Ninja Turtles: Punishment

 

Wake up!!!!

Oroku Ryu jolted upright out of bed. Chills ran down his spine as his eyes struggled to focus on his surroundings. Slowly, outlines of furniture became visible as he tried to calm his nerves. Cold sweat beaded around the back of his neck as he tried to control his breathing.

At home, in my room…at home, in my room…at home, in my room…

Ryu repeated his mantra, telling himself he was safe. Every night for almost a month now, he had been having the same nightmare. Since the day he met the Turtles, since the day he fought and killed their father Splinter, he hadn’t slept a full night without waking in…fear; cold sweats, shivers and tremors and not recognizing where he was.

Be honest with yourself Ryu, you regret killing someone.

Ryu pulled himself together and got out of bed. He ran his hand along the edge of the mattress so he knew when to turn for the door. He didn’t really feel like breaking his toe because he walked into his dresser. He left his room, shutting the door trying to keep the nightmares in his room. Sleeping in his living room helped some, so did falling asleep while watching TV or listening to his iPod; but it made him feel like a child with a nightlight when he didn’t sleep in his own bed. He walked into bathroom and went straight for the sink, splashing water on his face, forcing himself to wake up faster, trying to ignore the churning feeling in his stomach.

His morning stomach pains reminded him of when he first learned to fight as a child. He remembered his grandmothers’ stern eyes piercing into him as he fought people much bigger and stronger than him. Back then, he would just think of the father that he never got to know, and he would push through whatever lay in his path. Now though, this was something new. This was worse than regret, this was fear.

Ryu wiped water from his face and as he looked in the mirror, he didn’t recognize the face staring back at him.

 

Ryu pushed his feelings to the background and went about his morning. He had woken up at three thirty in the morning; that was ninety minutes before he had intended to. That meant that he had ninety extra minutes to be stronger than he was yesterday.

Ryu worked out and laid into his punching bag for just under two hours. Every time he struck the bag, he thought about his fight with Splinter. The old rat had been a formidable opponent. Everything that Ryu had heard about Hamato Yoshi had been true. He was an excellent swordsman and skilled warrior. But there was something that he hadn’t expected to see from the rat, compassion. Just before he died, the rat looked at each of his “sons”. Ryu could tell that the rat knew he was going to die, that he was going to leave his sons alone in the world. But Ryu could tell that the rat knew that his sons would be fine. He just tried to show with a single look how much he loved them.

“Ryu.”

The voice came out of nowhere and pulled Ryu from his musings.  Ryu turned and saw Hun standing in the corner of the living room. Hun was almost as tall as Ryu and she was well built. She was covered from head to toe in black clothing and black boots. She wore a black hood that partially covered the red and black, Venetian-style mask that covered her entire face.

“Haven’t been sleeping well, have you?” Huns voice was hidden behind some kind of modulator giving her a synthetic sounding voice that crawled under Ryu’s skin whenever he heard it. Ryu had nothing but respect for Hun. Whoever she really was, she had given him the resources to avenge his father’s murder. He understood her need for secrecy and he never pressed her for her identity. It probably wouldn’t matter if he had. Hun struck Ryu as the type of woman that wouldn’t reveal something she didn’t want known.

“No, I haven’t.”

“I wanted you to know that the Turtles have returned to New York. They’ll be coming for you.”

“Let them.”

Hun nodded and turned away from Ryu. As she opened the window behind her, she spoke to Ryu without looking at him.

“You should know that Leonardo; he is acting on his own. He wants revenge. Call your people, bring them together. Prepare yourself.”

Ryu wanted to ask how Hun knew all of this, but before he could find the words, she was gone.

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

 


 

 

Ninja Turtles: Punishment.

Part One.

 

“Thirteen…Fourteen…Fifteen.”

Raphael set the weight back on the rack. He was up early, just past four in the morning. Sleep eluded him so he thought that he would work out a bit. It had been a while since he had hit the weights this heavy, but he was happy to see that he still had a max bench press of three twenty five.

I’m not strong enough, he thought.

They had arrived back in New York late the night before. Raphael and his brothers, save for Leonardo, had crammed into the back of a moving truck, along with Mona and Venus; April and Casey had driven them back from Northampton. Raphael rose to his feet and walked, slowly around the massive dojo that he had spent years training in and thought of the family that slept soundly in the surrounding rooms. Mona was asleep in their room. Venus and Michelangelo shared his futon, along with April and Casey’s five year old daughter Shadow.

April had wanted to go back to her and Casey’s apartment, what was left of it, and see if anything could be recovered from it. Shadow, who was barely awake when they arrived home and asked, half asleep, if she could stay with the Turtles. Before anyone could say anything, Michelangelo had already started telling Shadow about his vintage video game collection and Venus asked if Shadow would let her braid her hair. Donatello, of course, slept in his lab/workshop. Raphael tried to focus on Leonardo and not knowing where he was. He tried to think of what their next step should be, but all he could think about was Splinter and how he would never be in his room again. His fathers’ small room was beyond the dojo, a room that Raphael knew like the back of his hand; he knew the twin size bed that was immaculately made. The old oak desk that had a picture of Splinter, back when he was human, with his wife Tang Shen; and he smiled when he thought of the large stack of Soap Opera Digest magazines on the bedside table.

What do I do, Dad? What would you do? What would Leo do?

Nobody had mentioned Leonardo since he had disappeared three days ago. One day, while they were in Northampton, Leo had just vanished. Not a note, not a goodbye, nothing. He was just gone. Raphael and the others had spent a whole day searching the forest surrounding Casey’s farmhouse and trading phone calls with Karai and the Purple Dragons clan. But their search had yielded no results. They spent the next day preparing for their return to New York. More phone calls with Karai, Mondo and Ace, Donatello had even alerted Metalhead to start searching the sewers and setting up motion sensors and cameras throughout the sewers and their home, hoping to catch at least a glimpse of their brother.

But Raphael, and the rest of them, knew it was in vain. If Leonardo didn’t want to be found, he wasn’t going to be.

Raphael had stopped walking when he passed the massive trophy case within the dojo. The case was both a point of pride and pain for the Turtles. Its contents included several artifacts from their history of fighting, and many pictures of both friends and family. One in particular had caught his attention. It was taken a few years before, on Shadows first birthday. The Turtles surrounded April, who was holding Shadow. Smiles and hugs populated the picture.

If only we could’ve known what was going to happen.

“Coffee?”

Raphael turned and saw Donatello standing near the entrance to the dojo, a coffee mug, steaming in each hand. Raphael half smiled and accepted the cup.

“You’re up early.” Raphael said.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t sleep very well.”

Raphael nodded. “Yeah, seems to be going around.”

Raphael and Donatello walked into the lab where the smell of coffee was almost overwhelming. Raphael surveyed the room and noticed Metalhead hooked up to a massive generator, had been ever since they had arrived home and he was switched off of “sentry” mode.

Poor guy’s been walking in circles for almost month now.

Metalhead was something of a mystery to Raphael. The big metal turtle-bot was probably some form of artificial intelligence. Not exactly, take-over-the-world A.I., but he could be counted on for more than just folding your laundry. Raphael sipped the bitter brew as Donatello went about polishing tools and hanging them on a in their proper place on the large peg board near a massive workbench. Raphael watched his brother work silently and noticed that his arm didn’t seem to be bothering him as much.

“How’s the arm, Donnie?”

“Well, I didn’t really appreciate being shot in the shoulder but…I think I’m just lucky my shell took the brunt of the impact.”

Raphael nodded and thought that it was good that Donatello didn’t need to wear a sling around his arm. He looked at the brace that Donatello still wore around his knee, and felt that his brother had endured enough pain.

“So what’s on your mind Raph?” Donatello asked.

Raphael wasn’t exactly hiding the fact that he felt nervous. He learned a long time ago, that when it came to hiding something from his brothers, he didn’t have much of a poker face. He just didn’t want to talk about what he was feeling, at least not with Donatello.

“I’m just thinking about Mona.”

“No you’re not, Raph. Talk to me.”

Screw it.

“I don’t know what to do Donnie. We don’t know where Leo is. Dad’s dead…and I don’t know what to do.”

It almost hurt Raphael to admit that he was grasping at straws. But he felt an intense urge to protect his brothers. To watch out for them, and to keep them safe, but he just didn’t know where to start. He was at a loss, and all he could do was think “What would Leo do”. He knew that Donatello had already picked up on this in the days since Leonardo had disappeared, and he was grateful that his brother had not made light of it in front of the family.

“What’s your gut tell you?” Donatello asked.

Raphael sighed heavily and shook his head.

“All the wrong answers; I feel like I should be out there, looking for Leo. Busting down a few doors and asking questions. But, where is that gonna lead us?”

“Raph, maybe instead of trying to find Leonardo, we should focus our efforts on finding the Dominators.”

Raphael wasn’t prepared for the shiver that ran up his spine at the mere mention of their enemies’ name. The Dominators were a paramilitary group that had spent the better part of two years moving behind the scenes to torment the Turtles. They had started by executing their friends and dumping their bodies on the street. They had forcibly mutated innocent people and shot them in the head, leaving them alone in gutters and alleyways. For two years, the Turtles had never seen a trace of who the Dominators actually were, until last month, on Thanksgiving day, when they showed up in force and attacked the Turtles and their friends.

“Donnie, those punks don’t want to be found. Before they knocked on our door, I couldn’t even tell you what one of them looked like. It’d be easier trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

“Do you know how to find a needle in a haystack, Raph? You bring a magnet. You want to find Leo, so do I. If we find the Dominators, we find our brother. And it might be easier to find them than we think it is.”

“How?” Raphael asked.

“Well,” Donatello started, “Finding Leo will be easy, I have tracking devices in all of our weapons, so for right now, we don’t have to worry about him. For now, tell me what you know about the Dominators. Tell me the facts.”

“They use military-grade equipment, martial arts training, we know a couple of their names and…they got their hands on mutagen somehow. We know that they were able to get to people like Stockman and our friends.”

“So, high-end combat gear, mutagen and a seemingly personal knowledge of our friends and associates.” Donatello paused and took a deep breath. Raphael could tell that he didn’t want to say something. As if the words escaping him came with a serrated edge. “Best case scenario, this is a new outfit that may be easier to find. Ask a couple of the right bad guys whose buying up military grade weapons and info on us.”

“And, worst case scenario?” Raphael asked.

Donatello nervously cracked his knuckles ad steeled himself for his next few words.

“Worst case…this could be the Foot clan.”

Raphael felt his shoulders tense, and the muscles in his back started to twitch slightly. The mere mention of the Foots name caused Raphael to feel dread.

“It’s just a theory right now but, every snake sheds their skin some time. Maybe they’re playing the long con here. Maybe they figured that taking a fight to us head on wasn’t going to work; like they got tired of playing the odds and they went head case on us and started breaking us down from the outside in.”

“Donnie, I don’t know. I mean, it’s been over four years since we, or anyone has seen or heard from them.

Donatello nodded. “You’re right. But it would explain how they knew who to go for. They may have wanted to make the Dominators killing spree seem sporadic. But, they knew exactly who to execute to hurt us the most. And interspersed throughout, they took out the mutants that could have risen up to challenge them, like Bebop or Old Hob.”

“That could also explain why the Dominators stopped attacking while I was away in Indiana…Donnie, what about the truce, the agreement between Leo and Karai?”

Raphael was grasping at straws, and he knew it. He knew Donatello’s answer before he even said a word. But Raphael didn’t want it to be the Foot. He wanted it to be the Dominators, and them alone. He didn’t want this to be his fault. But Raphael wasn’t stupid. All of this was his doing.

“The Foot may not have cared about the truce between them. When Karai left the Foot and formed the Purple Dragons, they may have considered us fair game again.”

Raphael nodded and shook off the last bit of his nerves. This whole thing may be his doing, in his opinion, but right now, it didn’t matter. He knew that the Foot being involved was only a possibility, and he wasn’t going to get worried over something that may or may not be true. Right now, he had to think about what they could accomplish right now.

“I’m not ruling out that it could be the Foot, but what’s the common link between the Foot and the Dominators?”

“Mutagen.” Donatello said.

“Exactly, and who knows how to get the stuff?”

Donatello didn’t waste time with his answer.

“Doctor Craig, Alexander Craig.” He said.

“Bingo. He’s the one that created the stuff and he’s the only one in the world who knows how use it and make it work. That’s where Leo’s heading. He figures that Mutagen is the only real lead he has so he’s hoping that there’ll be some kind of connection with the Dominators. Like you said Donnie, we wanna find the Dominators, we find Leo.”

Donatello smiled and shook his head. “Actually, I said if we want to find Leo, we find the Dominators, but who cares about specifics right now?”

“The point is Donnie,” Raphael said, “is that you’re right. We have to find the Dominators. We have to finish this fight. But I have to get Leo back. He’s out there, alone and he’s angry. Walking in a haze that he thinks conflict will take away, but it won’t. Trust me, I know it.”

“I know Raph,” Donatello said. “but you don’t have to find him alone. He’s my brother too, and he’s Michelangelo’s brother. We have to find him, together. The last time we fought the Dominators, I separated the team in order to protect them and it cost us Splinter. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Raphael could see that his brother was fighting back tears. He knew the guilt that Donatello was feeling, it was the same guilt that they all had carried with them since the moment their father fell in battle.

Be strong for them Raph, you can do this. 

“I know Donnie, neither will I. We work together, we win.”

 

 

Saying that the apartment was a mess was a bit of an understatement. Wood, brick and mortar was strewn everywhere as if it were no more than dirty laundry at the end of a long day. April O’Neil was almost in shock at the destruction that was her home. She sifted through the rubble and tried her best to ignore the cold, biting wind that blew through the plastic sheeting that covered the massive hole where the wall had been in her living room.

Where are you, she thought.

About a month ago, her home had been violated; torn apart in more ways than one, and in the ensuing days since, April had done everything she could to occupy her mind since the Dominators attacked. While they were in Northampton, distraction was easy. There was always something that needed to be repaired in the farm house, or she would spare with Mona or go jogging with Venus. But here, in the cold stillness of the early morning, she couldn’t hide from the painful memory of seeing Leonardo carrying Splinters lifeless body in his arms. At that moment, she knew that their lives would never be the same again.

“Hey Red, this what you were looking for?”

April looked up and felt her heart lighten a little when she saw Casey hand her the large photo album. April took the heavy album in her hands and felt a similar weight tugging at her chest when she looked at it.

“Thanks Casey…this was the photo album that Shadow and Splinter were looking at when…”

“I know.” Casey said.

April stood up, clutching onto the old photo album, hugging it, silently wishing that she could relive those memories again, just so she could be in a world that felt a little safer than the one she and her family were in now. She felt Casey wrap his large arms around her and gently rock her from side to side.

“Shadow took her first steps right here?” Casey said. “I was so happy that day that I choked on a burger I was eating.”

April laughed slightly and looked up into Casey’s big blue eyes and the softness in them that she knew was only reserved for her.

“You’re a goof.” She said, burying her face in his chest.

“What are thinking April?”

April took a long time to answer; she was fighting bouts of both déjà vu and nausea thinking of losing a home again.

“I’m just thinking that I can’t believe this has happened again. I’m thinking about homes we have to lose before we say ‘enough’. And part of me is wishing that we hadn’t had Shadow.” April felt a tear run down her check. “Because if this were just about you and I, we’d find the Dominators and kick there asses. But, Shadow…she’s our daughter Casey.”

“I know. She changes things.” Casey said and held April a little tighter. “So, can I make a suggestion? Let’s go back to Northampton. Let’s grab Shadow, and just go wait for this thing to blow over. But this time, we stay there.”

April looked up at Casey, who was smiling as he spoke.

“Think about it April. Not more apartments, no more take out dinners, no more loud neighbors. Let’s live in a place where Shadow can go to a school without metal detectors at the front door. Let’s live somewhere with a backyard, somewhere where we can actually be alone for five minutes. I mean, April this is too much. We shouldn’t have to go back to worrying about someone blowing up our house just because they got a beef with the Turtles. We shouldn’t have to worry about someone we don’t know, bringing a fight that we didn’t start to our doorstep.”

April felt more tears sneak out of her eyes. Seeing the destruction around her cemented the feeling for her that something had to change, but was it the right thing to do to just leave? Even if it wasn’t April couldn’t help but smile at the thought of living the rest of her days in Northampton.

“Think about it April,” Casey continued. “You can start writing again. We can take Shadow camping during the summers. I can get a job fixing cars in town. Hell, I’m sure you could get a nursing job out there, either at the clinic or the school. And when they Turtles get this mess figured out, well, it wouldn’t be like they won’t know where we’ll be.”

April was quiet for a long time. Casey’s offer sounded perfect. More than that, it sounded too good to be true. April wondered if they could really just go. Set out to live in Northampton and leave the Turtles behind. She didn’t want to leave them to fend for themselves, but she had Casey and their daughter Shadow to think about. Their safety was her top priority, it always would be.

“So what do you think?”

“Oh Casey, it sounds perfect. It’s everything I want. You really know your audience.”

“I would hope so.”

April gently broke away from Casey’s embrace and looked down at the photo album in her hands.

“Yes. My answer is yes. I want that life, just you me and our daughter, safe in our corner of the world. That’s exactly what I want. And that’s why it hurts so much for me to tell you that we can’t have that right now. “

April looked at the ruins around her and used them to give her the strength to continue.

