interruption, Sagan continued to pitch his project, still clinging on to his phony condescending accent.

"All of these are vital components of our psychological make-up, how can we possibly determine which one is the superior aspect? Today we will answer that. The Psycho-Splinter is designed to split open these aspects through cellular replication and a touch of cerebral division, allowing us to showcase them in fully-fledged physical forms"

"Question" Irma said, raising her hand.

Sagan glared at her, and dropped his phony accent to be quite direct with her.

"Q and A isn't until after the demonstration Ms..."

"Er, 'Tello, Donna 'Tello" Irma replied, "Sorry, this really isn't my field, but I heard this one over the radio...are you saying you're going to take one regular person and divide him or her into some erratic ensemble? I know farms breed a lot of animals, but not even the funny farm has any live stock for your sort"

The assembled group laughed in unison at Irma's comments, angering Sagan all the more. Irma soon received another text from Donatello, this time it was slightly more encouraging.

"That's telling him girl"

Sagan wasn't about to be upstaged by the coy concerns of this bespectacled female, and pushed on with his pitch

"Testing it out on a human was never my first choice" he said.

This alarmed everyone in the room

"But you just said the purpose was to check out the aspect thingies of the human thingy" Irma replied

"You're awfully limited in vocabulary for a gifted scientist Ms. 'Tello" Sagan observed, "And if your ears were open, you'd know I never said the human condition, I said 'ours'".

"Isn't that the same thing?" Irma asked

"I mean it in a universal way. Even a multiversal way. It is quite a stubborn, selfish notion that these aspects are exclusive to our race or any of the others species bound to this planet. There are not just whole worlds out there that have proven this otherwise, but other dimensions as well. I look not just to the stars, but the forces that rest side by side with our regular conception of reality. Thus the Psycho-Splinter will pull such life from the multi-dimensional fabric of the universe and process what it captures, and when it has done splintering such life, we will truly discover which side to creation's soul is key to unlocking every one of its many layers"

"So this device of yours is some kind of...gateway to another reality?" Irma realized, "I don't need a text from my boyfriend to know that's a place nobody on Earth should be near. You're a few feathered friends short of a full birdcage mister"

"This rather chatty woman is correct Kim" voiced a fellow scientist in the crowd, "We have experienced far too many active threats from other dimensions, I was hoping for a regular down-to-earth demonstration, but it is plain to see that you are content only with the outlandish thought process associated with the insane, I shall have no part of this"

"I concur" added another scientist, soon joined in protest by another, and another.

Soon, the whole ensemble were storming out of the lab, despite Cross's best attempts to pacify them.

"There has to be some sort of bug going around that turns every brainiac in this part of town loco" Irma said to herself as she followed them out.

She took one last glance at Sagan, who remained quite distant in expression, and sensed something about him, something she would share with Donatello over that toasted pizza she had promised him.

And with that, she left the room, leaving Sagan and Cross alone.

"Well that didn't go very well did it?" said Cross, "Still, you should have expected such a reaction, in many ways I'm glad it's come to this, you ruined my day, it's divine karma that you ruin your own" he finished.

But Sagan was not about to stop there, he resumed work on the control console, punched in a final sequence, put on a pair of safety goggles, and watched the Psycho-Splinter come to life before him.

"What are you doing man? You have no audience to entertain" Cross said.

"Always create for your own amusement" Sagan replied, "Always play in the sandbox"

"Out of curiosity...you DID test this earlier right?" Cross asked.

Sagan looked at him with a glazed, insincere expression, and blew his bubblegum.

As the Psycho-Splinter's energy levels built up, he activated his MP3 player, choosing to drown out his fellow scientist's complaints with a good steady beat, in this case "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolph.

And he waited.


As the solar winds of Dimension 47 began to pick up, the alien explorer Dzerna analyzed the situation laid out before her.

If all went according to plan, the sacred treasure of the alien Implazoola race would be within her grasp.

Nestled on an asteroid surrounded by force field generators and guarded by a frightening cross between a shark and a rhinoceros standing upright and brandishing a harpoon gun.

Whoever took the treasure back from this creature would be rewarded with a significantly greater amount of wealth.

The Implazoolas were kindly and quite cute, but they had strange beliefs, t thinking that their ancient treasures were some sign of great fortune and their current form of currency was quite disposable compared to it.

Still, treasure for more treasure. A novel concept all the same.

And a daunting task.

Fortunately, she had a partner.

And he was doing his best to be fashionably late.

"Come on, I'll be spotted any second" Dzerna thought to herself as she slowly floated through the asteroid field, temporarily camouflaged between two orbiting rocks that were slowly parting like the sea, revealing her location.

As Dzerna expected the worst, a series of explosions rocked the asteroid occupied by the shark-rhino hybrid. One by one, the generators were taken out by a hideous, winged creature wearing blue jeans, a jumper that only a mother could knit, and a cute little bow tie. Laser gun in hand, it set about taking out the generators, darting about left and right, avoiding the creature guarding the treasure.

This provided Dzerna with the opportunity she had previously believed was rapidly dwindling, and she floated over to the asteroid and snuck up behind the creature, pulling out a pair of special energy shackles attached to her side pocket.

The fly zipped across the asteroid, continuing to confuse and anger the treasure's guardian, it eventually took to circling around the creature's head, dizzying it slightly. With her target disoriented, Dzerna slapped the shackles around the legs of the guard.

Dazed, confused, and now unable to walk, the guard resigned himself to his fate and fell backwards, crashing to the ground in a heap.

"Fancy flying there Baxter" Dzerna said as the fly touched down

"The treasure is secure, now give me what you promised" yelled an impatient Baxter Stockman, "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme"

Dzerna let out a sigh and tossed Baxter three small sugar cubes. Baxter caught them and downed them all in one gulp.

"You're such a child" she observed

She bent down to inspect the fallen guard, and found a device on his belt buckle glowing red, a small screen on the buckle showed one still dot, and, to the left of the screen, several other dots heading towards it.

"He was waiting for someone to pick him and the treasure up, we've got to get everything teleported to my ship pronto" Dzerna said, and walked over to Baxter, carrying the harpoon gun, "Cover my back with this" she said

"I'd rather you watch your own back" Baxter said, "You never know when someone will stab you in it"

Baxter suddenly swiped the gun from Dzerna's hands and slapped a pair of shackles on her wrists.

"What is this? We had a deal" an outraged Dzerna exclaimed.