“I need you to help the Turtles, Casey.  They’re low right now, lower than they’ve ever been. Leonardo is gone and Splinter, their father, our father was taken from us. I’m so sorry Casey but I can’t turn away from them right now.”

April saw Casey break his gaze with her. She knew how much he was asking of him. She was asking him to break a promise he made to her when Shadow was born. But she knew that the Turtles, if they were going to win, were going to need all the help they could get. And that meant they needed Casey Jones.

“The Dominators would just use us to get to the Turtles anyway. So if we keep the Turtles safe, we keep our daughter safe. We save them, we save us. Can you do that Casey?”

After a long moment, Casey looked up, his gaze could cut through stone.

“I can.” He said.

Casey Jones walked forward and gently, passionately kissed April, wanting desperately to drown in the scent of her, to stay safe in her arms forever. It was with a heavy heart that he broke away from her embrace and walked into their old room. Casey reached under their bed and pulled out a long wooden crate. The crate was an old, Army-issued foot locker. It was the only thing he had that belonged to his father. The only thing that he knew of that ever belonged to the man. He opened up the footlocker and pulled out the metal hockey mask that Casey hadn’t seen in five years. Casey had thought that this night was a long time coming. He knew, in his heart of hearts, he knew that the day would come when he would need this mask again. He both welcomed and feared this moment.

“I got one more fight in me.” He said.

 

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.


 

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part Two

 

A small candle illuminated the room. The warmth of the fire made the cool room feel as if a bonfire were lit only a few feet away from Leonardo. He sat in the lotus position breathing deeply, breathing slowly, and keeping his mind at ease. Leonardo focused on the soothing warmth of the candle, letting the heat from the singular flame wash over his frame in lapping waves of comfort. He felt the temptation to keep his eyes shut and fall asleep. If he did that though, Splinter would make him do push-ups and jumping jacks until he puked.

Beside him, his brothers also sat meditating. Donatello was occupying his time by counting the bricks on the wall opposite the Turtles. For a mind as busy as Donatello’s, a mind that needed a problem to solve, meditating did not come easy. Michelangelo had the same problem, but instead of counting bricks or trying to figure out how to solve a Rubik’s cube in less than ten moves, Michelangelo would often sing sounds in his mind every so often without realizing he was making the sounds out loud as well; Leonardo could hear his brother singing under his breath. The Song of the Day today was the theme to the old Spider-Man cartoon. And Raphael, well he just stared at the wall in front of them, unblinking. There seemed to be no thinking with Raphael, he was simply awaiting orders. Leonardo was starting to wonder if he should ask his brother if something were wrong when he noticed that Splinter had entered the room, and they all, instinctively, sat a little bit straighter.

“My sons,” He said, “You have made me very proud. Your work as a team has saved many lives over the past few weeks.” Splinter was standing only a few feet in front of his sons, looking at them all at once without moving his eyes. Considering the darkness of the room, and the deep blackness of his eyes, it was impossible to read what Splinter was looking at. He stood both magnanimous and gentle; both intimidating and warm.

“And your loyalty to our family has made me happier than I have felt in years. I believe that your training is nearly complete. Soon, there will come a day where I will no longer be your master. So, life will be your teacher, and experience, your reward.”

Splinters appearance seemed strange to Leonardo. He was both visible and translucent all at once. At times, he saw his father talking to them, looking directly into their eyes, yet…

“But first, I have one last terrible request of you, my sons.” Splinter closed his eyes and with a shaky voice said: “I want you to find the man who goes by the name of Oroku Saki…the Shredder.” Splinter closed his eyes, breathed in deeply, and he disappeared from Leonardo’s view altogether.

Master, Leonardo’s mind called out in vain.

“Find him my sons, and eliminate him.”

Suddenly, Splinter was mere inches in front of Leonardo. The blackness of Splinters eyes drowned out the entire room and Leonardo could no longer see his brothers or even his father in front of him, only the black emptiness of his eyes.

“Find him Leonardo. Find him, and punish him…”

Leonardo opened his eyes and realized that he wasn’t sitting next to his brothers, and he realized that he never would hear his father’s voice ever again.

Leonardo opened his eyes and struggled to focus on the room around him. The muscles around his eyes struggled to keep his eyelids open, as if his eyes were working against him, forcing him to escape reality.

“Are you okay?” a familiar voice called out.

He looked up and saw a friendly face, a warm face, one that he’d called a friend for so long now. He stood up and stretched his hamstrings, trying to pull his mind from focusing on the last words of his dream.

Father never told me to punish the Shredder. He never told any of us to punish him.

“Leonardo?” Karai asked again.

He looked over to her and smiled weakly forcing the restless night away.

“Bad dreams.”

“Do you want to talk about them?”

Leonardo’s smile faltered. No, he thought. I don’t want to talk to you about the night before I killed your father. Despite his years of friendship with Karai, he always felt so much pain in knowing the he and his brothers took possibly the most important person in Karai’s life away from her. That being said, he couldn’t help but marvel at her resolve and ability to forgive.

“No.” he said

Karai nodded, wondering how much sleep her friend had actually had. The last couple of days had moved pretty fast. She had picked up Leonardo just outside the city limits of Northampton and dropped him off near their lair in the sewers and then she waited for him at the Studio. Leonardo had wanted Karai with him as he returned home. He didn’t know how he would handle seeing his father’s old clothes again, his room, and books that he would never finish. But he knew that Donatello had left their home well-fortified with all manner of gadgets intended to track and subdue someone. Plus, Metalhead could have woken up at any moment.

While Leonardo was home he made copies of every piece of information that they had been able to collect on the Dominators, mutagen and the locations of every murder victim the Dominators had been responsible for. Pictures of friends and family members…

Leonardo pushed the thoughts of the dead away, knowing how dangerous a rabbit hole remorse could be.

Leonardo dressed himself quickly, wearing a large black hoodie and baggy cargo pants.

“I should get going.” Leonardo moved for the door in the empty bedroom. He had to move quickly; dawn was coming and he had a lot of ground to cover to make it to the Glen Oaks neighborhood in Queens, to find Dr. Alexander Craig; the man responsible for creating the mutagen. Leonardo thought that he may be the key to all of this. At the very least, he might have information on the whereabouts of the Dominators. As his hand grasped the door handle, he felt Karai put her hand, lightly, on his shoulder.

“You shouldn’t go alone.”

“I have to Karai.”

“Why Leonardo; after everything that has happened, why go alone? Why leave Northampton by yourself? Do you really think that your brothers will just let you take on the Dominators on your own? Do you think I will?”

Leonardo did not look back at Karai, but he did no remove her hand from his shoulder. The warmth of her hand almost put his spinning mind and senses at ease.

“Karai..”

“You can’t think that you can beat them on your own Leonardo.”

Leonardo put his hand on Karai’s and held it, he could almost feel the years of friendship and caring within her fingers.

“I won’t have to,” Leonardo said. “I find Doctor Craig, I find the information I need, and then I’ll only have one man to take care of after that.”

“You’re going after Oroku Ryu, aren’t you?”

Leonardo nodded.

“Cut off the head of the snake, the body dies.”

Leonardo could sense the conflict occurring within Karai. She was wondering if there was any way that she could talk some sense into her friend. She wanted to know if there were any way she could convince him to let his brothers aid him, and if not them, then her. But Leonard and Karai both knew that she would be wasting their time. Leonardo removed Karai’s hand from his shoulder and turned to face her.

“You went over the information I brought along with me?”

Frustration played across Karai’s face, but she knew it was futile to press Leonardo any further. He had made up his mind.

“Yes. As always, your brother is well informed. Dr. Craig’s location checks out. I have a couple of my men outside his home right now. He’s sleeping.”

“Call them off and let them know that I’m on my way.”

Karai nodded.

“Karai,” Leonardo said. “I have a request.”

“Name it.”

“My brothers are going to try and find me…don’t let them.”

Leonardo knew the gravity of what he was asking. He was asking Karai to lie to his brothers; to lie to her friends Mondo and Ace. He was asking her to lie to Venus, whom she has looked after as a daughter for over five years. He was asking her to put him above everyone else.

Karai looked into Leonardo’s eyes and nodded.

 

“Now I need you to pay attention Shadow, this is important.”

Venus watched as Shadow nodded, eagerly awaiting what was to come. Ace was looking at her intently as everyone in the room looked on.

“The making of the perfect plate of scrambled eggs is no easy feat. But it requires exactly three things; eggs, water and confidence.”

“What about cheese? My dad always makes scrambled eggs with cheese.”

Venus could actually see Aces’ feather ruffle.

“Your father is also a Bills fan honey. They haven’t won a single Super Bowl ring in NFL history, moving on.”

Venus was sitting next to Michelangelo in the kitchen of the Turtles home. April and Casey had shown up not too long before everyone had started moving around in the early morning. Casey was sitting at the same table, drinking coffee and reading the sports section of whatever paper he had brought with him. Next to Casey, was Mondo, the youngest of any of them; he kept shifting his gaze between Ace making breakfast and the game of Tetris he was playing on his Gameboy. Venus didn’t know what a Gameboy was and wondered if it wasn’t too dissimilar to her Nintendo DS. She’d have to ask Michelangelo about it later, he always seemed to know about these things.

“Cheap shot man,” Casey said, without looking up from his paper “There’s always next season.”

Aces’ feathers ruffled again as he started to whisk his eggs.

“It’s always ‘next season’ with you Casey. Are you sure you didn’t grow up in Cleveland?”

Venus started to laugh as she noticed Michelangelo gently elbow Casey on the arm.

“What?”

“Shhh, don’t ruin it.” Michelangelo said.

“Ruin, what?”

Mondo spoke up next, “We’ve been asking Ace to make us egg for a week now.”

“What, and you think me defending my Buffalo Bills is going to keep you from eating breakfast?”

“No, it’s just that we’ve never seen Ace eat eggs before. So Mike told Shadow to ask him to teach her how to make scrambled eggs.”

“So…is there something wrong with his eggs?”

“No,” Michelangelo said. “They’re lighter than the pillows that baby Jesus rested on. We just want to know what would happen when Ace realizes that he’s eating an egg.”

Venus felt her stomach turn slightly. Sometimes it was really hard, knowing that she was the more mature one in the relationship.

“You know,” Mondo chimed in. “Because he’s a giant duck?”

“You stooges are amazing; he used to be a man.”

At that moment, Raphael entered the kitchen. As he was refiling his coffee cup for the millionth time, Venus noticed how tired he looked. The big guy had bags under his eyes that looked to be the size of shot glasses. He was obviously tired but his muscled were tense and he seemed, as per usual, on edge. Venus got up from her chair and moved over to him. On her way she saw Mona was standing off on her own in the dojo, looking at her mother’s picture that took up a space on the families’ trophy case. Mona looked detached from the world around her.

“Hey,” Venus asked, “What’s up with Mona.”

Raphael looked over at Mona and Venus could see that she was weighing heavily on his thoughts.

“Mona’s…fine. I think. She and I were talking to April and Donnie about what we could do while we’re waiting for Leo to make his next move.”

“Isn’t sitting well, is it?”

Raphael frowned. “No. Leo’s out there alone and, sure, we can track him; but what good is that really doing anyone?”

Venus poured herself a cup of coffee, remembering to add two sugars to it. Venus knew that she wasn’t a leader and she knew that of most everyone here had more field experience than her, but she knew her place on the team, her real purpose for the team. It was her job, much like Michelangelo’s, to make sure that everyone was mentally in check. She felt that it was her purpose to figure out the root of her families’ vexes and alleviate them as gently as possible. She thought of herself as something of a field medic, as it were.

“Hey,” Raphael started, “Since when do you drink coffee?”

Venus smiled and winked. “I don’t. Listen, Leo will be fine. It’s not sitting well with me either, him being angry and alone, and getting into who knows how much trouble. But, we need him to out there right now. Just think of it as Leo pulling recon for us. How many times has he done that before today?”

Venus didn’t wait for an answer. “Dozens, right? He’ll be fine. And he’ll be back here before you know. So relax, and I’ll talk to Mona for you.”

Raphael shook his head slightly. “Don’t worry kid. I already talked to her and she told me she was fine; which means that she’ll talk to me when she’s ready.”

“Sometimes Raph, a girl doesn’t need her boyfriend to help her out. Sometimes, she needs one of her girlfriends to break the ice for her.”

Venus walked over to Mona and noticed that she wasn’t wearing the pink and black bandana around her neck like she wore every day for years now. The lady’s scales even looked to be a lighter shade of green around her neck where her bandana usually lay. Venus smiled and handed Mona the cu of black, sweetened coffee that she had made for her.

“Just the way you like it?”

Mona smiled weakly and took the steaming cup and drank from it with gusto.

“Mmm, thank you. I thought something was missing from this morning.”

Venus smiled and nodded while noticing that Mona had removed her pink and black bandana that she had worn around her neck every day and placed it around her mothers’ framed picture. As if she were making a shrine to her mother’s memory. Venus hated to think of it this way, but, if Mona’s mind was focused on the image of her mother and not the task that lay ahead of them, it could cost all of them major.

Have to figure out what’s going here.

“So what’s up Mo?”

“What?” Mona asked, she was staring so intently at her mother’s picture that it seemed like it would burst into flames at any moment.

“You just seemed bummed. Ever since we decided to come back to the city, you’ve had this…shadow cast over you. The same shadow I see on you whenever you look at your mom’s picture. I know that you may have talked to Raphael about it, but something tells me that you haven’t told him everything. I’m not going to pretend to know what it is that you’re thinking right now. But, if you want to talk about it…”

Venus let her question linger in the air as she took a quick look at Mona’s picture of her mother. Venus thought that, had Mona never been mutated by Stockman all those years ago, Mona would look very much like her mother did. Mona shared her mother’s long, dark brown hair, and her mother’s green eyes, but her mother had olive skin and a small birthmark under her right eye. As Venus look at the picture, she found herself wondering what she would look like now had she not been mutated into a turtle by the Foot clan so long ago.

Mona broke the silence between them. Her voice was hesitant but somehow confident at the same time.

“I don’t know Vee.” Mona started. “I grew up alone for so long, avoiding as many people as I could and jumping into garbage dumpsters for food. I was alone for ten years…and then I found… everything that I thought I would never have; everything that I thought I didn’t deserve.”

Venus could see that Mona was doing a good job at holding in her tears. Mona once told her that the key to surviving on the streets alone was controlling what others see. It seemed that some habits die hard. Mona continued.

“And when I look at this picture…I just can’t help but think that everything is going to be taken away from me again. That I’ll just wake up one day, and all of you will just be gone.”

A single tear fell down Mona’s cheek, and Venus was there to wipe it away.

“I know how you feel, Mona. Everyone here knows that the Foot clan mutated me into the ravishing beauty that I am today. But, before I was old enough to walk, the Foot clan took me away from my real parents. And from the age of four, they started training me to be an assassin. For ten years, I was told that I was going to be a killer. I was told that killing in the name of the Foot was the highest honor that anyone could strive for. It didn’t work out. My first target…I couldn’t pull the trigger, so to speak. I was mutated into a turtle as punishment, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for it. Because I met Karai, and I met Michelangelo; and I found the family that I never had before.”

“Venus…I didn’t know.” Mona gasped.

“Only Karai and Michelangelo know. I know that you’re afraid of losing your family. I am too. So take that fear and embrace it. Use it. Find the strength to fight for it.”

Mona wiped away another tear and quickly hugged Venus.

“I’m sorry I cried.” Mona said.

“Never apologize for that. You have something here that you love more than yourself.”

Mona laughed “You know, sometimes you sound like a Nicholas Sparks novel.”

Venus smiled and took Mona’s bandana from the trophy case and handed it to Mona. Mona took it tentatively and tied it around her neck where it belonged.

“Hey,” Venus said. “Dear John is my jam.”

Venus watched as Mona walked over to Raphael and smiled as she saw them hug tightly. Suddenly, Venus’ stomach growled with hunger as she heard Mondo cry out.

“Oh my God, Ace just ate a baby chicken!”

Yes, she thought. Everything will be all right.

 

Leonardo had made his way to the doctors’ home in Queens. His legs ached and his back was screaming at him to take a rest, but Leonardo knew that his mission was too important.

The doctor, Alexander Craig, was busy in his kitchen making breakfast. Leonardo could see him moving quickly making bacon and eggs and brewing coffee. The strong smells of melted butter and crisping bacon poured from the kitchen window, reminding him of how long it had been since he had eaten. But Leonardo pushed everything to the background.

Nothing matters right now except the mission. And the mission is finding Oroku Ryu; and to do that, I need the doctor.

Leonardo was standing at a sliding glass door at the rear of the home, and was surprised to find that it was unlocked. He walked into the dining room opposite the kitchen where the doctor was. Leonardo made sure to shut the door, making just enough noise so that the doctor would hear him. Doctor Craig stood in the middle of his kitchen, spatula in one hand, coffee in the other as he looked at the hooded figure in his dining room, feeling all the air leave his body.

Leonardo pulled back on the hood, revealing his face, silently reveling in taking the first step in what may be the most important mission of his life.

“Hello doctor.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part Three

 

To say that the doctor was shocked was a bit of an understatement.