"Deals? I've made deals all my life and it has always ended in betrayal, it is the only language I understand anymore, and my only means of survival"

He pushed Dzerna over, causing her to fall backwards onto the guard. Baxter flew over the treasure, adjusting his weapon, he took careful aim at the heap in front of him and pulled the trigger. Before Dzerna's eyes, the treasure vanished

"I have transported the treasure to your ship, which I will commandeering" Baxter said, "I will leave you to those advancing on our location, I'm sure they will find a captive and helpless female a true sign of heavenly fortune to come"

As Baxter turned to leave, he found himself distracted by a shimmer of light. Before long, a large blue crack split across the sky, the area was soon alight with bright electrical sparks

"Fascinating, it's as if something is tearing away the skin of this very dimension" Baxter said, and flew upwards towards the crack to investigate.

"There appears to be something on the other side" Baxter said as he looked into the crack, noticing a large room with two people observing the events as they unfolded, one seemed angry and concerned, shouting and pointing his finger at the huge energy spike. The other wasn't bothered at all, preferring to bob his head up and down.

"They look like...humans" Baxter said, "Could it be? Could this dimensional tear lead the way back to Earth?"

"Hey, aren't you forgetting about your big haul?" Dzerna said as she tried to get up

"Have your treasure, nothing enriches me more than the notion of revenge on those who first changed me into this freakish form" Baxter replied, and flew towards the shimmering light, leaving Dzerna seemingly helpless as several black, sleek vessels began to hover over her.

"He'd better run, I may have just developed a preference for fly ointment" Dzerna said.

As the Channel Six news van drove up to the A.P.E facility, April spotted several scientists coming out of the building.

She got out and headed over to the Turtle Van, where Raphael was tapping his fingers on the wheel anxiously, waiting for Donatello and Irma to come out and hoping they'd come out in one piece, having been unnerved by Donatello's raised concerns in the essay he left behind in the van.

"Hi Raphael, care to explain what's drawing everyone outside instead of indoors, you know, where my story is meant to be?" she asked

"Beats me, but from what I overheard when some passed the van, it seems the demo is off. Maybe they found out whatever game they were playing was dodgy and loaded with giant enemy crabs" Raphael replied.

Donatello and Irma soon joined the crowd pouring from the building, April approached them

"Please tell me the day in hasn't turned to a day out?" April pleaded, "Though you types could do with getting more time in the fresh air"

"Nothing is happening I'm afraid" Donatello replied, "Thanks to Irma's less than keen mind, everyone became very like-minded." he added, slinging his arm around her right shoulder and holding her close to him.

"Anytime Puppy Dog" Irma replied, kissing him on the cheek.

"So much for my day at the science fair ground" April lamented.

"Oh don't worry about it April, the day isn't over yet, you're bound to cover more interesting things" Donatello replied

"Besides, that Sagan fellow wasn't much of a keen cookie, he wanted to bring in all kind of weirdoes from places that only b-movies should dare to tread"

"So, now that Mr. Shattered dimensions has experienced a shattered convention, who's up for taking a bite out of this regular old dimension's doughnut range over at the bakery downtown?" Raphael asked

April laughed, "Ok, I can't say no to that, especially since Mike will need all the dozens he can dine on after training, lead the way Raph"

Before long, all three had bundled into the Turtle van, which sped downtown

Back inside the facility however, things were going at a crisp pace for Kim Sagan, as Professor Cross begged him to cease with the experiment.

When it became clear Sagan was not about to have his day tainted by concerns and common sense, Cross threatened to call security.

This seemed to phase Sagan, who took to grabbing Cross by the coat and dragging him to the storage unit that contained the M.I.M.I.C.

Opening the unit, Sagan gave Cross a cheeky grin and promptly threw him inside and locked it shut. Almost comically, Cross continued to raise complaints even from inside the unit. Sagan resumed his work.

As the portal shimmered and shone, Sagan noticed something coming towards him, a creature with wings making erratic buzzing noises. Sagan smiled as it pushed through the dimensional tear and made its way into the regular world.

"How fitting", thought Sagan, "That it resembles a fly"

The instant it came through, he flicked a switch, and sprung his proverbial flypaper on the unsuspecting creature.

In an instant, the Psycho-Splinter shot a bolt through the fly's head. It screamed in agony as the electrical current danced around its body and wrapped him in a cocoon of electricity. The fly temporarily vanished from view as its form, coated in energy, was slowly dissected and split apart before Sagan's eyes.

One shape became two, and two became three.

Suddenly, the energy levels dropped, and the machine began to break down. Due to how much power was being generated, all the lights in the building flickered on and off before ultimately succumbing to a massive power outage.

As the Psycho-Splinter shut down, Sagan was quick to light a candle.

Staring back at him through the dark appeared to be more than a million tiny eyes. As the forms stepped into the flicker of light generated by the candle, they stood revealed as three separate creatures of varying height and gender.

One appeared to be an older, muscular male, one was a lean and tall female who was quite firm in regards to frontal assets, and another, much smaller insect looked like the average build of a seven year old male child.

Three abominable and freakish forces of nature, produced by the cruel hand of a man's twisted science.

Sagan was overjoyed.

"Not human...absolutely not human. Goody for you" he yelled in delight, "Oh you don't know how content this makes me, it's a rare occurrence in my day to day routine, bless you, bless you to the max"

"What has happened?" said the male fly, "I demand answers, or I won't be the only thing breaking over this"

"You went through my psycho-splinter, it segmented your being into three different aspects, granting each a fresh body...your bull-headed testosterone-based side, your feminine side, and your inner child"

"Well this is an embarrassment, why did you have to swoop into that energy field blind the way you did? Thanks to you, I've got twice the burden to feed with you and junior here" the female fly snapped, reprimanding the male.

"Might I ask , just so I can keep track of all of you, what was the name of your complete self?" Sagan asked

"My name? I-I can't remember my name.." the male replied, struggling with the answer

He turned to his highly energized female self.

"You must have it" he said

"Why do you think I care for who you are?" the female replied.

"Because you're part of me" the male stated.

"Oh, so just because I'm related, that means you think I'm your property does it?" the female replied, and turned her head away from him.

"I'm hungry sir, do you have any sugar?" said the baby fly, tugging at Sagan's leg

"When it comes to treats, I'm ever so sweet" Sagan replied, patting the youngling on the head.

"We need to focus here, and stop quarrelling, we're all a part of one another and we must be one again" the male replied, grabbing Sagan by the coat, "You will piece us back together or I will reduce you to pieces"

"All in good time" Sagan assured him, "Besides, if you were to lay a hand on me, I couldn't supply you with the means to return to normal"

"You never think that far ahead, best leave the negotiations to me" the female said to her more aggressive counterpart.

She walked over to Sagan and took out a padded pen and notebook from her pocket, "Somehow I think, from what little memory I have, that I've been around people long enough to know how minds like yours work in these matters, list your demands and we'll supply you with whatever you need, and we will attain it for you in return for our rejoining"

"No need to put yourself at risk Madame" Sagan replied, "I require only your presence before a grand audience. An audience of fools and frauds. People who aspire to master creation but turn in terror when one dares to change the nature and climate of very creation. They must be fought, and they must be taught, and you're just the right kind of lesson for them to learn"

"You propose...that we attack these people?" The female asked

"We get to smash something?" the male added.

"Will we have a party then?" the child said, also joining in

"Just make yourselves homely at my estate, and wait for everyone to assemble, then we shall strike" Sagan explained.

"Do you have any idea of how you're going to assemble such a gathering?" asked the female

"Honey, you should see me in a crowd" Sagan replied, spitting out his bubblegum and offering it to the little one.

"Heads up girlfriend" Michelangelo said as he threw the beach ball clear across the lair to April, she caught it with both hands, threw it high through the air, formed a single rock-hard fist of flesh with both hands, and pounded the ball, sending it back Michelangelo's way.

Detecting the ball was veering slightly to the right of him, Michelangelo leapt sideways trying to catch it with a similar formation of hands, only to mistime the jump and ended up missing the ball completely, much to April's amusement.

"I can always trust you to get the ball rolling dear" April said.

"Did anyone ever tell you you're a literal babe magnet?" Michelangelo said, getting up and brushing himself down, "'Cause you're a babe and you...tend to do a lot of attracting?"

"Don't you dare" April said, trying to put some distance between herself and Michelangelo, who was heading towards her, but before she could run, Michelangelo caught up to her and collided with her, sending them both to the floor.

"How many times am I gonna fall for you?" Michelangelo said, kissing her on the cheek.

April stroked his face lovingly. "Now where would we be without my magnetic personality?" she said.

Before long, the two were exchanging warm and passionate kisses, swiftly interrupted too soon by the returning Raphael, who had a few newspapers in hand.

"Now this is the sort of affair that is best served between the dirt sheets" Raphael remarked, dropping one of the papers on Michelangelo's heads.

Elsewhere, the beach ball rolled along the lair into the kitchen and settled at the feet of Donatello, who was seated at the table working on a device while Irma was preparing him toast.

"Do they have to play Summer sports indoors with the kind of weather we have outside?" Donatello asked Irma.

"Hey, it's that or another 'round of iron man meditation" Irma replied, "When April agreed to train with you guys, she didn't really think she'd have the time to literally stop and think about it"

"Yeah, well, that's us all over Irma. We think slow so we can act fast later. I know April's all about covering the instant action in her day job, but at least this practise allows her to see the method behind a lot of our madness. Besides, it will definitely come in handy when her news assignments become dangerous."

"You're so logical, I'm surprised she never thought of settling for you" Irma said, "Not that I'm complaining"

"Oh please, April and I have virtually nothing in common...she's street-smart and I'm WAY smart" Donatello remarked.

"Ah, but that's where you're off slightly sweetheart. You both possess the biggest career-minded egos I've ever come across" Irma replied.

"Are you trying to get on my bad side today?" Donatello asked, "Is this about what I made you go through at the A.P.E demo last week?"

"Oh I'm way over that" Irma said, "Besides, Professor Sagan is eager to make up for it. He's invited me to his mansion tomorrow, along with the rest of the committee that was there"

"Really? And I thought he wasn't very social" Donatello responded, "He'd have little reason to be after the way you humiliated him"

"Seems that Sagan fella really is going above and beyond the call of decency to get a party going" Raphael said, handing Donatello a newspaper. "Turn to page seven" he said

As April and Michelangelo rushed into the kitchen to pick up the beach-ball, they overheard Donatello read out the headline.

"Why No Serious Sagan: Mad-cap scientist bares his soul and promises free A.P.E demo at massive fun-raising party: Yesterday, renowned scientist Professor Kim Sagan, wearing only a placard, boxer shorts, and banana shoes, stunned citizens in Times Square with a bold and boisterous invite to a public pyjama party at his private estate where the finest scientific minds of the A.P.E institute will unveil the secret of mass inter-reality transit...using only spoons. Sagan says the time has come to let down the hair of the stuffy up-and-up scientific elite and shatter conventions as well as dimensions"

The room fell deathly quiet for a few seconds, before commotion was triggered by Raphael's infectious laughter, which caused everyone else besides Donatello to join in.

"Spoons?" Raphael said, " It's a step above making mountains out of mashed potatoes, but even that feat is manageable by the average, if less than sane, Joe. Pyjama parties? Playing with spoons? Is this science, or is this a breakfast bar?"

Donatello didn't see the funny side of the matter.

"This is really serious...the local scientific community takes a lot of pride in their secrecy" he said

"You're not suggesting this spoon thing is on the level are you?" Michelangelo asked

"No, no it's boulder-dash, and would go against their reservations against dimensional travel, but a member of the scientific community making a spectacle of himself and putting them in the limelight could well be Sagan's revenge for being mocked last week...and the presence of the public means A.P.E and others associated with it will now have no choice but to attend the party and probably even unveil a project they've been developing in secret just to save face when everyone realizes the spoon thing isn't going to happen"

"So Sagan gets what he wants, the community forced to reveal something early that will be completely underwhelming in contrast to what the public expect, making it an embarrassing ordeal for them one way or another. That's dang clever of him" April said , "And it also sounds like the kind of meaty scandal a roving reporter like me could cover, I'll talk to Burne and see if he can arrange something

Leonardo walked in with Master Splinter, who had been spending most of the day as he had the week before, locked in a deep collected series of meditations, pondering a problem.

"Good to see you up and about sensei" Donatello said.

"My weariness of late has been related to a sense of impending danger that has, as of the last week, intensified, one might even say it has been tripled" Splinter said, "I feel now is the time for you to investigate it"

"Any clues on where to begin master?" Leonardo asked

Splinter nodded, "I sense it has much to do with numbers...a gathering of people, carefully manipulated and herded into the eye of an almighty storm"

"Does it mean we get to crash at that party? Far out" Michelangelo replied.

"Party?" Splinter asked. Donatello handed over the newspaper.

Upon reading it, Splinter realized how sharp his instincts and suspicions were.

"It appears the conditions are ideal for your intervention my students" Splinter said, "You must all go, but be active, alert, and do not indulge your sense of play for any reason. That which creates madness has great method to it"

"If it's meant to be a zany kind of outing, what can we possibly wear?" Leonardo said.

Irma's eyes lit up.

"Don't you worry your pretty little shells, I've got just the thing" she said.

Hours passed, and as the public flocked to Kim Sagan's mansion, attired in their nightly dressings, the eccentric scientist, dressed in a cosy mix of star-studded pyjama tops and loose baggy trousers, fixed up his bow tie while the female portion of the freakish trinity he had become an ally to lavished him with praise.