“You!” Doctor Craig said, already his hands were starting to shake. Alexander Craig was a tall and lean man of sixty five. His hair had gone gray around the temples, and his face bore deep lines above his eyes and mouth. His eyes were a rich brown that matched the hair on top of his head. Leonardo knew that the man was afraid, not just because someone had invaded his home, but because of who had invaded it. Leonardo had never met the doctor before, but he and his brothers knew him well enough. He was the man that had created the mutagen. He worked with Baxter Stockman and aided him in creating the Mousers. He was the one that chased April into the sewers when she caught him experimenting with Mutagen on cadavers. So much history lay between Leonardo and the Doctor, and right now, Leonardo didn’t care much for their shared history.

The doctor broke away from his fear and quickly reached for a knife, hands stumbling in front of a nearby knife block; finally grabbing a serrated blade meant for cutting bread. Obviously, fear was clouding judgment. In the background, Leonardo could hear the sounds of sizzling bacon and he fought the urge to take a few pieces from its cast-iron home, but there was no reason to be rude.

“Doctor,” Leonardo said, slowly raising a hand in protest, “don’t.”

But the look in Doctor Craig’s eyes told him that he was not going to back down so easily. It was admirable, if not foolish.

“Doctor Craig, do you honestly think that this is a good idea?”

The doctor looked down at the blade in his hand and then back up at Leonardo. After a quick evaluation, he sighed heavily and his shoulders slumped as he tossed the knife the counter. Leonardo was standing near a small dining table. He noticed that there was a single place setting, and he pulled out the chair next to it and motioned for the Doctor to sit. Leonardo sat down where the Doctor had planned on having his breakfast, plate and silver wear lay in front of him. Doctor Craig sat opposite of Leonardo, breathing comfortably, posture easy, but his hands gave away his true disposition as he gripped his thighs tightly.

“You didn’t leave your stove on, did you?”

The Doctor rolled his eyes in annoyance.

“No, I did not. Now, how can I help you?” The Doctor’s voice was taut and stern, as if Leonardo were wasting his time by breaking into his home before breakfast.

“I’m not here to waste your time Doctor. I have questions, and I believe you have the answers. If you’re honest with me, we both walk away unharmed. But if you lie to me, I hope you’re happy with bacon and eggs as your last meal.”

Doctor Craig chuckled slightly, “Really, you’re going to try and bully me for information? I have to say, I am disappointed in you Leonardo. What kind of a leader resorts to terror tactics to get the information he needs?” Doctor Craig leaned forward and bored his gaze into Leonardo’s eyes. “If that’s your plan, you should’ve brought that brother of yours along with you. That ape would’ve been more convincing…”

At the mention of his brother, Leonardo grabbed a fork from the place setting in front of him, raised it into the air and brought the fork down, stabbing the Doctor in his hand, pinning it to his leg. Before the Doctor could scream, Leonardo bolted upright and covered the Doctor’s mouth with his hand. The Doctor was shaking and he was holding back tears. Leonardo spoke softly into his ear.

“Doctor, do me a favor, don’t mention Raphael again. Understand?”

The Doctor nodded and Leonardo slowly removed his hand. He wrapped a hand towel around Dr. Craig’s hand and tied a knot to keep it from bleeding.

“What do you want?” Craig asked.

“The Dominators; I want to know who they are, where they operate and I want to know what they’ve got planned for us.”

Doctor Craig looked at his had as the white terrycloth slowly turned red and fixed his gaze on Leonardo, and he saw the pure hatred that the Doctor held for him in that moment.

“Come with me.”

Minutes later, Leonardo was standing in an immaculately clean basement. The floor was solid concrete, but the walls and ceiling were a stark white, not a trace of dust, no spec of grime, not a single blemish graced the walls. For some reason, the obvious cleanliness left him with a strong sense of unease. To one side of Leonardo was a large work bench supporting state of the art lab equipment and research tools that would make Donatello greener than he already was. On the opposite side of the basement was another large white wall with a solid, sturdy-looking steel door. Near one side of the door, opposite the hinges, Leonardo noticed a small stain on the concrete floor. It looked to be red in color…

SLAM!

Dr. Craig had thrown several large file folders on his workbench, snapping Leonardo away from his musings.

“I believe this is what you’re looking for.” Craig said.

Leonardo opened the nearest file and felt his stomach sink as he saw photos of Casey Jones playing with Shadow in Central Park. Next was a picture of April and Casey in a grocery store, then Raphael and Mona eating pizza on a rooftop he didn’t recognize, and more pictures, more photos of his family and friends living their day to day lives; completely unaware that they were being surveyed. Leonardo’s mouth went dray as he saw a photo of him and his brothers standing outside the entrance to their home in the sewers.

“Who took these pictures Doctor?”

“I don’t know” the doctor said. Leonardo slammed his fist down on the heavy workbench, causing the whole table to shake.

“I don’t know dammit! It could’ve been any one of a hundred people.

There were more pictures that Leonardo couldn’t look at. Photos of his friends that had been murdered over the past two years, but these photos seemed from much earlier than two years ago.

How long…

Leonardo clenched his fists and thought of all the years of doubt and hardship, and how long he had struggled to find the strength to lead and keep his family safe, only to see now that all of his efforts had been for nothing, to see a picture of his father, happy because he didn’t know what was coming. Leonardo thought of all that he didn’t do to keep his family safe and he looked at the Doctor, and saw all the evil that represented. All of the hatred for Leonardo and others like him that poured from his eyes, and he thought of how easy it would be to choke the life from him. To feel his esophagus crush under his fingers…

No, Leonardo thought, find your center; remember why you’re here.

“Which one of these files is Oroku Ryu’s?”

The Doctor looked incredulous.

“Ryu, that’s what this is about? You stabbed me in the hand because you want to know about an angry whelp with too many resources?”

Dr. Craig closed the gap in between him and Leonardo, proving to him that there was plenty of backbone in him. Leonardo was slightly impressed.

“All of this is a waste of both your time and mine, Leonardo. Do you think that they didn’t plan for one of you to come for me, or all of you? You’re just playing into their hands. Who is Oroku Ryu, right? He’s the illegitimate son of the Shredder. What’s your next question? How about, ‘Where is your home base, Doctor’, The Peter Eastman Memorial Hospital on Burnow Island. It used to be a quarantine zone for people with Typhoid back in the 1800’s. Or maybe you want to talk about how we’re manufacturing Mutagen? Or maybe, your father.”

Leonardo’s hands began to clench tighter.

“Go ahead, ask me why Ryu killed your father and left him in the gutter. It’s because he deserved it.”

Leonardo punched Dr. Craig in the stomach and tossed him on to the ground.

Leonardo looked down at the man as he gasped for air and clutched at his stomach, and suddenly didn’t feel anger for him he felt pity for him. Using empty words to try and unnerve an opponent was one of the first lessons his father taught him. Leonardo kneeled down, leaned in close to the Doctor, and returned the favor.

“I don’t think you understand. I don’t think you’ll ever understand…”

“Understand what?” Dr. Craig said, “What, your father dying? Well boo-hoo, get over it, or deal with it someplace else.”

Leonardo slapped the Doctor across the face, figuring out exactly how to break him.

“Doctor, you were a scientist for the Foot Clan, an organization that dealt in theft, assassination, and slavery. You worked with them to create a chemical weapon capable of cross-breeding human DNA with a foreign host and you tested it on children. You tested it on my friends, and you had a hand in the murder of almost all of them; Wing, Ray, Dread and Jagwar.”

The Doctor shook his head. “No.”

“Candy and Ninjara.” Leonardo continued. “Slash, Leatherhead, Joe Eyeball and Garson Grunge.”

“Stop it!”

Leonardo tightly clutched Dr. Craig by the throat. “I don’t care what you are. I don’t care about your past or our shared pasts. I don’t care about the Dominators or the Foot Clan. You are all nothing to me. You, Doctor, are an ant under my heel.”

Leonardo stood up straight and grabbed a large canvas bag from under the Doctor’s work bench and began filling it with the files and pictures of his family and dead friends.

“You don’t understand, Leonardo.” Craig said, “She’s come back.”

Leonardo looked over at the Doctor who was trying to compose himself, obviously wrestling with how much he should tell him.

“Who is ‘She’?”

Dr. Craig took a deep breath, steadied himself, and said: “Hun, her name is Hun.”

“I literally have no idea who that is.”

Dr. Craig scoffed and rose to his feet. Leonardo finished filling up the bag, zipped it closed and stood, meeting the Doctors fierce gaze.

“She’s the one who created the Dominators in the aftermath of your dealings with the Foot Clan. Six years ago the Foot started experimenting with Mutagen, and a year later, they revive the Shredder. You kill the Shredder for a second time, and the New York branch of the Foot Clan is shamed. That was when Hun first made her presence known on the Eastern seaboard. After that, it’s total anarchy. She rounds up every member of the Foot that is loyal to the Shredder and executes them, publicly. Not long after that, She calls a meeting with every Clan leader across the United States and…removes them from their responsibilities. Hun operates the entire breadth of the Foot Clan, from New York to San Francisco.”

Now it was Leonardo’s turn to scoff. Whoever this Hun was, she didn’t sound like much.

“You haven’t told me who this person is yet Doctor.”

“No one knows her name. But her lineage has been traced back to the very inception of the Foot Clan. She’s untouchable. If she’s involved, you may as well fall over and pray.”

Leonardo grabbed the Doctor by this shirt and pulled him in close.

“I don’t have a lot of time for history lessons Doctor…”

Dr. Craig grabbed at Leonardo’s wrist with surprising strength. The look in the man’s eyes told Leonardo all he needed to know about what he was being told. The Doctor was telling the truth about this Hun character, or at least he believed that he was.

“Then make time you fool! You…you know what; if you have a death wish, that’s fine by me. End up a stain on the asphalt. But if you want the Dominators attention, you’ll need what I have.”

With that, the Doctor released his grip on Leonardo and quickly turned and walked toward the metal door that caught Leo’s eye earlier. He noticed again the odd, red stain on the floor and wondered, not for the first time in the past few minutes, where it came from.

When the door opened, there was a small hiss of air that rang trough the basement. The room on the other side was just as immaculate as the rest, but somehow, it felt smaller. Not just because it was walled off, but because of the large operating table to one side. There was a body lying on the table underneath a large white sheet. Blood stains lined the edges and thick tubes ran from underneath the sheet to some kind of storage tank that seemed to be extracting fluid from the body on the table. Upon closer inspection, Leonardo could see that blood was coming from under the sheet and inside the large tank was a green fluid that Leonardo recognized all too well. He could barely hear the Doctor when he started rambling to him.

“Here, this is what Hun wants.”

Dr. Craig handed Leonardo a large canister filled with a thick, purple liquid that almost seemed to glow from within.

“Mutagen.” Leonardo said.

“No, meet its replacement.” The Doctor could barely hide his excitement. “I call it Antigen. You see, the mutation that occurs when a host is introduced to Mutagen is a side-effect; an abnormality. Its original intent was cellular repair, obviously, that never worked out. But with this, with this we…”

“Doctor shut up.”

Leonardo could see that Dr. Craig was running short on patience with him. He knew that the Doctor was tired of be cut off midsentence, and he was tired of being slapped around, but right now, Leonardo didn’t care. Right now, he just wanted to know who was lying on the operating table in front of him. He reached out, ignoring his trembling hand as he griped the sheet and pulled it back. When he saw what was underneath, his body went cold and the air seemed to leave the room and he couldn’t hear the Doctor droning on and on.

“Why do I even bother?” Dr. Craig mused to himself. “You couldn’t understand what this means. The Antigen is the culmination of my life’s work. What has your life ever amounted to? A few fist fights? With that canister, I can cure virtually any disease. I can heal any wound. I have created immortality. What have you ever done?”

“Rocksteady…” Leonardo said.

At one time, Rocksteady, the mutant rhino was around seven feet tall and almost four hundred pounds. He was once so massive that he could grip a man’s head in the palm of his hand. But now, he was less than half the mutant he used to be. He looked emaciated. He couldn’t have weighed more than one hundred pounds, and his once gray skin which lay across his frame like a discarded bath towel, was so pale it seemed to be translucent in most places. The horns that were once at the ridge of his nose were long since removed, and his face had sunken in so much that his eyes resembled loose holes in the ground. Large tubes were inserted into his in his mouth, feeding tubes, Leonardo hoped. Leonardo quickly remembered a conversation that he had had with his Raphael not long ago about the victims the Dominators had amassed over the last two years. Bebop was the second to have been executed by them, and days later, Rocksteady had gone missing. He had always hoped that the mutant had given up on his life of petty crime and just found happiness somehow, somewhere.

Leonardo pulled back the sheet a little further and saw that Rocksteady’s arms were connected to the tubing that ran to the large storage tank. And the reality of what was happening in front of Leonardo hit him like a Mack truck to the chest. The Doctor was using Rocksteady to syphon Mutagen from his blood. Leonardo’s hands started to shake and the chills that ran through his body turned to a searing hot rage for the man standing next to him. He handed the canister of Antigen back to the Doctor and asked him how long Rocksteady had been on the operating table like this, not telling him that he should consider his words with caution.

“Maybe two years or so; why?”

“Is he alive?” Leonardo asked.

“Technically, yes. He was severely wounded during an altercation we had with him and the machine he’s hooked up to is helping him breathe. If you ask me, it’s more than he deserves.”

Leonardo grabbed the Doctor by the hair on the back of his head and slammed his head onto the operating table. The loud thud bone on metal was almost satisfying.

“Look at him Doctor; you think this is the treatment he deserves? Look at him!”

“I am looking at him you dolt. He was a criminal, a gangbanger who used to beat up people because he thought it was fun.”

Leonardo leaned in close and through gritted teeth said: “Rocksteady was a bad guy, everyone knows that. But you’ve been using his as a damn blood bag for two years. You forced mutation on the homeless and the disenfranchised. You cut out the organs of people with families and dumped them in the gutter. The second mutant you idiots executed was his best friend, Bebop. Did you even know his name? Did you know that those two mutants were people once, people that grew up in foster homes and turned to crime because they were convinced that they were stupid and that they wouldn’t amount to anything else?”

Leonardo lifted the doctor off the table, off the floor and slammed him onto the concrete below them. Dr. Craig cried out in pain and winced as he tried to back away from Leonardo.

“He was a thug,” Dr. Craig said, “A thug who hurt and stole from people.”

Leonardo pinned the Doctor down on the ground and clutched at the his throat, squeezing the air from him.

“And you,” Leonardo shouted, “You stole the chance for him to change his life!”

Leonardo was so filled with rage and anger that he almost didn’t hear Dr. Craig’s throat crack under the weight of his grip. The Doctor’s eyes bulged and his skin went pale, and Leonardo could see what he had done. Leonardo felt a pulling sensation in his chest similar to the one he felt when his father, Splinter, was murdered just over a month ago.

What have I done?

Leonardo sat across from the Doctor’s now lifeless body and looked at his hands as if he had never seen them before.

“No.” Leonardo softly cried out, “What have I done?”

He sat and cried as he looked at his hands. Looking at the monster he had become.

“Help me…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

Ninja Turtles: Punishment,

Part Four

 

Pins and needles shot up through William Sharpe’s back as he tried his best to pour his morning coffee without spilling it all over the counter. It was the weirdest feeling of being in pain without being in pain. The shocks that went through his back with every step he took were a dull pain that, if his mind were focused on anything else at all, he wouldn’t mind them much; if he noticed them at all. Unfortunately for him, his mind could only focus on were the repeated knocks of pain that went through his spine, right hip and down his leg. Walking with a cane had helped, but right now, all it was doing was reminding him of how old he really was.

Oh well, it’s probably time I retired anyway.

That’s was probably true. For most of his life, William had lived a soldier’s life. Moving from place to place, meeting only a few people at a time, and killing them if he was paid to. But now, it seemed that that was at an end. To William, it seemed ridiculous that his mercenary career was put to an end by a six foot turtle that had stabbed him with a katana, severing nerves in his spine, but it had happened.  He wasn’t mad about it; William never did hold a grudge, especially when he was being paid

With his coffee in hand, he was slowly making his way to his breakfast table to read the morning paper. Muscles and bones ached, especially in his wrist. Walking with a cane had taken some getting used to, but he never would’ve guess that something that was supposed to help him was such a pain in the ass, and the arm.

“Why didn’t Leonardo just chop my damn head off?” He said to no one.

As he sat down, William heard his empty stomach start to rumble and scream in hunger. He looked across the kitchen and saw a box of donuts that were calling his name. Unfortunately, it meant getting back up and shuffling across the room again, what a pain in the ass that was going to be. William chuckled lightly and looked up at his ceiling and said;

“Hey God, you wanna help a guy out?”

At that moment, someone knocked on his door, and Williams smiled grew a bit wider.

“Thank you.”

A few seconds later his friend, Oroku Ryu had walked into his room, carrying a wrapped Christmas present and wearing a weak smile.

“Hey stumps.” Ryu said. How you feeling?”

“I need a donut Ryu. Can you hook a guy up and get him a donut?”

William could tell that Ryu was getting worse. Ever since they had fought the Turtles, or more specifically, the day that he had killed that weird rat mutant, Splinter, Ryu had looked sick, a type of sickness that William had seen many times before. Ryu was feeling guilty. But William knew that he couldn’t press his friend. If Ryu was going to tell him anything, it was going to have to be his decision. Thankfully, he didn’t have to worry about him right now. Despite his sullen features, Ryu seemed to almost be I good spirits. As he accepted a donut, William noticed that Ryu had taken one for himself. He had noticed that Ryu had lost weight recently, about nine or ten pounds he would say.