"You look gorgeous" the female fly complimented

"I did notice" Sagan replied.

"Hey, male counterpart seething with jealousy over here" the muscular fly remarked as he played around with a couple of weights

"We're not even married" the female responded

"Then explain the kid" the male responded.

As fate would have it, the infant fly soon flew into the room, clutching a teddy bear.

"Mommy, do I have to stay up late?" the kid complained.

"And I thought brats your age considered staying up a rare privilege" the female replied.

"It's just...there's nothing on television, except boring infomercials" the child moaned, "I need to play, are any other kids coming?"

"No" Sagan answered. The child took this as a sign to throw a tantrum.

"I don't want to live like this. I feel, I know, I should be all grown-up about this, so make me a grown-up again, bring us all back together" it complained, rolling on the floor and indulging in quite the paddy.

"The psycho-splinter is primed and ready for use" Sagan assured him, "When we're done scaring the people spitless, you will be reunified"

"You're most kind " the female replied, "You remind me of a friend I had...I can't remember much of him, do you any of two remember our friend?"

"Hard to tell I'm afraid dear" the male answered, "But I seem to recall he was a whiz with computers...or...was he a computer?"

As the Channel Six news van headed up to the front gate of Sagan's mansion, the Turtles sat huddled in the back, despairing at their 'evening wear' carefully selected by Irma, the result of many a slumber party she had with the female friends gained from her yoga class sessions. A nightshirt and green boxers for Leonardo, nightgown and fuzzy slippers for Donatello, a loose night dress and night cap for Michelangelo, and even a top with a teddy bear sewn onto the right sleeve for Raphael.

Donatello stared at the tiny little micro-dots in his hand and looked over to Irma, who was, besides April, the only one in formal wear, looking dead pleased with her selection of outfits for the green machine.

"A science slumber party? Where'd he get this idea from? Some off the wall Disney movie?" Raphael remarked.

"How come the girls don't get to dress up?" Michelangelo said

"Part of Sagan's game" Irma explained, "The invite requested I dress sharply"

"It's probably to make every science whiz there look 'square' in the eyes of the public, to make it look like we're incapable of letting our hair down and having fun" Donatello explained.

"And what's your excuse?" Raphael asked April at the drivers seat.

"The perks of being the press, is that we always have to look professional, if not a little sane in presenting this experience to the dignified outside world" April explained.

"Dude, can we exchange evening wear? I feel a draft in this" Michelangelo asked, commenting on his dress.

"You just want this bear to sleep with tonight don't you?" Raphael replied, "Forget it"

Everyone laughed at this, even Donatello, but as he looked at the micro-dots, he found himself drifting again, his thoughts elsewhere

"What are those Donny?" Irma asked, pointing to the dots.

"Oh, they were for tonight, they're psychic patches, they enable a person to patch in to the neural network of a vast collective of people and give you a glimpse of their knowledge and feelings"

"Isn't that a breach of privacy?" Irma inquired.

Donatello nodded, "I don't know what I was thinking bringing them along, I just thought you needed some kind of advantage if you were approached again and asked your opinion on a scientific breakthrough or had to explain a complex idea to the people. I'm just trying to make you look good"

"You do a fine job of that by supporting me in places like this anyway" Irma replied, and kissed Donatello on the cheek. "It's the simple things in life that make everything matter...you're a prize catch and I want everyone in there knowing that"

"I think we need a better mask if we're gonna make this catch look convincing" Raphael remarked, pointing to the Turtle's regular and traditionally unremarkable means of facial camouflage.

"People in there look way uglier then them" Irma replied, "You got nothing to worry about"

The van pulled up to the gate, April showed the guards her press pass and she was soon allowed to move in.

Upon parking the van, the Turtles put on their masks and everyone disembarked, heading to the front door, where a stiff looking butler was accepting invites. April showed her pass again and was allowed to enter, Irma was up next with her and Donatello, she showed her invite. The butler let the two in.

As the other Turtles moved in, the Butler stopped them

"And just where are your invites good sirs?" the butler said

"Oh no, we don't have any" Leonardo replied

"Then how come Donatello got in?" Raphael asked

The Butler provided them with the answer by showing them that the invite allowed for one extra guest to attend, not a whole group.

"Great, we're stuck out here looking like we're camping out waiting for a mall to open" Raphael said, and looked at the teddy bear stuck to his sleeve gawking at him

"At least I've got this shoulder to cry on" he remarked.

"Wow, it's certainly lively" said April as she took in the atmosphere of the party, seeing teeming masses of people dressed in their cosy bed wear, drinking from bowls of punch and helping themselves to servings of lightly toasted sandwiches. There was not yet any exquisite and succulenctly rich food to be had at this party, for reasons known only to the host.

"I'll mingle a little, don't worry though, I did a lot of book worming, so I should know something of what the eggheads are saying" Irma said, kissing Donatello on the cheek, "Love you"

"Good luck dear" Donatello said.

As soon as Irma turned her back and disappeared into the crowd, he began to do a little scouting of his own.

Waltzing around, he glimpsed a rather plump looking well-dressed man trying to woo a few of the guests, who were quick to dismiss him with a prime slap to the face. As he rubbed his aching features, the man noticed that Donatello was glancing over at him.

"Can you believe the nerve of that girl?" he said

"I believe it, I just wonder if I can withstand it" Donatello replied. The man laughed.

"Women. Ha. They're always trying to tell what lies within our heads and carefully creep into them, they should focus on everything outside of it, it's way more appealing" the man replied. Donatello could barely hide his dismay at the man's delusional view of himself, and felt worse for the male gender in general being as ill represented at this event.

Donatello walked over to the punch bowl and took to pouring himself a glass. Someone brushed past him, helping himself to the sandwich snacks.

"Calm crowd" he remarked. Donatello nodded, then took a second glance. His jaw dropped.

It was Kim Sagan. The host.

"It's funny how these people react isn't it?" he said.

"What do you mean?" Donatello said

"Between you and me, this really isn't why I bother experimenting on the regular members of Joe Public, they swallow the mildest form of chaos so easily but have almost no patience or enjoyment for the more drastic kind. They'll settle for events like this so long as it excites their primitive, childish impulses, they all share the need to rebel, they're all united in the cause of standing outside the pack...yet by standing for that cause, they tend not to stand out and follow a different kind of convention"

"Then why stage this event at all?" Donatello asked, "And just why are you telling me all this? I'm a guest, I should feel insulted by what you just said"

"If you feel something, you're more than welcome to try and change it. To challenge it. I've told fifteen people the exact same thing, from members of Joe Public to the eggheads walking on eggshells, you know what I get every time? A giggle, a threat, a walk-out...but that's all they ever do. They don't throw a punch, they don't raise their hand and strike me down, they have all the verbal ire, but not the skill to imprint their fire on to my skin and scold me...sc old me so very, very badly. That's their mistake, that's their bed, time to tuck them in and read them their story"

"You sound very drunk" Donatello said.

"I spiked the punch, that's no surprise" Sagan said, "Tell me something new, observe me in a different way"

"Ok, you're..like a child" Donatello remarked, "With quite a lot of growing up to do"

"No rush" Sagan said, and winked at him.

As he turned to take another dozen sandwiches, Donatello felt the ire Sagan had described build up. Deciding to answer the challenge, he took a slow breath, put on the fakest smile he could muster, and patted him gently on the back of the neck.

"Quite a kidder" Donatello said. Sagan turned and looked at him, his face sagged.

"I'm quite low, but never to the levels you people sink to" Sagan criticized, and headed to the staircase, still munching down on his plate full of bread and bacon.

Donatello's face steeled itself, and he calmly pressed one of the psychic patches in his hand and fastened it to his neck, and prepared to patch into the neural framework that would be channelled through to him by the patch he had just fastened to Sagan's body.

Despite his earlier misgivings, Donatello knew this was a mind that was calling out for proper psychological evaluation. He decided, against every bit of morality in his make-up, that he would answer that call by making the kind of connection Sagan would not personally allow.

It took only a few seconds to learn all he needed to know, and what he now knew chilled him to his core.

There were so many things to do, so many alarms to raise, but one name came to his thoughts immediately, and he sought that name out as quickly as he could.

"Irma" he thought, time and again

He found her engaging in conversation with the guests, specialising on a particular interest filled with many complex phrases and expressions as she could possibly come up with by ploughing through the verbal index she had set up in her mind, all trying to convey the same message

The science, and consistent benefits, of ice cream.

"Irma, you've got to get out of here" Donatello replied.

"Come on Don, don't cramp my very 'in' style here, I spent hours prepping for this type of lingo limbo" she said, clearly in love with the sound of her own voice and the mesmerising effect it was having on some of the scientists.

"Look, this is important, we're all in great danger, Sagan's nuttier than nutella spread and fruitier than the Fruitella candy, I've got to move you off the chess board before his pawns move forward"

"Pawns?" Irma asked, "If this is Chess, does that make me a Queen and you a rook? Because you're totally my castle"

The two were interrupted, along with the entire frenetically charged gathering, by the sound of a ringing bell from high atop the balcony. Sagan was holding court

"Friends, before my esteemed colleagues provided you with explanations and demonstrations, it is time to dine. Let us serve you well, and for my peers, let you be served...right"

With a click of his fingers, two trapeze artists attached to two separate swings on the left and right of the mansion's grand hall began to glide and somersault through the air, each passing the other and exchanging swings.

Down below, the doors to the kitchen opened and a luxurious banquet was wheeled out on a massive trolley, with three plates labelled , 'starter', 'beef, and 'sweet'

"Oh, can we play 'mass exodus' after dinner Don? All that talk of ice cream has got me souring for some sweets" Irma begged. Donatello tried pushing her away, but she skirted past him and dashed over to the table.

Donatello , realizing Irma wouldn't budge, chose to prioritise and think of the bigger picture beyond the captivating taste buds of his girlfriend, and contacted the other Turtles via Turtle-Com

"Guys, this is Donatello, we've got big problems in here, find a way in as quickly as you can" he instructed.

Letting her excitement get the better of her, Irma pushed her way to the front of the dinner table and enthusiastically lifted up the lid of the 'starter' , only to reel back in shock.

"I started...so I might as well finish" the female fly said, taking a laser gun out of her purse

Another member of the public lifted the 'beef' lid, only to be confronted by the male fly

"Where's the beef If you don't mind me asking?" Irma remarked

"Will a beefcake suffice?" the hulking, muscular insect replied, taking the plate he was under and breaking it over his head.

"And the sugar..." said a scientist, lifting up the final lid, to find a whole mountain of the substance piled on top of the ravenous insect child

"...Full of that and spice, time to feast on everything nice" he replied

As all three flies swarmed over the hall, wreaking pure havoc and sending the crowd into a frenzy, Sagan took to watching his trapeze artists, in reality, two androids, indulge in their act, unoccupied by the chaos down below.

"Try not to send anyone through any windows, I insist this not be the most expensive of parties" Sagan advised to the flies.

However, a fatefully brief glance at the crowd saw him take a gander at the panicked Irma as she headed for the door. Sagan gently pressed a button on his cuff-links, which triggered a locking system on the entrance to the mansion, sending it into lockdown.

No one was to have too merciful a night.

Especially her.


Outside, the remaining Turtles were trying to get inside, and were arguing intensely with the butler at the front of the door.

"Don't you hear the commotion going on in there? There's people that want out and you're barricading them. They're asking you 'Jeeves', to open the door, if you don't , well, that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'the butler did it'" complained Raphael.

"This is not your concern. The present trouble will not take long to dissipate. Remain calm and wait for your friends to emerge" The Butler advised.

"Emerge in what? Body bags?" Raphael continued, and jabbed his finger in the Butler's chest, "You seem to be hard of hearing, so I'll point it out to you...someone in there means business and we're more than capable of taking trans-action. Let us in, or you're going to be ringing out for his master's voice courtesy of the biggest wet wily this finger of mine can take"

The Butler brushed Raphael's finger aside and began to suddenly grow in size, his clothes ripped apart, his face melted away, revealing a blank robotic feature with an infra-red scanner beaming it's light onto the startled Turtle's face.

"Now look what you've made me do" he said, "I must now you insist you leave the premises...in pieces or under your own power is entirely up to you"

"We're not afraid of you" Leonardo said in defiance.

The robotic butler's infra-red scanner glowed brighter and brighter, the Turtles feeling the heat, it became painfully obvious the sight served as some kind of energy weapon. It fired several warning shots, scorching the ground beneath the Turtles' feet and causing them to hotfoot slightly over the lawn.

"It would be wise to depart now" the robot cautioned, still maintaining his upper class accent despite his remarkable appearance.

"Alright Turtles, time to ditch the formalities" Leonardo instructed, and removed his late evening wear

"Aw, just when I was getting all toasty in these" Michelangelo remarked, before obeying Leonardo's command.

As the two Turtles unveiled their weapons and tried to score some direct hits on their colossal adversary, Raphael looked around, putting his mind to work.