“Merry Christmas, old man.” Ryu said. He had handed William a gift in between bites of glazed donut.

“I don’t know…Christmas was two days ago.” The gift was beautifully wrapped in silver paper with a gold ribbon. William tore into it and reveled in its’ contents, an old Marine core shirt, the same kind of shirt that he had worn in boot camp for PT. A few minutes later, they moved to the living room and Ryu helped William sit down in a brown recliner that looked have seen its best days pass it by. William was wearing his Christmas gift with pride as Ryu sat in the opposite chair.

When Ryu sat down, William could see that he was exhausted, and he was afraid that it was going to get worse.

“Hun was here.”

The look in Ryu’s eyes surprised him, he didn’t seem surprised. Hun, their boss, if they were so inclined, rarely made appearances and to William, that didn’t mean much; as long as her checks cleared, he didn’t care about correspondence. But her showing up in his apartment before he had even woken up that morning should have been cause for some concern.

“This morning?” Ryu asked.

“Yeah. I woke up a half hour ago and there she was, sitting on my favorite ottoman. By the way, does she always wear that creepy mask? Something about it is…”

“Creepy?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

He was trying to lighten the mood and he could tell that he was failing. Ryu’s gaze hardened. William didn’t know what kind of relationship there was between Ryu and Hun. It wasn’t personal, but it wasn’t strictly professional either.

“What did she want? Did she mention the Turtles?”

“Briefly,” William said, “Yeah. She said that they came back into town last night. But that didn’t seem to concern her much.”

“Well, what is concerning her?”

William let out a deep sigh and said, “You.”

William tapped his cane on the floor noticing that Ryu broke his gaze from him and refused to look anywhere but at his friend. He continued.

“She told me to keep an eye on you. She said that you didn’t seem up to taking them on again.”

“And what did you say?”

“I asked her what good she thought I was going to do. I can’t even walk without this goddamned stick.”

Suddenly William felt a searing stab of pain jolt up his back. When he looked at his cane, it reminded him of the sword that Leonardo ran through him. It was his own fault that it had happened, he was too much of a smart ass and it caught up to him big time.

“She told me that she thinks you’re a liability, Ryu. After you killed that rat…”

“His name was Hamato Yoshi.” Ryu interjected.

“After that, we were supposed to hit them again in their clubhouse. Why didn’t we?

William expected to see hesitation play across Ryu’s face, but what took him by surprise was the look of acceptance that weighed heavily across him.

“You know, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. And you know what I think; I think that I knew then that my fight was with Yoshi and that was it. And this rage that I have been carrying around with me for so long is just stupid. I think that I wasted the last six years of my life, and for what, a mutant? The Turtles murdered my father and my grand plan was to ignore that two wrongs don’t make a right, and I murdered their father in front of them. I reached down and I snapped a man’s neck…for the memory of a person that I’ve never even met.”

William was almost in shock, he had never expected Ryu to come out and say what he had been suspecting for a while now. Ryu was an angry man that was manipulated to do something that he, probably, would never have done otherwise. If that were the case, where did Hun fit in to all of this? William knew that she brought resources to Ryu that he would’ve never had come by on his own. But why go to him in the first place? If she were able to give them the ability to take the Turtle on in a head on fight, and torture them for the better part of two years, why didn’t she just do it herself? Why even bother with Ryu, a man the Turtles knew nothing about? Either way, William felt a need to protect his friend. He knew that the Turtles would retaliate sometime soon, and he honestly didn’t know if Ryu could stand another fight with them. Not if he didn’t believe in the fight anymore.

“You want my advice, Ryu?”

“Always.”

“Just go, man. Walk away from this fight. Put the last few years behind you and just…go. Go as far as you can and just try to live your life in peace. Because this life, the mercenary life, it’s not for you. It ain’t even for me anymore.”

Ryu buried his face in his hands and William could see that he was arguing with himself inside.

“Will,” Ryu said. “I can’t leave. I mean, I killed someone’s father in cold blood. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep…not after what I did.”

“Ryu, I have been in this life for over twenty five years. I started out in the Marines, and ended up a gun for hire. I have killed in every continent, and in over fifty countries. I have taken fathers and sons. Mothers and daughters, and every one of them has been nothing more to me than another deposit in my bank account. I know what I am, Ryu, and you’re not it.”

William wanted nothing more than to reach his friend. He knew what was coming if Ryu kept down this path. It would be nothing but blood and death, and maybe it was just because he was getting older, maybe it was that he would never walk without a cane again. But right now, there was a part of him that wished he were eighteen again, and hearing this advice before ever walking into a recruiter’s office.

“So…I’d just walk away?” Ryu asked.

“Yeah.”

Ryu nodded and rose to his feet. He looked a little different; some color had come back to his face. He stood a bit taller now. Ryu placed a hand on his friends shoulder and said “Good bye”. As Ryu walked across the room and out the door, William felt the room get a little colder, and the room a bit darker.

 

“Good Bye”

Hun listened to the conversation in William Sharpe’s apartment from a distant rooftop. The cold air whirled around her frame and snow clung to her boots. She breathed in deeply through her nose and out her mouth, controlling her breathing was the key to her core temperature to the point that the cold meant nothing. As she watched Oroku Ryu leave the apartment, she could tell that he was going to run away like the coward she knew he would be. Honestly, she was surprised that Ryu had made it this far. If Hun were being honest, she didn’t think that he was going to kill Splinter when he did. But that didn’t matter. Things were going to happen soon that were going to make all the effort in the past six years’ worth every struggle.

She had just gotten word that Leonardo had killed Dr. Craig, an acceptable loss. She had the Antigen and enough Mutagen to create an army if she wanted to. Ryu thinking he could leave wouldn’t be a problem for very long. She knew how to twist his arm to get what she needed.

She had to make Ryu feel like he needed to go after the Turtles one last time, and there was only one way to do that. All she had to do was track Leonardo and the rest would be easy. Soon, everything would be made right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part Five

The punching bag swayed back and forth as Michelangelo punched and kicked his frustrations into it. He kept his weight even on the balls of his feet, trying to focus his breathing and keep his mind off of his current situation; their current situation. The Dominators attacks over the last two years, Splinters death, Leo’s disappearance and Donatello’s desire to just sit and wait was really starting to weigh on him. And through it all, what he didn’t want to think about the most, was his lack of …lack of, well, whatever motivation leaders have, Michelangelo knew he was lacking it now.

Nothing was making any sense. Over the past three days, all anyone could talk about was Leo being gone, and frankly, he was tired of hearing about it. Leo, the guy that he had looked up to his whole life, had just deserted him and everyone else one night. If he had said good bye, that would’ve been one thing, but, no, Leo wouldn’t do that because he knew that they would’ve stopped him. God, he was tired of thinking of Leonardo and his brothers. What had changed? Leo was out on some kind of lone-wolf, vigilante mission for revenge, Donatello told everyone to stand down and wait out the storm and Raphael decided to go along with it. Why? Michelangelo hit the bag again and again and wondered why he wasn’t doing something about this whole thing. Things used to be different. They used to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, big time superheroes. It didn’t matter who or what they came up against, ninjas, the mafia or a gang of Triceratons; they protected people. But now one of theirs was out there alone, and here he was, venting his frustrations to a punching bag.

“You’ve got great form.”

Michelangelo stopped punching the bag when he heard Venus’s voice cut through the air. He turned and looked at her and felt his nerves calm and his breath return to him. She was beautiful. Her light green skin, her dark eyes, the way she braided the long, blue bandana that she wore across her face was just perfect. What did she see in a joker like him?

“Thanks.”

“You want to talk yet? Playing video games with Shadow and tricking Ace into eating eggs is one thing, but pretending that nothing is wrong, it’s not you, hon; you wear your heart on your sleeve. So just tell me.”

What the hell?

“I want Leo to come back, Vee. I want the Dominators to crawl back into whatever hole they came from and stay there. I want Donnie to come to his senses and let us go find our brother. I mean, how much sense does it make that we’re just sitting here? Plus, I just want…”

Michelangelo trailed off, he was too embarrassed to admit what he really wanted. But he knew that Venus was someone that he could tell anything to. So he steeled himself, breathed deeply and said;

“I just want the fighting to stop. This…after Splinter died, I just don’t know if I can do this anymore. Not that anyone should be surprised, right? I’m Michelangelo, I’m the party dude. I don’t take anything seriously.”

He felt Venus’s warm hands gently cradle his sweaty cheeks and he felt like a kid when he looked into her eyes. He forgot that Venus was just barely taller than him. He loved that he looked up to her, figuratively and literally.

“You are exactly where you need to be right now. Your brothers are protecting us; all of us. Just like you. You know that you were never a fighter, or a warrior. You’re something so much more precious, you’re a protector, Michelangelo. And right now, there’s someone that needs you.”

Venus looked past Michelangelo and smiled. When he turned, he saw April standing with Shadow, who looked both nervous and super excited. Michelangelo plastered on a large grin and kneeled down to look at her as she bounded over. The little girl looked so much like April that it was almost chilling. Despite the dark hair, she was the spitting image of her mom.

“Hey girls, what’s up?

“Well,” April said, “Shadow has a very important question for her uncle Mikey.”

“What’s up cutie?”

“I was wondering,” Shadow started with no reservations, “if you could teach me karate…the kind of karate that you know.”

“Really?” Michelangelo asked. He was asking Shadow, but he glanced over at April, looking for her permission. She smiled and nodded.

Shadow grinned and said; “Yep, I want to be a superhero like you when I get bigger.”

Michelangelo felt his heart break a bit.

“Plus I want to learn to use nunchucks like you. They look rad.”

“Well, those took a long, long time for me to learn.”

Shadow chuckled. “Uncle Mikey, I’m five, I’ve got time.”

At that moment, Donatello ran out of his workshop and called out.

“Guys, it’s Leo, we’ve got to get to him; Raph, Mikey, with me!”

Donatello and Raphael bounded out of the lair as Michelangelo looked at Venus, who nodded, vowing to watch over Shadow and April without saying a word. He looked back at Shadow who was patiently waiting for an answer, which was next to impossible for an eight year old.

“We’ll start tomorrow kiddo. I promise.”

 

Donatello really hated being right all the time. A few hours ago he had told Raphael that all they had to do was just stand by and wait for Leonardo to do what he had to do, and he would come back home. At the time, it sounded like a sound strategy. Donatello knew that if Leonardo was willing to slip away in the middle of the night and leave without a single word to anyone, he knew that his brother wouldn’t listen to a single protest to his actions. But Donatello knew that there would come a point where it would become clear to Leo that he needed his brother’s help. He knew that it would only be a matter of time. All morning he had been telling his brothers, April and his friends that they just needed to remain calm and wait for Leo’s call. A call that he knew would come eventually. About the time that he was starting to think that he had it wrong, his phone rang.

He was tracking Leo’s location for the thousandth time that morning when the call came in. Leonardo’s voice sounded different. He was tired obviously, but he sounded…desperate. Something had happened to him; or he had learned something, maybe about the Dominators next target or their next move. But, there was something else in his brother’s voice; something he had never heard from him before.

“Donnie…help me…”

There was fear in his voice.

Donatello pushed the negative thoughts of his brother out of his mind and focused on the run ahead of him. Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo were barreling down the abandoned subway tunnels adjacent to their lair. None of them spoke, none of them cracked wise; now wasn’t the time for it. Donatello silently prayed, to whatever God would listen, for his brother’s safety.

Please let Leo be safe. I was wrong, I admit. We should’ve gone after him. I should’ve listened to Raph. Let Leo be alright.

“Sir,” Metalhead’s voice came over a pair of headphones that Donatello was wearing. Back at their home, Metalhead was tracking their movements as well as Leonardo’s location. If Leo were down here, they would find him.

“Go ahead MH.”

“At your current pace you should be coming up upon Leonardo’s location within the next ninety seconds.”

“Roger that.” Donatello pumped his arms faster for more speed and ignored the pain in his knee as best he could. Five years ago, Donatello took a bullet to his knee. It was a miracle that he could walk, much less run, even the use of a brace, and he always thought that it was because Leonardo carried him home that night, promising him that everything would be fine. Donatello promised himself that no matter what happened next, he would be here for his brother, no matter the what.

“There.” Michelangelo called out, pointing out to where Leonardo was sitting against the wall near a set of tracks. He looked exhausted, his bandana was missing, and Karai was kneeling next to him, looking like she were trying to speak to him.

“Leo!” Raphael called out as they ran up to their brother; he took a knee next to him and Karai stood up, looking intently at Donatello.

Raphael and Michelangelo took a knee next to their brother, neither of them bothering to look at Karai. Raphael reached for his brother, placing a hand on his cheek.

“Leo, are you hurt? Can you move?” he asked.

Weakly, Leonardo barely replied, “Raph…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”

“Hey,” Raphael interrupted, “You’re here now, alright. I’m gonna get you home.”

“Wait, Raph, guys there’s something you need to see.”

Donatello watched as Leonardo reached out to his left, reaching for a large mass covered in a bloody white sheet.

What in God’s name…

“Donatello,” Karai’s voice broke Donatello from his musings. She looked like she was dressed for battle. She was covered head to toe in black, boots and loose fitting carpenter jeans. Over a black turtle neck sweater, she wore muted, purple armor that covered her chest and shoulders; armor that was worn by members of the Purple Dragons clan. Finally, a black hood covered her, casting most of her face in a heavy shadow. Seeing Karai like this, for some reason, made a small chill flow up and down Donatello’s spine; even though it had been a while since he had seen Karai, he was starting to wonder why he wasn’t happy to see her now.

“Not now.” Donatello turned t see what Leonardo was reaching for, and wished he hadn’t when Leonardo pulled the sheet back and saw Rocksteady’s emaciated corpse.

“Oh my God!” he heard Michelangelo call out.

 

Raphael was scared. His brother was back, but as he carried him into their lair, he wondered what could have brought him to this state. Raphael would hate to admit it out loud, but since he was a boy, he looked up to Leonardo. He knew why Splinter chose him to be the leader. He knew it was because of his patience, kindness, strength and a million other things that made him different from the rest. Raphael knew that he was a blunt instrument. Someone you send in when you want to have someone taken out; nothing more. He wasn’t a genius like Donatello, or an artist/ funnyman like Michelangelo, he was a weapon. But right now, he didn’t want to be a weapon. He wanted to take care of his brother. He wanted to tell him that everything would be alright, that they’d all be safe now. So Raphael stopped doing what he always did, he stopped acting out, and started thinking. Leonardo was exhausted, shivering and possibly hurt, as the Turtles entered their home, Raphael called out orders.

“April, we need a first aid kit. Mona, get some water. Casey, get some blankets; and Metalhead, Donnie, and Mike need your help.”

Leonardo had been walking for a long time. Over the last three days it seemed like all he did was move from one spot to the next destination; taking almost no time for breaks, he barely consumed any food or drank any water, combined with just enough sleep to keep him focused. ‘Keep moving forward,’ he told himself. Whenever he felt like throwing in the towel and returning home, he remembered what Splinter used to tell him and his brothers, “When you feel you have given one hundred percent, you’ve only given twenty.”

At this point, after walking through the woods all night, arriving in New York alone, sneaking into his own home and stealing from his brother’s lab, tracking Dr. Craig, and carrying Rocksteady from a neighborhood from Queens and bringing him home all the way in the sewer in Manhattan; Leo, ignoring the screams from the muscles in his legs and back, he felt that he had given more than twenty percent.

But he was home now, sitting in his kitchen with a flurry of emotions and movement taking place around him. Donatello had put Rocksteady’s body in his lab; Metalhead was examining the body, looking for a time and possible cause of death. Leonardo knew that it came from having the Mutagen slowly sapped from his body. He tried not to think of the shallow breaths that came from Rocksteady as he was walking home, and he would not think of what it sounded like when he noticed that Rocksteady had stopped breathing completely. But, he was home now, safe and surrounded by the family that he loved. So why did he still feel like there were chains pulling him down lower and lower as the seconds ticked past?

The answer came to him as he looked down at his hands. He could still feel Dr. Craig’s throat cracking under his grip.

But then he felt a soft, warm hand lightly embrace his own. Leonardo looked up, and saw April looking intently into his eyes.

“Hey,” she said with a smile. “What’s up? You’re shivering.”

Leonardo felt warmth around his shoulders and noticed Casey draping a thick blanket around him.

“April, I’m sorry…”

“Leo, you never have to apologize to me. You never have to apologize to any of us.”

“Yes I do. I shouldn’t have left you guys like I did. None of you would’ve done that to me, but I thought that, if I could take the fight to the Dominators…I thought I could beat them at their own game.” Leonardo continued. “For two years, those…punks murdered our friends, family; they murdered innocent and criminal alike. And I just, I just want this done. I’m so, so tired of looking over my shoulder. I’m tired of going to bed at night and being afraid of one of you not being there when I wake up in the morning. I can’t take it anymore. But, I did something really bad today.”

“Leo.”

Leonardo looked out into the room, and saw Raphael looking at him. There was so much he wanted to say to him right now. He wanted to apologize for all the times that he accused Raphael of not listening, when Leo had failed to learn the lessons he thought he was teaching.

“Tell us what happened bro.” Raphael said.

Leonardo took a deep breath and made his confession.

“I had Karai bring me back to the city. I told her to keep you all out of the loop. I wanted to cut off the Dominators supply of mutagen, so I found Dr. Craig. I thought I might also be able to find out some more info on Oroku Ryu and his crew. If nothing else, I thought, maybe, I could find…something. But when I got there, I couldn’t, I still can’t comprehend fully what I saw there.”

Leonardo griped the blanket tighter around his shoulders and breathed deeply again.

“For the last two years, they kept Rocksteady in a lab where he was stuck in a medically induced coma, and they drained the Mutagen from his body. And I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I, let him walk away from that.”

Raphael knelt down and placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

“Did you kill him?” he asked, and Leonardo nodded.

“I couldn’t control myself. Before I even realized what I was doing, I was already on him.”

All sound drained from an already quiet room. Leonardo looked around the room and tried to figure out if he was receiving looks of judgment from everyone, or sympathy for making the wrong choice. April and Casey, they didn’t need this. They had a daughter, Shadow, a five year old girl that didn’t ask to be thrown into all of this. He saw Michelangelo and Donatello exchange glances, nether one of them knowing what to think. Venus, Mona, Ace and Mondo all bore shocked expression. Maybe they didn’t think Leonardo had it in him. He knew that, as much as they loved him, they thought of him as a boy scout.

“I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.” Raphael said. “But, what would Splinter say if he were here?”

“Raph…” Leonardo started, but Raphael didn’t let him finish.

“Donnie, what do you think?”

Donatello did a pretty good at hiding his surprise by the mention of Splinter’s name. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to be reminded of their father, but the mere mention of his name could sting right now; but Donatello didn’t hesitate.

“Control the outcome.” He said. “Never let your opponents dictate the fight.”

Leonardo felt an odd sense of relief flow into him. He felt the chains around him start to break finally.

“Leo,” Raphael said, “You want to beat the Dominators, so do we. But we can’t do it unless we fight together.”

Leonardo nodded. “I’m sorry I ran. But at least I know where they’re based out of. An old hospital on Burnow Island, have to give them points for creativity.”

Leonardo felt better than he had in a long time. He almost felt like his old self again. He was still tired, barely able to hold his head up, but as he stood up with Raphael and hugged him, he felt at home again.

“Thank you for taking care of everyone.”

“Welcome home.” Raphael said.

“Uh,” a voice called out from the other room, “Are we interrupting?”

Everyone turned toward the entryway that lead out into the dojo and saw a man and a woman that no one had seen before; almost no one.

“Frank?” Raphael called out, saying that he was taken by surprise was a bit of an understatement. Raphael walked over to his friend and shook hands with him.

“What are you doing here?”

“Mona called us a couple of days ago.” Frank said, “She said you could use our help.”

“Sorry it took us a while to get here,” the young woman, Nemee, chimed in. “Indiana and New York aren’t exactly close, geographically speaking.”

Leonardo noticed his brother look back at Mona, the love of his life, and silently gave her his thanks.  Mona smiled and approached Frank and his accomplice hugging them both at the same time, overjoyed to see her friends.

Leonardo had heard of Raphael’s friends a couple of times. A couple of years ago, Raphael had left home and ended up living in a homeless shelter in Indiana, that’s where he met Mona. But along the way, Raphael told them of two people he had met that had saved Raphael’s and Mona’s lives and watched over them while they found their way in life. Frank and Nemee Mackenzie were some kind of vigilantes, or at least they used to be. Frank looked like a man who had seen some bad times. He was of average height, with an average build. But there was darkness to his demeanor. By contrast, his partner/wife Beck was tall and well-muscled. She had an open demeanor about her that suggested kindness, her smile as she hugged Mona, lifting her slightly, confirmed it.

“Hey Mona,” Nemee said. “You know, when you said you lived in a sewer, I thought you were being dramatic.”

“Would I lie to you?”

“I can never tell.” Frank interjected, as he looked deeper into the room, Frank seemed to realize how many people were in the room with them and offered a wave, greeting everyone. Leonardo stood up, dropping the blanket to the floor and walked over to Raphael’s friends, offering a hand in greeting. Frank immediately accepted, shaking his hand firmly.

“You’re Leonardo?”

“Yes, Raphael speaks highly of you; it’s good to have you two here.”

After the introductions, everyone slowly filtered out of the kitchen. Leonardo assured his brothers that he would be okay, but it was obvious he needed to rest and Michelangelo, surprisingly, insisted that he get some sleep.

“I will Mike, but there’s something that I need to do first.” As Leonardo walked out through the dojo towards his family’s trophy case, he noticed Karai leaving the lair quietly. She looked back and locked eyes with Leonardo, she smile slightly and offered a small smile. He nodded in return and promised himself that he would talk to her soon, if for no other reason than to thank her for her help with the Dominators, and for being the first person he saw when he stumbled home.

Leonardo stood in front of the massive trophy case that was personally his favorite aspect of his home and briefly looked at the center shelf, at the mask that the Shredder used to wear. He offered the mask a small nod, paying respect to the man that used to wear it. On the shelf above the mask, next to a small scepter given to them by their friend Renet, was an egg-shaped, blue stone the size of Leonardo’s fist; the Hyperstone.

“Leo,” Donatello called out, “What are you doing?”

While looking at the Hyperstone, Leonardo seemed to center himself, his confidence and resolve returning.

“We need help Donatello; all we can get. I tried to do this on my own, and I failed. I realize now that, I can’t let my fear of losing everyone hinder our progress.” Leonardo turned the stone in his hand and placed his thumb into a large crack in the stone where a chunk of the stone had been removed. He turned and sat in the lotus position, closing his eyes and centering his breathing.

As Leonardo concentrated, he thought of the person that held on to the chunk of the stone that was missing from the one he now held in his hands. Lightly, the stone started to pulse and give off a subtle blue glow. Leonardo remembered about how the stone was once shattered and its shards cast out to several corners of their known multiverse. The Turtles were sent across time and space by Renet to retrieve the shards from a creature called ‘The Other’: who had hoped to destroy or rule every world he could. During their time retrieving to shards, Leonardo and his brothers had met a warrior that helped them on their quest; quite possibly the greatest swordsman that Leonardo had ever seen.

Suddenly, a blue light pierced the room and formed the shape of a doorway, a small breeze emitted from it, and a being calmly walked through. He was dressed in a muted blue kimono and loose fitting black pants. He was covered head to toe in short, white fur, his long ears were tied into a top knot on his head; and at his side, two swords, a katana and a daisho. Leonardo stood up and looked at his old friend, bowing in respect and greeting. Myamoto Usagi, the rabbit yojimbo, bowed in return.

Around Usagi’s neck, he wore a simple black necklace with a shard of the Hyperstone tied to it, glowing as the portal behind him closed.

“Myamoto Usagi, we need your help.”

A small smile appeared on Usagi’s face, barely noticeable to anyone but Leonardo.

“Of course.” He said.

In the silence of the room, Nemee nervously said, “So…opening portals to other worlds, does that happen a lot around here?”

 

As everyone walked out of the kitchen April wanted to check on Shadow. She knew that her daughter was in Michelangelo’s room playing Nintendo. She thought it was adorable how much her little girl loved old video games. Her daughter was no snob, she understood why games like Minecraft and Lego Dimensions were so popular, but to Shadow, it didn’t get better than playing Batman or Journey to Silius. Something to do with the simplicity of so called “classic” video games; yes, those were the words of her five year old daughter. Okay, maybe she was a bit of a snob. April wanted to be nice and say hello to their new guests, Frank and Nemee, but as she made her way further into the dojo, she noticed Karai walking out of the lair, up the stairs and into the subway tunnels without a word to anyone.

Well, that’s typical.

April walked after Karai, wanting a few questions answered. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy. April and Karai never really saw eye to eye on things. Part of it was Aprils own fault. Karai, at the end of the day, belonged to the Foot Clan, an assassin for the enemy; and to April, that kind of allegiance couldn’t go away overnight. It was different than Venus, the young ninja turtle never fit in with the Foot Clan. Honestly, it was a miracle they never had her killed for being positive. Karai was the daughter of the Shredder; the Foot Clan was practically named after him. For years now, April had a funny feeling that Karai seemed, well, April didn’t know what it was that made April not completely willing to trust Karai. But she never told anyone about Leonardo’s whereabouts for the past three days, and April wanted to know why.

When April had made it to the subway tunnels, Karai was halfway to a ladder leading to a fake emergency hatch that led up to the street above them.

“Karai,” April called out as Karai was reaching for the ladder. “Can I ask you a question?”

As April approached, she noticed that Karai was praying for patience.

“Of course you can.”

“Something isn’t sitting right with me. You brought Leo back home from Northampton, right”

Karai nodded.

“When you got here, you knew he was going to try and fight the Dominators on his own, right?”

Again, Karai nodded.

“You remember the Dominators, don’t you? Bunch of big, scary, paramilitary dudes, dressed somewhat similarly to you, wielding a bunch of knives and rocket launchers; you remember them. You honestly thought that he was going to have a chance against them by himself?”

“He was not alone April.” Karai finally said. “What did you want me to do, give Leonardo my word that I would keep his whereabouts a secret and then call you as soon as his back was turned?”

“Yes, Karai, that was exactly what you were supposed to do.”

April ran her hands through her hair in frustration. April didn’t know what she was trying to accomplish here. Either she was going to find out what Karai’s angle was here, or she was going to kick her ass. Either way, she was pretty sure that she wasn’t going to be happy with whatever was going to happen next.

“You shouldn’t have let him leave Northampton. You should have driven him back to farmhouse. If Leo would’ve fought the Dominators on his own, he would’ve died. End of story.

“And while Leonardo was on his suicide mission,” Karai interrupted, “He cut off the Dominators supply of Mutagen, recovered vital information on their organization, and acquired their location. And he was never alone. I had people watching him, keeping him safe.”

“What people, the Purple Dragons, men and women who left the Foot Clan out of loyalty to you; the same people who broke into my home six years ago and burned it to the ground? Is that who you had watching over Leonardo?”

April hit a soft spot and she knew it. Karai was many things, a killer, a thief and a friend to, well to someone. But she wasn’t a liar. She may believe that she had Leo’s best interest at heart, but she was wrong to stonewall everyone else with what she knew. Karai was quiet for a long moment, seeming to take April’s words to heart and she seemed to want to consider her own words carefully.

“Yes April, you’re right. We used to be the Foot Clan, just like I used to be a misguided, brainwashed child. I used to believe in the honor of killing for the Foot. But then I saw what they did to my father, and I saw what they did to Venus, and I knew that I couldn’t let that stand. So I fought against them. I am still fighting them. Because every time I go to sleep at night, I see my father, judging me for turning my back on everything I ever knew.”

April was shocked, not only by the admission, but she honestly couldn’t think of a time where she heard Karai say so much at one time. She never expected so much emotion from her. In all the years that April had known Karai, she had never seen her this close to being flustered.

“April,” Karai said as she started to climb up the ladder, headed for the street above. “I know you don’t trust me; I don’t blame you. But I have learned that I can trust you. I’m not asking you to change your mind, but I’m asking that you accept that I have changed mine.”

As Karai left April alone in the tunnels, she realized that it didn’t matter what had happened this morning with Leo, or for the past three days while he was missing. He was home now and that was all that had mattered. April felt like crap for starting a fight. There had been enough fighting; she wanted to find a way to end all the pain that her family was going through. As she turned to head back to the lair, she felt, for the first time since she had gotten back to the city, like there was a chance. They could do this. They could win.

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part Six

 

The pain in William Sharpe’s back and legs had finally become manageable. He hobbled his way from his bathroom to his kitchen, not wanting to admit to himself how much longer it took him now to bath himself than before his injuries. He used to take a shower and only take about ninety seconds. Blame it on his military training, but he felt that he was no excuse to waste an incredible amount of water. Not though, thanks to that freak turtle, Leonardo, he learned to revel in the massage he received thanks to hot water, lulling his aching and pained muscles and bone into almost feeling like he wasn’t hurt at all.

But he was hurt; and he would be for the rest of his life.

Refusing to feel sorry for himself, he strode/hobbled into his kitchen as a teapot started to whistle on his stove. Resting his cane against the counter next to the stove, William poured himself a small cup of tea. As he added a small teabag, he thought of what he said to his friend Ryu, about how he should leave the Dominators behind him. He had hoped that he had given his friend the right advice, whatever the “right” advice might be. He knew that like him, the Dominators had been a major part of Ryu’s life. But it was more than just a paycheck, like it was for William. For Ryu, it was a way of life for him.

It had given his friend the means and ability to take revenge against those who had wronged him by taking his father from him. But was that the right thing? Oroku Ryu had never met his father; a man who had called himself, the Shredder. If the Turtles had taken anyone from Ryu that would’ve warranted revenge, William would’ve thought that it would be his Grandmother, Lady Miyoko. William added honey to his tea as he smiled thinking of Miyoko. The old woman who refused to allow her age determine her outlook. She didn’t care about her arthritis, or her age, she had to raise a boy on her own; a boy who was barely three years old when he met his grandmother. William took a look at his can resting next to him, and felt that if his friend Miyoko could do all of that, he could certainly adjust to being three-legged.

William knew that his friend would be okay, no matter where he ended up, it would work out. For now though, William was actually starting to look at a forced retirement as a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, he could turn his life around.

Knock-Knock-Knock

As he brought the steaming cup of tea to his lips, a hard knock came from his front door. As William check the clock on his stove, taking note that it was half past six in the afternoon, he wondered who could be dropping in for a visit; especially when only three people knew where he lived.

By way of habit, William thought that it was important to check the peep hole in his door, but since he had decided to live the relaxed life of a retired mercenary, he decided that it was time to let some habits go. But as he reached for the doorknob and the door was kicked inward, knocking William on his back, he knew that he had messed up.

The pain in his back roared as two people, a man and a woman that he recognized as two of the Dominators named Nobody and Tatsu. William lay on his back, trying to get to his feet, and wondering why as the larger of the two, Tatsu, brought his knee down on William’s chest, his legs wouldn’t listen to him. He tried reaching for his cane, planning on using it to crack a couple skulls, but then he felt his wrist crush under the weight of the woman’s, Nobody, boot. And just as he was figuring out how bad of a situation he was in, he was punched in the face until he stopped resisting.

Darkness draped everything. He couldn’t tell what room he was in anymore, and, if you asked him now, he probably couldn’t tell what state he was in if he were asked. But he could tell by the pain in his back that he was being held up by his arms

“William, we need to talk.”

But once William heard Hun’s voice, the cool, modulated voice, and when he saw her face, the red and black mask, and the black hood that cast a deep shadow over her, he felt his spine go cold; and he knew he was now on borrowed time.

“I really wished you would’ve called before you dropped by.” William said, groggily. “I would’ve cleaned up a bit.”

He started to wonder if Hun was smiling underneath her creepy mask.

“When I came to you this morning,” Hun started. “I told you to keep an eye on Oroku Ryu because I don’t think he can stomach what I have planned for the Turtles. And when I expressed my concerns to you, you took that as carte blanch to tell Ryu to run away.”
“Look lady, I’m not your janitor. You make mess, you clean it up…”

Hun slapped William hard across the face. William knew that it didn’t matter what he said right now. No matter what happened next, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t going to leave this room.

“You hold your tongue William, or I’ll pull it out.” Hun was wearing a thick black overcoat that hugged her frame, and at any other moment, William may have taken a moment to admire her figure. But as she unbuttoned it, he prepared himself for her to pull a weapon of some kind. Maybe hoping she were naked underneath was a bit of a stretch.

“I don’t care what you told Ryu, and I don’t care how…close you two have become. All of this, the planning and waiting, none of it will be undone because you developed a conscious when you found out that you couldn’t kill any more.”

William looked down at his cane, and realized now, that if this was his last day, he may be getting off easy.

“Neither you or Ryu is without purpose.”

“Listen Hun-ee, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t get around so easy these days. I can barely sit down on the toilet on my own now. It takes me five minutes to put on a pair of sweatpants. So what the actual fuck do you expect me to do for you?”

William saw the attack coming from a mile away, but the two goons that were holding him were too strong for him; stronger than he would ever be. Hun quickly covered his mouth and pulled out a long, weird looking syringe filled with a viscous-looking purple liquid. Without warning, Hun pierced William’s chest with the syringe and injected the liquid into him; and he realized too late what it was.  As he was pushed down to the floor, he felt the Mutagen/Antigen hybrid coursing through his system. It actually frightened him that his back and legs weren’t hurting him anymore.

“A long time ago, William,” Hun said, she must have knelt down next to him, her voice, while sounding like a creepy robot, felt mere inches from his ear. But he couldn’t tell because his vision had started to blur.

“Our war with the Turtles drove the Foot Clan to start experimenting with Mutagen, in hopes of finding an advantage. After an embarrassing amount of failures and setbacks, we developed something so much more powerful. The Antigen, while unstable, was a compound that was so potent that it could heal almost any wound in seconds. But, it wasn’t enough. The Foot was too greedy and, instead of pouring more time and research into the Antigen, they demanded a mutant to devour their enemies; an apex predator.”

William started to convulse as his nails started to grow. His head was pounding around his cheeks and jaw, but his vision was clearing, and he noticed several of his teeth on the floor.