"Raphael, where are you? You're needed" Leonardo said as he dodged another blast, trying to cut the robot's arm off with a well aimed stab of his katana blade, the robot swatted him aside and aimed its deadly laser vision at him, Michelangelo approached him, forming a shield of sorts and held his nun-chucks high to try and deflect the blasts. The laser fire cut through the chain linking the two sticks together, separating them

"Hey, that's my favourite pair, always joined at the hip" Michelangelo protested. The Butler fired another shot, Michelangelo somersaulted to avoid it and landed next to Leonardo, the two made a run for it as the blasts continued to rain down on them, each shot just a few inches behind them.

Watching this all unfold was Raphael, who looked at every corner of his surroundings.

"Ok, a big elite mansion, a good and tidy garden...what do you commonly find around here to keep this patch of land in tip-top shape?" he thought to himself. Suddenly, he spotted something useful

Leonardo and Michelangelo ran up to the windows of the mansion. Both were cornered as the butler's deadly targeting device closed in on them.

"What are you thinking?" Leonardo asked Michelangelo

"I could do with a hug right about now" Michelangelo replied

"Oh no, you're not reminding me of that little group huddle during our skirmish on Turtle Prime" Leonardo replied, "You want a close call like that, ask your girlfriend"

As both Turtles wondered what was taking Raphael so long, the robot prepared to close in.

Suddenly, it stopped, not knowing what kind of move to make. The Turtles were confused.

"I must not damage the windows. The master is not insured" it said, and backed away.

As it turned around, it was sprayed with a large quantity of H20 coming from a combination of a sprinkler and a water hose used by Raphael. Short-circuiting, it exploded in a shower of sparks, sending many of its components in all direction.

"They never do waterproof these things" Raphael remarked.

Realizing quickly where their priorities lay, the Turtles all dashed back to the front door and tried opening it to no avail. Leonardo examined a small keypad attached to the door.

"It requires some kind of access code to enter" Leonardo said.

"So how are going to get in?" Raphael asked

Michelangelo, having a hunch, walked back over to where the robotic butler had met its fate, and scooped its dismembered head up in his arms

"He said his master wasn't insured for these windows...well I think from all that commotion I can hear, he's trying to ensure destruction of some kind, so let's shatter that nasty notion" he said, and with one well-aimed throw, threw the robot's head into the stainless glass window, shattering it and providing the Turtles with an opening.

"Just mind yourself going in, I don't want to have a real cut above the rest" Michelangelo said, pointing to his body. The Turtles laughed and carefully clambered through the window into the packed and panicked mansion.

No sooner than they got in, they found themselves under attack from the female fly, who opened fire on them with her gun. She hovered over them, taunting the trio with a maniacal laugh

"You weirdoes aren't stealing our thunder, we crashed this party first" she yelled.

"Good grief, is that..." Leonardo began as he took note of the fly's appearance, looking at her tattered looking dress.

"...Baxter?" Raphael concluded for him.

"Woah dude...I don't know when you decided you liked a bit of skirt, but if it helps, I respect your lifestyle choices" Michelangelo commented.

"What did you call me?" the female fly said, having stumbled on a clue to her identity that was lost to her memory.

"Don't you recognize us?" Leonardo said, "We're the Turtles"

"Yeah, we're like, your mortal enemies" Michelangelo added

Raphael dismayed at that answer.

"Oh yeah, perfect strategy Mike, gal doesn't have a clue who we are and you give her all the reason in the world to indulge in her current confusion" he said.

The fly touched down and advanced towards them, shaking her head as erratic visuals of previous conflicts came to her, visions of a life she served unified as one whole being

"You're making me remember things...nothing but pain, humiliation, things that I thought were only ever possible with marriage...I must rid myself of these thoughts, and I'll start by ridding myself of you" she hissed.

"Hey, back off of them sister" came a voice from behind her. The fly turned around, the Turtles looked on with ecstatic looks. It was April.

"Get back behind your little camera and relay a pretty picture in the midst of all this grizzly scenery you little bimbo" the fly taunted.

"Did you hear the latest? The coverage these days really strikes a chord with the viewer" April said, and with a fierce roundhouse kick, knocked the gun out of the female fly's hand and brought her knee crashing up into her chin

"Alright babe, you really absorbed those lessons" Michelangelo commented

"Not as thoroughly as that she-fly absorbed my reflexes" April said

"Now all we need do is find Donatello in this crowd" Leonardo said, realizing it would be harder than it seemed with parts of the crowd scattering in several directions, and some getting so worked up they were running around in circles.

Raphael looked upwards, and quickly pointed something out, the remaining Turtles rose their heads, and saw Donatello, his human guise now off, holding on to Irma's legs as she was hoisted up in the air by the muscular male fly, heading towards the balcony where Professor Sagan was awaiting her.

" "I think Donny's got a hold of the situation" Raphael observed.

Sagan was in a prickly mood. His windows were shattered, his party guests now had a way out, and he had intruders. To make matters worse, the simple task of retrieving the woman who had humiliated him a few days earlier was being met with great difficultly, as the pea-brained masculine fly tried to shake Donatello off by smashing him into the walls, leaving slight dents in them. The defiant Turtle seemed unshakable.

Meanwhile, the child Fly had taken to the kitchen, and came back out armed with several custard pies, some of which he was scoffing down on. In a wild fit, he threw the pies at the remaining intruders. Leonardo and Raphael ducked, but Michelangelo stood his ground, letting the pies cover him from head to toe, enabling him to lick the creamy contents off of himself in an equally quick amount of time, such was his ravenous appetite.

When the child ran out of pies to throw, Raphael darted across the tables and brought the fly to the ground with a charging rugby tackle.

Sagan was dismayed. A waste of good decorating and food...was this really what he envisioned when he sought to scare and shock the guests he was all too willing to victimise?

The female fly flew up to him, having been humbled by April, her ego was bruised, her psyche was all a jumble, and her priorities were clear.

"Sagan, this isn't working out" she said, "I just got an inkling of who I am and it's more indecipherable than the average ink blot. I need to be one with my other selves again, and now"

Sagan took a piece of bubble gum and gave it to her, "Helps lessen your stress levels" he said. The female took the gum and chewed down.

Sagan walked over to a door leading to a large spiral staircase, "I suppose you've earned your unification, come with me, I made arrangements for the Psycho-Splinter to be moved to my study"

"What about the party crashers?" the female asked. Sagan looked down at the ongoing skirmish, and then glanced over to his trapeze artists.

"Everything that crashes, tends to burn" he said.

He took a small pendant out of the right side of his pyjama pocket and pressed down on it. The trapeze artists dropped from their perches and glided towards the Turtles, shooting laser fire from their eyes.

"Junior, cease your playtime, this family's about to get a whole lot closer" the female instructed to the child, who was busy wrestling Raphael on the floor.

As the Trapeze artists, in reality dangerous robots, fired upon them, the child broke free of Raphael's grip and flew up to his female counterpart, they, Sagan, and the male, still with Irma and Donatello clinging on to him, all headed for the spiral staircase, Sagan made sure to lock the door behind him.

"We've got to keep those things clear of the crowd" Leonardo instructed as the Turtles did battle with the trapeze terrors.

"Yeah, we don't need to take any swings from this double act" Raphael remarked, and leapt into the air as they flew down, he jumped on their backs and made a grab for the chandelier high above. Hanging from it, he carefully timed a drop down, taking his sais out in mid freefall and bringing them down on the heads of the two robots just as they were closing in on Leonardo and Michelangelo. With the terrors incapacitated, Leonardo took a swing of his blade and cut their heads clean off.

"Nice bit of static artistry there Raphael, almost effortless" Leonardo complimented.

"Now all we have to do is deal with a multi-troop" Michelangelo said. The Turtles agreed and ran up the stairs leading to the balcony, but found that the door had been sealed shut.

On the other end, Sagan, the flies, and their passengers made their way to Sagan's private laboratory high up in the loft compartment of the mansion complex. Sagan burst through the doors and switched the lights on, basking the active Psycho-Splinter in a beaming glow.

As the masculine fly dropped Irma and Donatello, Sagan quickly grabbed her and took out his patented boxing glove gun from a nearby desk. He made his intentions clear to Donatello

"This weapon can diminish a person's neural patterns to that of a pillowcase with one solid knock to the temple"

"Great news to me, I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping" Irma replied, Sagan held her tightly.

"Let her go Sagan, it won't take long for the police to arrive, and my fellow Turtles will find their way up here eventually, there is no real outcome that works in your favour" Donatello warned. Sagan wasn't listening.

"You humiliated me at the demonstration of my great experiment, you said the funny farm could ill afford me" he rasped to the frightened Irma, "Well, take a look at the results, see what happens when you turn the keys ever so slightly the wrong way, it has opened up a door to vindication for me"

"Oh yeah, you sure showed me...sending house flies out to attack a sheepish crowd and a lot of eggheads, running away from your problems like a chicken, this is the funny farm personified alright" Irma replied.

Sagan instructed the female fly to operate the control console, telling her how to bring the device to life and which adjustments needed to be made to it, and to set it to the inter-dimensional source code where the creatures had originated from as one being, although he did not tell them the final key command, he wanted to have the pleasure of punching in the sequence himself.

The fly took the commands relatively well, surprising even herself with how fluent she was at understanding the specifics of the device.

"It's almost like second nature to me" she said, "Whoever the three of us were must have been a dab hand at these kinds of marvels" she said

The device began to ignite with energy as the source dimension flared into view. The three flies flew towards it.

"A superior creature can only emerge from you three delightful things" Sagan boasted, "You are a step above conventional, erratic and clichéd human misery"

"I don't know what to have to tell you this Sagan, but those flies? They seem to represent a real character called Baxter Stockman, a scientist who originally hailed from Earth. He was human Sagan, before he was sent to another dimension and transformed into the horror you've unleashed by the power of three tonight"

Sagan's jaw dropped. He looked at the flies with an incensed expression. "You...were human?" he asks

"News to us" said the child.

"No, no he's right, somehow...in the scrambled jigsaw puzzle that's my...that's OUR...brain, this is quite clear to me" the male fly replied.

"Then good luck with the rest of your day" Sagan said, and, letting Irma go, he stuck the boxing gun just beneath his chin

Irma and Donatello pleaded for him to stop, but it was too late, he pulled the trigger, and the boxing glove went off and smashed into his face, knocking him senseless.

"Look what you've done!" cried the male, "Now we'll never be reunified, something from my past tells me you've always been a thorn in our side, well it's time to let you know how much of a prick WE can be"

He flew into a rage, smashing up bookcases and turning over desks and pounding the windows before lunging towards Donatello, who scrambled to the console, trying to work out a means of finishing the process and salvage something from the situation. The male towered over him, and brought a fist down on the console.

This seemed to set the psycho-splinter off, and the energy ribbons began to spiral out of control, wrapping themselves around the three and pulling them into the centre of the dimensional vortex that had opened up

"That did the trick it seemed" Irma said.

"Talk about punching in the final instruction" Donatello remarked.

As the three flies were merged into one, Donatello looked at what remained of the console, desperately looking for a way to switch it off

The three flies soon vanished from view, and in their place was a reunified and energised Baxter. He looked all around him, taking in a few stretches, as if he just emerged from a days long coma with no sense of self. Now he was alive again, and he was very aware

"I remember everything...I am me, I am free, I am Stockman, Baxter Stockman, Licensed mad scientist, and I'm back to create a bit of a buzz" he exclaimed

"I don't think so Baxter, with my fullest regards, it's time you were returned to sender" Donatello said, and flipped a couple of switches labelled 'REVERSE'

"No, not the reversal of the neutron flow again...it's so...so British" Baxter yelled, and, feeling the tug of the vortex, was scooped up and thrown back towards the dimensional source, and out of Irma and Donatello's sight.

Irma went over to the plug and pulled it out. With nothing powering it, the psycho-splinter went dead

A small grappling hook suddenly latched onto the shattered glass and Michelangelo's head soon emerged as he climbed up it, he and the remaining Turtles soon clambered in, ready for action.

"Alright, we're on the pulse, now let's close this flea market" Raphael said, only to realize they were too late.

There was just Donatello and Irma, huddled together, looking despondently at the limp body of Sagan.

Leonardo looked out the window, picking up sirens.

"The heat is here, we better cool down elsewhere" he said, referring to arrival of police cars.

"What about Irma?" Donatello asked, "She needs someone to verify what happened here"

"Don't worry about me honey, who ever makes a song and dance about this these days anyway?" Irma said confidently.

Two months was all it took for the dance to get very dirty.

PRESENT DAY


Donatello blamed himself for what was going on now as Irma did her best to explain that evening's events to the tribunal. No matter how many times his fellow Turtles had assured him that Sagan was to blame, he couldn't help but feel the hidden hand that had pulled Irma's strings.

Maybe he should never have achieved that degree, maybe the world wasn't ready for 'Donna 'Tello', maybe Irma wouldn't have been in the position she was in to chip away at Sagan during his demonstration, to humiliate him to such an extent he would try to take out, or more accurately, indulge in, his frustrations, or maybe the whole thing would have happened anyway with another scientist having a big enough mouth to say the little things that set off a ticking time bomb.

All he knew was it shouldn't have been Irma. She deserved to enjoy her life, not have to make excuses for it.

Irma finished bringing everyone up to speed. The Tribunal conversed with each other briefly, and then spoke to her again.

"And that's all you can offer us Ms. Langenstien?" said the lead speaker,

"Definitely" Irma said.