“So,” Hun continued “as time went on, we found our answers in own homeland. Off the coast of a small fishing village in Japan, there once lived a behemoth under the sea.   This creature terrorized the village for years, taking both fisherman and swimmer into its jaws. This creature hardly ever ate anyone, however. It preferred to bleed it’s victims by merely biting them and letting the ocean currents carry their lifeless bodies back to the shore. For decades, this monster antagonized the village to the point that the fisherman refused to go back out into the waters, and eventually, the fishing business that was their livelihood, faulted and left them in poverty.”

William noticed that his skin was starting to turn a grayish color, like that of a stone statue, but his skin felt moist to the touch. More pain erupted from his jaw as he felt new teeth growing: they were sharp and serrated. What was he turning in to?

“Today, the village is a mere shadow of its former self. Not a single boat, person or home is found there. Save for one man, a man tasked with warning visitors and passerby with a warning of the creature that lives beneath their once calm and prosperous waters; a creature that they called the Armaggon.”

William noticed that his vision was sharper slightly, and his senses of hearing and smell were becoming much more acute.

“Like I said William, you will serve.”

As Hun walked away, William could feel himself being dragged out of his apartment, being dragged away from his old life; leaving his humanity behind.

Light washed over Ryu’s eyes easily, which was a welcomed surprise. Over the past month, sleep hadn’t been one of his favorite things. Most nights, nightmares visited his mind. Visions of the Turtles faces as they saw their father dying by his hands. Some nights, he would wake up and just have this overwhelming feeling of dread. The feeling of knowing that, no matter what else he did in life, no matter how good, he would burn one day for what he had done.

But when he had returned home from William’s apartment earlier in the day, exhaustion plagued him and he felt compelled to sleep. Upon waking, however, he felt better than he had in weeks. He woke up feeling hungry, his muscles were relaxed and his mind was clear; he almost felt upbeat.

He knew that his sudden zeal had something, if not everything, to do with his friends’ advice to leave the Dominators and the Turtles behind him. He knew that he would feel weight of guilt for killing a father again. But he didn’t care. He knew that when that happened, he would deal with it.  Right now, he wanted to eat, and he should probably start packing. Not, much, maybe six-days-worth of clothes, and he could carry that. But before he did anything, Ryu knew that he needed to call his grandmother, Miyoko.

Lady Miyoko was the only family that Ryu had. He knew that he had a sister named Karai. But he had never met her, and at this point in his life, he didn’t care to. On the outside, his grandmother was a stern, unflinching person. But Ryu knew that her smile, her laugh and her wisdom were reserved for him. Years ago, his father, Oroku Saki, had left him in her care when he was barely a month old. Either way, it had been a while since he had talked to her. Since he fought Splinter, he had found it difficult to talk to her. Ryu had been trained since he was a child to defend himself. But her knowing that he had killed; it just hurt him to talk to her.

But if he was sleeping decent, well, talking was worth a try. Noting that it was just past seven o’clock, he decided that there was no reason to stall any longer. As his grandmother’s phone rang, he felt excited to finally talk to her again. He just hoped he wouldn’t let her down by just walking away.

When she answered the phone, her voice betrayed nothing. She may be in her late eighties, but you would never know it. She had more spring in her step than most people half her age.

“Oh, Koinu, how are you? Are you feeling better?”

Ryu smiled when she called him “Koinu”, her pet name for him since he was a small boy. It never made him feel embarrassed or angry, it made him feel loved.

“I’m actually feeling much better.” Ryu said.

“Well, that’s good. You had me worried. Your sleep is very important, you know.”

“Grandma, do you remember when I was over last month, and we talked about my father and the…well, everything?”
“Yes, I do.”

His grandmother’s voice was almost terse at the mention of his father, Oroku Saki. Ryu didn’t necessarily want to bring up the Shredder right now. That conversation didn’t always go over well. Not only did Ryu lose a father the night that the Shredder fought the Turtles, but Miyoko lost a son. On top of that, bringing up the Turtles or his father made Ryu think of his fight with Splinter. The sound of Splinter’s neck snapping sent chills down his spine even now.

“Is everything all right Ryu?”

“Yes. Well, grandma, I don’t know anymore. I just feel like I made the wrong choice.”

The more Ryu had tried explaining his actions over the past few years, even to himself, it felt as if he put up a wall around himself to keep his admissions inside.  But today, he felt that he needed to push past himself.

“My fight with Hamato Yoshi, whether it was honorable or not, it was wrong to challenge him; I was wrong to torture his family the way that I did. For six years now, I have been a slave to anger and pain that I didn’t need. And I used that anger as an excuse to pursue vengeance that wasn’t mine to take.”

His grandmother was quiet, seeming to take the time to absorb the words and gestate on their meaning. Ryu knew that she didn’t judge or condemn him for his actions. Her love for him was greater than his sins.

“You’re leaving, aren’t you?”

Ryu was shocked. If for no other reason that he knew he shouldn’t be. He knew that his grandmother knew him better than anyone. To her, he was an open book

“A friend of mine suggested that the life I have chosen may not have been the right one. So, I am going to leave the Dominators behind me. It may take the rest of my life, but I’m going to make up for all the wrongs that I have done, somehow.”

Again, his grandmother was quiet, going over his words in her mind with a fine tooth comb. But when she responded, he was taken aback.”

“I think that is what is best for you, Ryu.” She said.

“Really?”

“Ryu, I believe that a part of you joined the Dominator campaign against the Turtles because you thought it was what your father would’ve wanted. You may believe that your father left you with me because you couldn’t be a part of the Foot clan. You may have thought that you were cast out because your mother wasn’t of our homeland. But, you are wrong. Oroku Saki was a high ranking member of the Foot clan that commanded respect from everyone in his presence and employ. It wouldn’t have mattered that your mother was a white woman from Ireland; if your father had wanted you in the Foot clan, you would’ve been.” Miyoko continued. “But when he first lay eyes on you, he knew that he couldn’t bear to see you become an assassin like him or your sister. So when you were a month old, even though it broke his heart, he gave me to you. And that was the greatest day of my life.”

Ryu fought back tears, he had never heard so much about his father before and he probably wouldn’t ever again. But knowing how much he had meant to whoever his father really was, it made him feel that he was making the right choice now. If he was never truly meant for this type of life, a life full of violence and rage, than maybe he could find redemption.

“Grandma, can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“I never knew anything about my birth mother, but, do you remember her name?”

Ryu could almost hear his grandmother smile.

“Of course I do. Her name was Margaret.”

With that, Ryu felt a weight lift off of his shoulders. He didn’t know what it was exactly, but, he liked the way he was feeling.

“Can I ask you one more question, since we’re being all emotional and honest about things?”

She laughed lightly and accepted.

“Were you ever a member of the Foot clan?”

Crash

He could hear the door of her small apartment being kicked down. Then he heard some force their way into her home. His grandmother gasped sharply and the phone was dropped to the floor.

“Grandma?”

The phone call was cut off, and Ryu sat alone in his room feeling the world around him crash. Before he knew it he was out the door and running at a full tilt. Cold air washed around him and the sidewalks had never seemed so crowded. It was seven o’clock on a Tuesday night, why were there so many people out and why were they all in his way.

His grandmother lived four blocks from him, but right now, she may as well be living on the sun. Someone was in her apartment, and Ryu had a feeling that they weren’t there for a night cap. He ran harder than he had in weeks and prayed to whoever would listen for his grandmother’s safety. He was three blocks from his grandmothers when a memory came to him. He hadn’t thought about since he was a nine; but it was one of his favorite times from when he was young.

Every day before he went to school, his grandmother would give him fifty cents to buy to buy a pop with his lunch; and every day his grandmother would be outside the school at the end of the day, waiting to walk him home. On the way home, there was a small antique shop with a large front window less than a block from their apartment, the same shop that he passed just now. He could see his grandmother’s apartment now and ran harder.

Every day, they passed that shop, and every day, he notice that his grandmother looked a particular necklace. The necklace wasn’t special, a simple gold band with a small jade pendant. Nothing fancy, but it obviously had captured her attention. But Miyoko never would have bought it for herself. She always thought that jewelry was a waste of money. Why would you spend money that you earned with your hands on shiny rocks set on overly priced metal? But something about that jade pendant had caught his grandmothers attention.

As he ran up the stairs in her apartment building, he could see her apartment now it was so close Whoever had broken down her door could be gone by now. Ryu may be too late.

When he reached the top of the stairs, and entered the apartment, he remembered the look on his grandmother’s face when he gave her the jade pendant after saving his fifty cents a day for over a year to buy it for her. It was the same necklace that she wore now as she lay on the floor with a knife in her chest down to the hilt. Ryu’s insides went cold, and his limbs felt as if they were encased in cement. He felt a pull in his chest, a pull that reminded him of pulling the pedals off a sunflower. Her features had gone pale and he knew the terrible truth; he had arrived too late. As he kneeled down next to her he gently placed a hand on her cheek and reached for her hand, and felt something that was placed in her palm. He looked down and noticed something blue in her hand. Perplexed, he gently opened her hand held up a blue bandana that he had seen before. It was Leonardo’s mask.

The cold emptiness that had filled him since he heard someone break down his grandmother’s door had been replaced with a searing anger that made Ryu feel repulsed that he could have let this happen. As he clutched the bandana in his hand, he cradled his grandma’s small frame in his arms and cradled her from side to side. Why did this have to happen? She didn’t deserve this, to be cut down in her own home and left alone in the dark. Ryu felt the bandana in his hand and knew that leaving was a ridiculous notion. He was here right now for a reason. His grandmother, the only family he had ever known, was lifeless in his arms because he had taken part in a war that he didn’t start, but he would finish it or he would die trying. Ryu closed his eyes, and buried his head in her hair, trying to remember this moment, because it would be his last time seeing his grandmother.

“Ryu?”

Ryu opened his eyes slowly as the modulated voice came from behind him. He didn’t turn, he didn’t need to. He knew who was standing behind him. He kissed his grandmother on the forehead and laid her gently on the floor. He remembered to take the blue bandana from her hand and stood up to face Hun, who was standing calmly in front of an open window. He didn’t know why she was here. He didn’t know how she got here. But he didn’t care. The very sight of her made Ryu’s stomach turn inside out. That mask, her red and black mask that he hated, was in place, but the hood she wore was pulled back. She had black hair that hung just past her jawline. She looked strong and ready for what they both knew was to come.

“This is your fault, Hun.” Ryu said. He walked forward and closed some of the distance between them. He didn’t know if his boss was here trying to help or here for a fight, but right now, he didn’t care. He continued. “You turned my whole life upside down when you told me I could avenge my father’s death.”

Ryu’s eyes bred into the blank, white eyes of the Venetian style mask that hid her face. She was always hiding in plain sight.

“I helped you kill over two dozen people and mutants. I heled you wage war for the name of Oroku Saki, and for what? Honor? Love of a man that I never knew?”

Ryu’s fists were clenched so tightly that he wouldn’t be surprised if his nails had dug into the pals of his hands. He almost looked down to check for blood on his grandmother’s floor. But, he wouldn’t back down from Hun right now. He knew now that he had made a mistake. The past few years had been a mistake, and he wouldn’t make another one like it.

“No, I wanted to hurt the man that had hurt me.” Ryu said, “Because I couldn’t stand the idea of a mutant, who had trained children to kill for him.”

Ryu looked back at his grandmother’s lifeless body on the floor, and then back at Hun.

“And I realize now that I’m no better than him.”

Hun didn’t move. She didn’t falter or try to interrupt, and Ryu could wager a guess that she looked just as lifeless underneath that stupid mask of hers.

“I thought that we had won. I thought that killing Splinter was the right thing to do. Not just because he had my father murdered, but because I was convinced that it was the right thing to do.”

“It was.” Hun said, finally.

“Then why do I have so much doubt about what I did; about what we did?

Ryu turned away from Hun and gazed at his grandmother. What was he going to do? What could he do? The mask that he held in his hand told him everything he needed to know. This was the Turtles acting in retaliation. This was their leader, Leonardo. Honestly, Ryu was surprised. He didn’t expect this from him; maybe his brother Raphael, but not Leonardo. Suddenly, a realization came over him that chilled him to the bone. He would have to kill again. But he didn’t know if he wanted to. Not even ten minutes ago, he had decided to leave. He was going to turn his back on the Dominators, the Turtles, Hun and all of the craziness that had made up his life since his father had died.

All of this for a man I’ve never know.

A warm hand on his shoulder broke him away from his thoughts. Ryu turned and saw Hun standing next to him. Those weird, blank eyes of her were gazing into his. Ryu could swear that he could see them moving.

“I don’t know what to do.” Ryu said, a single tear ran down his cheek.

“Maybe you don’t have to. Tell me what you want.” Hun said. “Tell me what you really want.”

“I want this to end; the Dominators, the mutants, all of it.”

Hun exhaled and shook her head. “Oh Ryu, there’s so much you don’t know yet. The Dominators were never real. When you agreed to fight for me, you became a member of the Foot.”

Ryu closed his eyes and accepted his fate.

“This whole time?” he asked.

“Yes, this whole time. But you’re wrong, you know? There is no need to have doubt in your actions. Since the moment I first laid eyes on you, I knew that we could accomplish more together than we ever could apart. And do you know why?”

Ryu shook his head and kneeled next to his grandmother and noticed Hun kneeling next to him a second later. He started shivering. In his haste to reach his grandmother he had forgotten a jacket and he was starting to shiver. He felt Hun’s hand on his back and was surprised by how comforting he found her company right now.

Hun cleared her throat and continued. “Because you were not the only one that lost someone the night the Turtles fought the Shredder.”

“What?

“Ryu, I want you to know that you are not alone in this. I have never been far from you.”

Ryu looked over at Hun and saw her reaching for her mask. She was hesitating and Ryu could almost see the struggle within her. He knew what was about to happen. He thought about trying to stop this but, for some reason, he felt the temptation to finally know who was under that mask was too great. Gently, with both hands, Hun pulled the mask from her face and looked at Ryu, and he felt his world crash around him for the second time that night.

“Karai…?” he said.

“Yes brother.” Karai smiled and they embraced, and Ryu felt more tears fall down his cheeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan made story for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part seven

 

To Father-

Hi, it’s Donatello. I don’t know what to say right now. To be honest, I’ve always found it hard to express what I feel. I mean, one time, I took an old coffee maker and converted it to a battery charger. Three years ago, for Michelangelo’s birthday, I made him a motorized skateboard that ran on steam. But writing down something that’s in my heart, especially lately, I just haven’t been able to find the words. I’ve sat in front of this laptop a couple thousand times in the past month and nothing comes out. And I think it’s because I’m afraid that what I have to say just won’t be enough. It won’t be enough to explain myself to you. Explain what I’m trying to say to you.

I don’t even know where to begin.

It’s so hard knowing that you’re not in the next room. You were the first person that I remember seeing. Your smile could fill up a room. You could look at us at our worst, when we were so beat down and you could tell us that everything would be all right, and somehow, through some form of ancient ninja magic that only you knew, everything would work out. I mean, I have looked up to you my whole life, we all have. And I never got to tell you how much I appreciated your unwavering support. You never looked down on me because I wasn’t as strong as Raphael, or as quick as Michelangelo. It never bothered you that I was never as skilled as Leonardo. When you saw that I couldn’t handle a bladed weapon without damn near cutting off a finger, you gave me a simple, wooden bo, and showed me how to master it. Where my brothers were incredibly adept in close-quarters-combat, you taught me to keep my distance.

“Keep your distance, my son.” You’d say. “Keep your distance, and you shall never fall victim to a surprise attack.”

I took that lesson to heart a little too much, I’d say.

I think I messed up bit time, father.

Here’s what I know; I knew that Leo was out there alone. I knew that he was going after the Dominators, trying to cut off there supply of mutagen. And I knew that the Foot Clan were involved as well. That last one is thanks to Dr. Craig’s extensive notes. Who knows why he was so meticulous about them. Maybe it was some kind of backdoor insurance policy he had. Maybe it was some kind of “Don’t screw me over, or I’ll expose you” situation. If anyone did find out about all of this, however, who would believe him? Mutations, back alley executions, and thousand year old ninja clans sounds more in line with cheap, grocery store fiction than real life. But as I sit here, in my lab, looking at Rocksteady’s dead body not five feet from me, I can’t help but think about how real this situation is. I wish I could just pin all of the blame on the Dominators, or the Foot Clan. I wish I could let Raphael take the blame, like he feels he should. I wish it were as easy as saying that this was my fault, or even the Shredder’s. But the truth is, father, is that this is your fault. You started this because you were angry about being mutated into a giant rat.

I’m sorry to say it that way, but it’s true. And you have no idea how hard it is for me to read those words.

Sure, nobody told Rocksteady to become a low-life hood. No one forced Shredder to follow you and your wife to America. No one told Leonardo to do his own thing. But, no one told you to train children to kill for you father. I promise, I’ll never question the love you had for us, father. I know you loved us; and our lives will forever be greater for having known you for the short time we were together. But why do I feel like we were doomed from the start?

Looking back on it now, when we were just fourteen years old, we had no idea what we were headed towards.

Most fourteen year olds are busy with their first job, or noticing girls for the first time. Most fourteen year olds are nervous about starting high school. But, most, if not all, fourteen year olds aren’t Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When we turned fourteen, we were tasked with finding and eliminating Oroku Saki; the Shredder, the man who, along with you, was responsible for our creation.

Something about the night we fought the Shredder never set right with me, father. I understand that you wanted vengeance. I know that it was for the murder of your wife, as much as it was for mutating you. But why send us to do it? You couldn’t have known that we would defeat him. I mean, why train us at all? Why encourage Michelangelo to draw, or Raphael to channel his anger. Why encourage Leonardo to lead, why teach me to read if you were just going to send us off to our death?

That wasn’t right, I’m sorry. I know you loved us. If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have been with us to the very end. If you didn’t love us, you wouldn’t have come back for us when we fought Ryu last month. I spoke/wrote out of turn, I am sorry. I’m just so tired of the guilt that we have been carrying for six years now; guilt that we agreed to never tell anyone about. I can blame you all I want, but I know that we did this to ourselves.

 

That night was probably the most terrifying night of my life. When I first saw him, he was menacing, more than I had ever imagined. Looking back on it now, I can’t remember if he was six feet tall or twelve, but there was no way that we could have fought him. He was too powerful for us, even when we all attacked him at once, he would just move and one of us, or all of us, would be on our backs. He would move out of the way and there would be a swipe of his blades. There was no technique that the Shredder couldn’t outmaneuver, no attack that he wasn’t stronger than. By the end of the night, there was more of our blood on the floor than his. To see his eyes when he would look at us, well, at least he wasn’t laughing. We were nothing to him, and we all knew it. He would have killed us that night if Raphael hadn’t lost it.

Raph put him on the ground and just started whaling on him. He just hit him over and over again until he couldn’t lift his arms. Believe it or not, it was Leo that tried to pull Raphael away first.

“Raphael, he’s had enough.” Leo said.

When we could finally pull Raph away, there wasn’t much of the Shredder left that was recognizable. That’s when reality hit us, when Michelangelo said,

“Dudes, he’s not breathing.”

We knew that we were sent to kill him. But you told us to give the Shredder the chance for an honorable death; to commit seppuku. I guess Raphael had different plans, and none of us knew what to do. Seeing Raph at that moment, his eyes wild and full of hate, we just knew that this wasn’t us. We were supposed to be warriors, not murderers.

“What did you do?” Leo asked.

Raphael almost looked satisfied with his handiwork.

“I did what we were sent here to do. I punished him.”

Leo and Raphael went back and forth for a while after that. Arguing over honor versus results, and it ended with Leonardo punching Raph in the jaw. He started yelling about how he was tired of Raph always acting out, having a bad attitude and trying to do his own thing. He was fed up with Raph having a problem with being part of the team. Raphael lunged at Leo, but Michelangelo and I stopped him. Leo stood his ground though and it took Mike and I almost ten minutes to calm him down. It ended with Raphael walking off on his own and Leo taking the Shredder’s helmet back for you. We told you that Raph was just out making sure that the Foot clan hadn’t fallowed us home.  The next morning, before you had woken up, we all swore that we would never tell you what had happened. We didn’t know what you would’ve thought about us.

Most of us were convinced that you would think we were savages. Raph thought that we had done the right thing. I still don’t know. I figure, no matter what we had done, we’d still be right here in the same crappy situation we are now. I know it sounds crazy, I know that you had sent us there to take revenge, but father there is a difference between killing a man, and murder.

I know it’s crazy, but that was the beginning of the end for us. Leo and Raph decided to fight each other instead of bury the hatchet. Just in case you ever wondered what exactly Leo’s problem with Raph was…well, there you go. But, it made us stronger too. Seeing Raphael fly off the handle the way he did, made us work harder to protect others.

Oh my God, father I’m sorry. This isn’t your fault. None of this is your fault. It’s ours. My brothers and I started this.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. But I just wanted to tell you that I miss you. I hope you’re with Tang Shen again.

I love you, and I’ll see you again. Sooner or later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan-made writing for fans of all things TMNT. Thanks for reading.

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Roll Call…

 

Leonardo

Height: 6’

Weight: 192lbs

Leonardo accepted the responsibility of leadership when his father, Splinter, tasked him and his brothers with challenging the Shredder to mortal combat. Leo is often seen as someone that is that is reliable in battle as well as someone that is trusted with bearing the burden of helping his family when the situation calls for it. Leonardo loves his family unconditionally, and would give his life to protect them, even if he sometimes forgets that he is no superman.

Donatello

Height: 6’ 4”

Weight: 185lbs

Donatello is something of a tech genius, always tinkering away in his lab, working away at on a new weapon or a “modern” convenience for their home. Over the years, his love of tinkering has become something of an obsession for him, and as such, he has become detached from his family, often times spending days in his lab working away. Not even Donatello can explain why this is, but he has acquired a fondness for the solitude it provides.

Raphael

Height: 6’ 1”

Weight: 215lbs

Raphael has come a long way in a short time. He was always angry without knowing why. But as he grew older, he realized the embarrassing reality that he just didn’t like that his brother was the one that got to tell him what to do. After living on his own for a year he learned the hard way that it was alright to depend on others and let them know that you need help. He learned a lot during his time away and returned home determined to make things right with his family.

 

Michelangelo

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight: 180lbs

Growing up, Michelangelo didn’t care that he wasn’t the leader, or the tech guy, or the muscle. He knew that he had the important job; he’s the funny guy. Very few people realize just how hard he works to make sure that his family stays together, but recognition has never been Mikey’s style. All he wants is for his family to be together. Because he knows that their father was right when he told them that the outside world wouldn’t understand them. But that won’t keep him from trying to put a smile on everyone’s face.

 

April O’Neil

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 120lbs

April Never expected to become a mother at such a young age, but after the Turtles had saved her life, she saved theirs right back. Not only did her skills as a nurse keep her friends safe, but her kind heart and strong shoulders kept the Turtles from possibly becoming the freaks that they secretly fear the world thinks they are. April never expected her life to take such an adventurous turn, she never expected to fall in love with a crazy, hockey themed vigilante, and she never expected to become an actual mother. She never stop trying to thank the Turtles for that.

Casey Jones

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 220lbs

Coming from a rough neighborhood, Casey never thought that he would amount to much. The only thing that he was good at was fighting and hockey, and hockey was taken away from him. But, he learned that fighting didn’t necessarily mean that he had to hurt people. When he met the Turtles, he found out that sometimes, fighting meant saving people. Right now, he may be a little rusty, but Casey knows his place. He knows that when push comes to shove, he can shove harder than most.

Mona Lisa

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 135lbs

Every day, for years, all Mona knew was fighting and running. At the age of nine, Mona was kidnapped and mutated into a human/lizard hybrid. After breaking away from her captors, she stayed on the move, trusting no one. That was until she met Raphael, Frank and Nemee, and she learned that the world has good in it. She learned that she has a place. She learned that she is not a monster. Whoever she was, and whoever she was going to be, she knew that she would always be a person. And nothing, not her mutation, or her cynicisms, would take that away.

Metalhead

Height: 5’

Weight: 400lbs

Metalhead will be the first, and probably only, person to tell you that he does not consider himself an A.I.; although he does not classify himself as merely a V.I. One thing he has learned from Donatello after he activated him, is that the Turtles, along with the other mutants, do not see themselves as mutants but as people. With this in mind, Metalhead has lost interest in pursuit of an identity and dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and the continued safety of his family.

Venus de Milo

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight: 138lbs

No one ever expected much from Venus. When she was younger, she was trained by the Foot Clan to kill. The thought of what they tried to make her was something that made her physically ill to this day. She knows now that she should have been a villain in her story. Having failed at the only thing she was told she was meant for, she was forcibly mutated into a turtle to mock her supposed enemy. Ironically, she found asylum with the ones she thought would rather turn a blind eye to her than lend a helping hand.

 

Myamoto Usagi

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 145lbs

Honor, integrity and the sword are the touchstones of Usagi’s life. Living alone, by the code of the Bushido, has taught Usagi much in his life as a yojimbo. Most importantly, it has taught him who to trust. Usagi has known the Turtles for many years and, despite their vast differences, considers them family. Despite how strange he finds the world the Turtles are from, he revels in their visits to his world as well as his treks to theirs; finding solace in their family makes the pain of losing his own a little easier to deal with.

 

Mondo Gecko

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 130lbs

Mondo never knew what family meant to him until he met the Turtles. To him, family was just something that you had, proof of where you came from. But, after his mutation, he found that it was easy to be angry at the world. But it took being a man to accept your lot in life. Mondo learned a lot in the years since joining the Turtles, and since forming the Mighty Mutanimals with Ace, he has come to find out that he is not much different now than he was before he was mutated. Mondo holds out hope that if he can see past his mutation, than others will to.

 

Ace “Duck” Conrad

Height: 6’ 2”

Weight: 200lbs

Being mutated into a giant duck was not the easiest thing in the world for Ace to accept. But, being a former Air Force pilot taught him to adapt to your situation and drive on. Finding purpose in helping Mondo and other mutants like him find a life beyond their appearance, Ace believes that he was mutated for more than just accidental or malevolent reasons. The fact that he has wings with a twelve foot span sprouting out of his back made life easier. Almost nightly Ace looks up and takes to the skies, reveling in the knowledge that while his mutation may have taken his human appearance, it did not take his identity from him.

 

Frank Mackenzie

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 198lbs

A quiet man from Parkland, Indiana, Frank spent years trying to be more than a scrawny kid who was afraid of everything around him. A question of his courage is what led him to enlisting in the Army at seventeen, not a call of duty. But it was when he came home to find that his town had become rotten with crime, violent cops and drug abuse, that he truly found his purpose. After ten years of fighting for his country, he decided to come home and save his town. While using violence to stop violence is possibly the dumbest idea around, it’s all he has for right now.

 

Nemee Mackenzie

Height: 6’

Weight: 147lbs

A long time ago, Nemee made a promise to herself that she would never back away from someone in need. Growing up in the Foster system, there were a lot of people that turned a blind eye towards the things that happened to her; things that should never happen to a little girl.  She’s not exactly sure how she developed her powers, or how that blossomed into a career in vigilantism, but she can see the difference that her and Frank have made in their town. She knows that, despite the violence, she is doing more than beating up drug dealers and crooked cops; she’s making a town safe for people to live in.

 

 

 

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part 8

Frank Mackenzie sat in Donatello’s lab, hunched over the massive workbench and reading the files and notes that Leonardo had recovered from some doctor. Frank didn’t remember the doctor’s name and didn’t really feel like asking for it again. Based on the reaction to what Leonardo had done, bringing it up again would only kill an already somber mood. He was only half paying attention to what he was reading. The notes in front of him sounded almost too crazy to be taken seriously, even with everything Frank had seen in his few years of fighting crime. Mutants and monsters, ninjas and assassins sounded like a pretty good movie, but it was a hard pill to swallow, even if he were going to end up fighting them within the next day or two.

The doctor, whoever he really was, kept some pretty impressive notes, and it was obvious, to Frank, that the doc was covering his ass just in case he had to make a run for it. But parts of the notes sent chills up and down Frank’s spine; human experimentation, while not unheard of, left a foul taste in his mouth. Frank would never let himself understand what exactly could possess a person to cut into another human just for the sake of finding out what would happen. Sure, Frank had seen his share of knife fights, but there was a point to it. But a bunch of ninjas and mad scientists pouring an unknown toxin into people just because they could was, for lack of a better term, concerning.

Frank thought back to the first time he saw Raphael and Mona and wondered where their lives would be right now had they never have been mutated. Would they be better off?

“Hey…”

Frank broke away from his reading and saw Raphael’s friend, Casey Jones, approaching him with a beer in either hand. Casey wore a genuine smile on his face as he offered Frank a beer, a Guinness, and sat next to him. At that moment, Frank had finally taken a second to notice the life happening around him. The makeshift lab was teaming with life. Casey, Donatello, who was busy typing away on his laptop, and the two younger mutants, Mondo and Venus were seated around the workbench, talking and laughing, as if there weren’t a fight ahead of them. Frank had been so focused on the possible events ahead of him against an unknown enemy that he had forgotten to try and interact with people that had welcomed him into their home without hesitation. Frank quickly looked out into the next room and saw his wife and partner, Nemee, talking and laughing, and felt his nerves calm as the sight of her softened his core. In an instant, looking at Nemee, he saw everything that he had wanted to be and everything that he was afraid of

“Hey man, am I interrupting?” Casey had asked, and Frank shook his head, collecting his thoughts.

“No uh…I’m sorry, I’m just…”

“Overwhelmed?” Casey asked, offering the large, can of beer to Frank. Frank took the can and cracked it open, taking along pull from it.

“A little.”

“You get used to it.”

Casey sat next to Frank and looked over the notes that he was reading from. Frank took note of the concern that played across Casey’s face as he glanced at the notes, telling Frank a lot more of the situation that he was currently in.

“Lot of bad news here, huh?”

Casey took a moment and nodded. “Yeah, we’ve been put through the ringer for a while now. Didn’t even know what we were up against until about a month ago when we got our asses handed to us.”

“These guys look like they know what they’re doing. They’re well-armed, resourceful, and we have no way of telling how many of them there actually are. You guys were hit last month by about two dozen soldiers and a couple of possible mutants that show signs of some kind of regenerative abilities.”

“The Revenants.” Venus interjected from across the table; she and Mondo were playing blackjack with well-worn playing cards.

“At least, that’s what Leo called them.” She smiled sheepishly and returned to her game.

“You’re a quick study.” Casey added, sounding impressed.

“I am.”

“So, how do you like our chances?”

“I don’t.” Frank said. “I’m sorry, but until we know exactly how many of these Dominators there are, there’s no way for us to fully prepare for them. Up until now, they have been operating behind the scenes. Somehow, they were able to separate individual members of your team and take them out while also making it look completely random by interspersing their killings with random citizens. We’ve only got one full scale assault to gauge their capabilities and I have to say, they’re considerable.”

Frank took another pull from his beer and felt more eyes on him as he was considering his theories on their opposition. He knew that he may not be making friends here, but he knew that they all had to be realistic about their chances. They had to know that things didn’t look good.

“I mean, did any of you know about this Hun character until today? All the signs before now pointed to whomever this Ryu guy is being the leader. But we didn’t know that there was some behind him calling the shots until a few hours ago. These notes, as extensive as they are, give away nothing.”

Silence had taken over the room. Frank had a knack for ruining a good day and he was disappointed to see that, despite semi-retirement from the vigilante game, he hadn’t lost a step.

“I like him,” Mondo said, with an ear to ear grin. “He seems fun.”

Casey laughed and almost spilled his beer. “Every group always has that one guy that could make Charlie Brown look overconfident.”

Frank laughed, despite himself and told himself to calm down, that the people he was with were no rookies. Frank could tell that, despite their looks, despite their training, that they were dangerous. And Frank just felt happy that he was on their side.

“Sorry,” he said. “I just call it like I see it.”

Casey nodded and said; “Thanks for helping Raph when he needed you. Thanks for bringing him back.”

Frank could see that Raphael meant a lot to Casey, and he knew that even thought he was late to the party; he could count on any one of his new friends to be there for him when the time came.

“Don’t mention it.”

Casey leaned in and quietly said; “You know I’m still his best friend though, right?”

 

Nemee could tell that her husband, Frank, was nervous. The poor guy had been in so many fights in his thirty one years that you put him in a room, any room crowded with people, he would make sure to sit or stand somewhere with his back to a wall with the closest exit in plain sight. Now add to that that the majority of the crowd was a group of mutants, and it wouldn’t matter if they were friends, his survival instincts would kick in and he would begin to close himself off. She had to give him credit though; he was making a real effort to fit in. Drinking a beer and joking around was not something Frank did with just anyone. But they both knew how important this meeting was. They were here to help their friends, Mona and Raphael, and regardless of the opposition that may lie ahead, they were going to see to it that their friends, old and new, were safe.

Nemee on the other hand felt fantastic. Her whole life, she always stood out in a crowd, being a six foot tall woman would do that. Her habit for heavy weight training and boxing turns every head in every room. In all honesty, it made her feel self-conscious. Despite the truth, whenever people stared at her, it made her think that others were convinced that she was ugly. It made her think of her several foster parents calling her stupid and weak. It made her think of the scars on her face that were put there by very bad fake mothers and fathers before her powers kicked in during puberty. But being here, in the super-secret underground hideout of ninja mutants, she quietly reveled in the fact that she couldn’t turn any heads in this crowd.

Standing in the middle of a pretty impressive dojo, she could tell a lot about her new friends. They were tidy, which she loved, and it was obvious that family was priority number one around here. On the far wall, next to a small bedroom that was closed off, hung a large painting of the Turtles and their father, Splinter. Whoever had painted it must’ve loved comic books. The colors were vibrant and above the painted figures was a large title that read “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in bold, brick-red print. It was a beautiful painting and it made Nemee wonder if she could make a copy somehow. As she was wondering where the nearest Staples store was she felt a light tapping on her shoulder. She turned to see April O’Neil offering her a coffee.

April was something of a sister to the Turtles and there was a deep bond that Nemee picked up on almost immediately. And based on conversations that she had overheard earlier, that bond was tested slightly. April had recently quit her job at whatever hospital she was a nurse at. Apparently, she and her boyfriend/fiancé, Casey, were going to move upstate or close to it.  Nemee felt inspired by the loyalty that she saw here in just a few short hours. She vowed to live up to it.

“Thanks.” she said, accepting the steaming cup and drinking from it voraciously while gesturing towards the painting. “So, that’s Splinter, huh?”