"Nothing about how a woman of a painfully obvious average intelligence was allowed to converse with scientists of a higher calibre intellect in the first place?" he asked

"Hey, I'm pretty streetwise, like all those doctors in rap" Irma replied.

Everyone in the room groaned.

The speaker's temper grew, and he conveyed his frustrations to her as calmly as he reasonably could to maintain professional courtesy.

"Ms. Langenstien, if you were one of the average 'streetwise' people invited to this party, you would be easily dismissed along with every other person assembled there, but you were the last person to see Sagan when he was in perfect health, the last person to see what happened to those inhuman creatures, you were privileged enough, by fate or more likely damn rotten luck, to experience things that could give us a glimpse into the revolving door mind of the man Kim Sagan, no one can be as flippant and as casual about it as you have proven to be...that makes me think one other possibility, that you are putting on an act"

"And what basis do you have for assuming that?" a rather peeved Irma asked

"Bring it in" the speaker commanded, beckoning over to a security guard, who handed him a small, familiar looking micro dot

"This was found on Sagan when he was being transported to the hospital" the speaker said. Irma looked at Donatello, who buried his head in his hands as she realized he had went back on his word to use the psychic patches

"Researchers at A.P.E had it analyzed and found it to be some sort of neural patch. It actually contains most of Sagan's mindset on it" the speaker continued, "We haven't quite worked out how to access those brainwave patterns yet, but when we do, we'll probably have the answers that will likely verify everything you've said today"

"But why do you think I'm some sort of great pretender?" Irma asked

"Ms. Langenstien, a device of this calibre isn't something one just picks up at the dollar store. We are of two opinions of you, one half says you're a regular, harmless ditz, but the scientists we talked to who were at the party say you were a collected and articulate individual with a great depth of knowledge...granted it seemed to be all about ice cream, but that's beside the point" the speaker explained, "One way or the other, you come out looking like a liar, what we'd like to know is, who is the real Donna 'Tello? Why did you make up that alias? IS it your alias, or is 'Irma Langenstien' the lie?"

Donatello analyzed how desperate the situation seemed, he knew there might be at least one way out of this. He reached up to his mask, and contemplated taking it off, to reveal to the world that he was a Turtle and to explain he had developed the patches, that 'Donna 'Tello' was him, he was the truth and the lie.

Just before he could unveil himself however, Irma took to the microphone again

"I suppose it's really simple really" she said, twitching her fingers, "I've never been good at pinning down a lot of things, guys, jobs, career opportunities, I've either always stayed behind the desk or helped out in a news van, I was never the glamorous reporter, or the hot-headed editor, I was never someone...and one day, because of someone making a glaring error, the most wonderful person in the world told me I could be this incredibly gifted, highly intelligent person, that person wanted me to be an extension of genius. I let myself be myself that day, and you know what I did? I helped that person save the world, you know what with? A regular hairpin. A hairpin. The world didn't end because the regular girl with the average I.Q and the worst possible dress sense gave the person with all the gifts something to pin down a doomsday device with. I never felt so special, so we kept it up over the years, I would be the extension of that genius, and in being that, I got to share my own unique mindset with people too busy or too lofty in stature to contemplate that level of thinking"

"But who IS the real 'Donna Tello' Ms. Langenstien?" the speaker continued

"Does it matter? The genius got the dirt on Sagan and warned me, I was saved, and no matter what difficult choices were made to raise the alarm, when those bells went off, the green machine roared into life, and those flies got zapped with the most electrifying repellent I've ever witnessed. Thanks to all of that we have one less ecstatic eccentric running around in his boxers telling everyone there's a party with a hefty price tag" Irma concluded.

Donatello smiled as he realized Irma had forgiven him, a small tear rolled down his cheek.

The tribunal gathered again and talked amongst themselves, they turned back around

"Ms. Langenstien...are you still in touch with this person?" the speaker asked

"Always" Irma said

"Tell that person they have our gratitude, and if 'Donna' wishes to stick to the shadows in future, we would like you to represent the light" he added, "A.P.E could do with some of 'Tello's input"

Irma gave him a salute, "You'll be hearing from us" she said

"Very well, this hearing is dismissed" the speaker said.

Irma and Donatello walked out hand in hand from the building. The reporters, having all watched the inquiry on the live stream, were full of query, none more apparent than Vernon.

"How did you do it?" Vernon asked, "You're one step away from total humiliation, how'd you bounce back?"

Irma gave him a wicked grin, "Track down Donna and get connected" she said.

Donatello and Irma jumped back into their car, the reporters still swarming over it taking snapshots and yelling questions through the car's open windows which Donatello soon sealed shut as the vehicle drove off.

The day's events had ended just the way they had began, with Donatello and Irma the centre of attention, the talk of the town, only this time, the mood had changed.

"Feeling better?" Irma asked

"Relieved" Donatello said, "I thought our goose was cooked when the patches were brought up, I even thought..."

Irma took her glasses off and stared at Donatello with loving eyes, "I thought you didn't need a patch to tell what I'm thinking Donny, we need to work on your trust issues a bit more, especially now that we're going to be more of a team than ever"

"Maybe we should wait until tomorrow...it is after all, another day" Donatello said

"Fat chance mister, we're talking this over a nice cold ice cream" Irma replied and exchanged a series of warm kisses with her boyfriend as the car sped down the New York city streets.

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; December 30th, 2018 at 07:21 AM.
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Old January 30th, 2019, 02:12 PM #10
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I was wondering what happened to this series.

Great stuff man. Glad you're still going with this. I'm not as huge on TMNT as I am MMPR, but it's a refreshing change of pace an dyou do know your material.
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Old January 31st, 2019, 08:02 AM #11
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Sorry for the delays in uploads, I started working on the tenth "episode" back in 2017 and I get frequently caught up with other projects. Rest assured, I will finish it and upload the remaining stories. Thanks for your feedback.
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Old February 25th, 2019, 01:39 PM #12
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For some reason, the board keeps blocking my attempts to copy/paste the next chapter, so for the time being here's the link to it on Archive of Our Own

https://archiveofourown.org/works/16...pters/42317255

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; February 26th, 2019 at 01:52 AM.
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Old March 3rd, 2019, 09:25 AM #13
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Are you typing in double dashes? Those get flagged and you can't post any chapters unless you fix them. I had the same issue.
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Old March 4th, 2019, 01:42 AM #14
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Yeha, I just spotted some double dashes on re-reading it. Thanks, I'll sort that out

..Wow, I definitely need to proof read, I'm finding way more grammatical errors than I thought I'd covered previously in this story...

Last edited by Cameron Samurai; March 4th, 2019 at 02:24 AM.
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