Nemee noticed the small, pained expression on April’s face, an expression of loss that was so faint that she doubted that April noticed it. But regardless of that, Nemee felt terrible for bringing up an obviously sore subject.

Way to make friends, Nemee. Maybe next time you visit you can paint their walls pink and set fire to their car.

But, to Nemee’s surprise, April smiled and said; “Yes, that’s our father. His real name was Hamato Yoshi. He’s the one that trained the Turtles to fight.”

“You know, the first time I met Raphael, when he told me that his father was a rat, part of me thought that it was a metaphor.”

“Yeah, well, you can’t take anything at face value with this crew.”

Suddenly, a short, ball of bubbly energy ran into April and hugged her around her waist. The little girl was hugging April so tightly, that Nemee swore she saw April’s face turn a slight shade of blue.

“Hey Shadow.” April said, hugging her daughter in return. “What’s up?”

“Uncle Mike sent me to ask you what kind of toppings you would like on your pizza. We’ve been making dough for, like, an hour now and we’re all getting really hungry because somehow most of us went all day without eating anything, which is really strange because there’s a bunch of food in the kitchen and when I asked how it all got there, Uncle Mike told me that Metalhead bought food the day before we got back here. Which is weird because; how does a giant robot just go out and buy groceries without anyone noticing? Especially since Metalhead is a giant turtle robot. I mean, it doesn’t make sense!”

April was beside herself. Shadow spewed out words for almost thirty seconds straight and somehow made it sound like it was all one syllable. For being all of five years old, the girls seemed like she was an impressive linguist, but Nemee had seen this type of behavior before from Frank’s niece, Sammy, back home.

“Shadow, slow down…wait.” Nemee saw April start to realize what had happened. “Did you drink coffee today?”

Shadow’s smile was all the confirmation that they would need. “Yes, I asked Uncle Mike for some and when I got a little jittery, he gave me a can of Coke to calm me down.”

“What!? April asked/shouted as she turned and headed for the kitchen, but Shadows attention was fixed on Nemee now.

“You’re really big. Are you taller than your husband?”

Nemee smiled and suppressed a laugh when she answered.

“Yes I am, sweetie.”

“Does that make your husband feel inferior to you?”

“Well, you know a lot of words, don’t you?”

Shadow nodded and started to bounce on the balls of her feet slightly, looking as if she were going to explode at any moment. Fortunately, Nemee knew how to defuse situations as dangerous as these.

“Hey, Shadow, do you want to see something cool?”

Shadow nodded vigorously as Nemee walked over to the nearby bench press. Nemee quickly noticed that there was about three hundred and twenty five pounds on the bar. With one hand, Nemee grabbed the bar at its center and easily lifted it over head, singlehandedly. At that moment, she felt everyone’s eyes fixate on her as she set the weight down, gently on the rack and noticed Shadow had finally calmed down.

“Whoa.” The little girl said.

“I know, right?”

It looked like Shadow wanted to say more but they were cut off by April yelling from the kitchen.

“Michelangelo, I swear to God, if you give my daughter caffeine again, we will dine on turtle soup, mister!”

“I think you might want to check on your mom sweetie. She sounds like she’s about to go nuclear.”

Shadow went wide eyed and ran off into the kitchen. Nemee smiled and felt a small, welcoming ache in her chest as the little girl ran off to check for survivors. At that moment she felt a warm, familiar hand graze her shoulder and saw her husband Frank smiling at her.

“Hey.” He said.

Nemee smiled and gently wrapped her arms around her husband’s broad shoulders. Even though Nemee could switch her powers off when she wanted to, she was always careful when being this close to someone, as she was always afraid of forgetting to “power down”.

“Hi.”

“What are you thinking?” Frank asked.

“I want one.”

Nemee felt embarrassed by the admission, but also loved that she could confide in Frank with no fear of judgment or humiliation. It was the bedrock of their relationship, being honest.

“I know we haven’t talked about it much, and I know that this isn’t the time or place to, but…”

“I do to.” Frank interjected, and Nemee hugged him a little tighter.

“So, you’re strong?”

Frank and Nemee broke their hug short at the sound of Donatello speaking up. Nemee took a second to regain her composure and to tell the butterflies in her stomach to go away for now as she smiled and addressed Donatello.

“No Donnie, Frank is strong.” Nemee said, nudging her husband’s shoulder. “I am super strong.”

“You’re no mutant.”

“Nope.”

“Is your strength the result of some kind of experiment?”

“No.”

“Genetic testing?”

“Isn’t that an experiment?”

“Good point.”

“Listen, we could probably do this all day so let me give you the quick version. I got my powers from my mother. She was a demon named Null.”

If Donatello was surprised, he hid it well.

“Well, that’s not the craziest story. Is there anything else we should know?”

Nemee smiled and said; “Well, there’s this.”

With an audible cracking sound, like someone popping their knuckles, Nemee’s skin turned a deep gray and her eyes went completely white, like a shark biting into its prey.

“So, when you do that…” Donatello started

“I basically just turned on the Konami code. My skin is bullet proof and it’s really, really hard to hurt me. You might as well point me in the direction of these ninja-soldiers and enjoy the show.”

Nemee felt changed back into her normal self when Donatello nodded and looked over at Frank.
“And you, Frank; You have any crazy, demon powers that we should know about?”

Frank shook his head. “No. I’m a soldier Donatello. I don’t need superpowers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja Turtles: Punishment

Part 9

In the dojo of the Turtles home, a lone figure tested his strength under a single bare bulb.

 

Eight…Nine…Ten!
Raphael replaced the weights on the rack and sat up from the bench. Today was going to be a good day, he could feel it.

The blood pumping trough his veins and muscles woke up a bit more. Looking at the bar and nodding at the three hundred and forty pounds made him feel a sense of accomplishment that had been escaping him for these last few days. Raphael knew that with his family back together, despite the loss of their father, they could handle anything. But he felt at a loss lately. It was more than Leonardo being gone, and it was more than Splinter being murdered. A part of him knew that Leonardo was going to come back. And even though the pain of losing their father would never go away completely, it would become something that he could live with. In truth, Raphael knew since the moment that he saw Leo sitting with Karai in the tunnels yesterday; he knew that everything and everyone that they loved would be alright. Somehow, despite the odds or opposition, despite the weight of know that Leonardo had murdered doctor Craig, Raphael knew that they would be okay, sooner or later.

Hearing that Leonardo had actually killed someone seemed like an impossible lie. Leonardo carried a pair of swords into every battle they had ever fought, and he had only taken a life once.  It was five years ago, when they had thought that the Shredder had returned, but that was a long time ago, and it was to save the lives of his brothers and countless others.  However, Leo’s meeting with Dr. Craig had been different; Leonardo had killed the doctor with is bare hands…He even confided that he wanted to kill him.  It could have been an accident, but Raph was fairly certain it was a meaningful action. Leo said he realized only after his hands were already bloody, that he had made a mistake. It was a feeling that Raphael had known all too well: Rage. A long time ago, he had someone’s life in his grasp as well. He can still remember the chill that ran up his spine when he realized what he had done. But he had crossed a line, and accepted it instantly. Knowing that he could be a killer was just something that he had accepted. But Leonardo was no killer and dealing with the rage was new to him whereas Raphael had had his whole life to learn how to grow with his anger and handle the repercussions of his actions. Raphael knew that his brother, their leader, would need a long time, and plenty of support to come back from this. And he vowed to be the first shoulder available for his brother to lean on.

Raphael whipped sweat from his brow and laid back on the bench, preparing to press the weights again, when suddenly, a chill came over him, creeping from his shoulders, down his shell and through his legs. The chill raked across his bones and bored through them, resting and slithering through his system all at the same time.

“You shouldn’t push yourself so hard, Raphael.” A familiar voice rang out from all sides of the dojo. The voice came from the walls, and at the same time, seemed to come from Raphael’s own mind.

He shot up from the bench, muscles tense and ready to strike. But he composed himself when he saw the Rat King standing before him.

“And why not?” Raphael responded, trying to sound calm. He knew that he had no reason to fear the Rat King. There was no way to fight a spirit. Besides, if the Rat King had wanted Raphael dead, he wouldn’t have wasted time talking. Still, he knew that he was severely outmatched here, and he was hoping that the unwanted visitor was only here to talk.

“You remember my warning Raphael?” the Rat King spoke softly, confidently as he walked towards Raphael. His long legs took strides so great that he was across the dojo in only a few steps. The last time Raphael knew, the dojo was fifty feet long. The Rat King was mere feet away and the bare bulb that hung lifelessly in the middle of the room, almost seemed to dim in the man’s presence. If Raphael had to guess, he would say that Rat King was around nine feet tall and maybe a hundred and fifty pounds. But he couldn’t tell you what he looked like exactly. The Rat King’s entire face and most of his body was wrapped in a crude mixture of gauze, surgical tape and cloth bandages. The gaunt man’s mouth and fingers were the only parts of him that were exposed to the light. Yellow, moldy looking teeth hid behind cracked, semi-bleeding lips. When Raphael looked at him, he fought the urge to vomit where he stood. But, he steeled himself and looked the Rat King’s eyes must be.

“You told me dark times are coming. What else is new?”

“I wouldn’t be so flippant if I were you.”

“Yeah, well, you’re not me. You’re not a mutant, you’re no man. You are not even alive. So why don’t you just say what you want to say, and leave.”

The Rat King smiled and almost chuckled. It was not a comforting sound. His laugh sounded as if two rusty cans had been thrown down a gravel road.

“Quite lively today, aren’t you?”

Raphael clutched his fists and looked to the floor, not wanting to stare at Rat King’s blank face any more. Leonardo’s bleeding lifeless body lay limp on the cold ground. Raphael shut his eyes tight and ignored the single tear that fell down his cheek.

“Time is running out Raphael.” Rat King’ voice came from behind Raphael, and when he opened his eyes, it was a bloodbath at his feet. Everyone one he had known and loved lay dead at his feet. Not only Leonardo, but Mikey, Donnie, April held her lifeless daughter in her arms. Casey Jones lay on the floor, blood slowly oozing from underneath his mask. Venus, Mondo and Ace lay dead and cold in the distance. Nemee sat bleeding to death as she whimpered, cradling her long dead husband, Frank, in her arms. Metalhead lay in pieces, scattered this way, and that. Finally, as Raphael fell to his knees in anguish, he found Mona in his arms, struggling to breathe.

“Mona!” Her eyes were hallow and void of any life as the green of her adorable scales seemed sapped with color. She was fading fast and Raphael knew that there was nothing that he could do but accept that he was alone. Mona reached up grasped his hand.

“You…” she croaked, her voice gurgled as she struggled with her warning. “You…can’t…save us.”

Raphael opened his eyes again and found that he wasn’t in the dojo any more. He hadn’t been in there since the previous morning.

“Raph…”

He was in bed, in his room; the room that he and Mona had shared for months now. Their bed was warm as he looked to take in his surroundings.

“Raphael!” Mona called out, she looked deep into his eyes and placed her hands gently on his cheeks, caressing his face to get his attention.

“Raphael, it’s okay. You’re safe.”

Raphael only now realized that he had actually been crying and tried to ignore it. He looked back at Mona and buried his head in her chest. Her strong heartbeat calmed his nerves and reminded him that he was awake now. The scent of her skin, the scent of honey, overtook his senses and relaxed him as he caught his breath.

“Raphael,” Mona said again, calmer now, and full of love. “It was Rat King again, wasn’t it?”

“Yes.”

Just over a month ago, Rat King had visited Raphael and had given him a warning of his future; somehow showing him that Leonardo was going to die.

“Something tells me that I don’t want to meet him.”

“I hope you don’t.”

Raphael hugged Mona, careful not to hurt her, but tight enough to tell her that he needed her. He had never known what it was like to be alone until he had met her over a year ago. He had never known what it meant to truly need someone in his life.

“Mona, I think something really bad is going to happen.”

He could feel Mona nodding with her head still buried in his chest.

“I know.” Mona looked up and gazed into her love’s eyes, letting him know that everything would be okay. “When the crap hits the fan, I will be here with you; fighting.”

Raphael looked at Mona, sheepishly, silently wondering what the hell was going to happen next; and knowing that, despite his own fears of what unknowns lay ahead, that today was going to be a good day.

Raphael smiled and said: “I love you, Mona.”

“I love you too.”

 

Water was dripping from some unknown source. Every day, for years now, Leonardo had been awoken by a faint “drip-drip-drip” sound from somewhere within the lair, just minutes before his alarm clock would bring him into a new day. He thought he would grow used to the sound, but still it awoke him. Leonardo was lying on his side as he looked up at the stone ceiling remembering the last time he woke up in his old bed, a morning that felt as though it happened a decade ago. It wasn’t that long ago though, it was Thanksgiving and he and his brothers were about to go for a run, a race really. Loser had to wash dishes after dinner at April and Casey’s apartment. But today, back in reality, there were no dishes to wash. There was no Thanksgiving feast, no smoked turkey or deep-dish pizza…April and Casey’s apartment wasn’t even there anymore.

As Leonardo lay awake in bed, despite a full night’s sleep, the first he had had in a long while, he felt drained, empty, and full of remorse. He could almost feel the hole that had opened in his heart from not acting like the leader everyone thought he was. Last Thanksgiving was also the first time they had faced the Dominators, a para-military group that had been torturing Leo and his family for just over two years now. They had moved behind the scenes, murdering their friends and experimenting on innocent people by forcing mutation on them and removing vital organs for reasons that, at the time, were unknown. Looking back on it now, if he could, Leonardo would laugh at their incredibly bad luck. It turns out that the Dominators were just a front for an old enemy from their past; an ancient group of ninja called the Foot clan. For the moment, their enemies were being led by two people: an enigmatic figure called Hun, apparent leader of the Foot, and Oroku Ryu, son of the Shredder.

But right now, none of that mattered to Leonardo because, they had been hurt badly within the last month, more so than ever before. During a savage and bloody street fight with the Dominators, their father, Master Splinter, gave his life defending his sons. And Leonardo, to this day, didn’t know how to accept that. No one had ever thought that Splinter could be defeated. It would have been easier to disprove gravity than defeat their father in combat. But, here Leo was, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, while his father lay buried in Northampton.

“Did you sleep well?”

A familiar voice called out from the opposite side of the room, and Leonardo sat up, shaking the last remnants of sleep from his bones. He looked across the room and saw his friend Myamoto Usagi, seated in the lotus position on Raphael’s old bed. Usagi was a trusted friend and Leonardo felt great comfort in seeing his friend again after so long. In his world, Usagi was a Yojimbo, a bodyguard, in what is believed to be the Edo period of Japan. The world he comes from was very different from the one Leonardo called home. In the rabbit’s world, animals had evolved to the top of the food chain instead of humans. Leonardo envied the constant calm and almost eerie stillness that Usagi maintained. It was clear that he could still learn a lot from his friend. But right now, Leonardo didn’t want to talk about sleep, even though he knew he was going to have to.

Laying back and staring at the ceiling again, Leo said: “Not as well as I’d liked. But you already knew that, didn’t you?”

Usagi nodded. “You were calling out for help in your sleep. I stayed here to make sure you did not…injure yourself.”

“Thank you.”

“Tell me what’s going on, my friend.”

The hole in Leonardo’s heart started to fill with embarrassment. He felt like a child suffering with bad dreams, begging a parent to protect them while they slept. Being afraid to close your eyes at night was a terrible, indescribable fear. Leonardo thought back to the nightmare he had the previous night, the one that he was trying with all his might to ignore.

“You know what I did yesterday? You know about Doctor Craig?”

Again, Usagi nodded. “Yes.” He said, and Leonardo could tell that there wasn’t a hint of judgment in his voice. Usagi had been told what they were up against. He knew that the things the doctor had done were deplorable. Evil. Leonardo could tell that his friend thought that he had done the right thing. Not that that had made him feel any better about murdering a man.

“I was right back there, in Craig’s lab. I had my hands around his throat and I stole the life from him. But when I released my grip, I saw my father on the floor. I saw that I was responsible for his death. And then, when I looked up, I saw everyone that I had killed by not acting sooner. I saw my friends; I saw family that is no longer here because I wanted to hide, instead of act.”

Usagi was silent for a long moment. So long in fact that Leonardo had wondered if he were in the room at all.

“Your father’s death was not your fault, Leonardo.”

“You weren’t there. You didn’t see his broken body in my arms.”

“Master Splinter was a warrior. And warriors’ very seldom get the privilege to die peacefully in their sleep.”

“Then what about our friends Usagi? What about Ray, or Garson and Joe? Why did Candy or Slash have to die? They weren’t warriors; they were outcasts that found a home here. They were mutants that looked to me for protection and I…”

“You did all that you could. Whatever mistakes you feel you have made, you can’t let that define you. If you do that, you will lose sight of what is ahead of you, and you will fall.”

Leonardo sat back up and focused on Usagi who was still seated calmly, staring at the far wall in Leo’s room; staring at everything and nothing, all at once.

“Usagi, what would you have me do? My family is out there, right now, in the next room, expecting a leader, and all I’ve done for them is slowly let them die off. Like a diseased limb. So what do I do?”

Usagi finally looked at Leonardo and calmly said; “I would have you stop this punishment that you’re subjecting yourself to, Leonardo. All you have done so far has been in your family’s best interest. Maybe you have made mistakes, and maybe it has caused more death than peace, but honestly ask yourself, is there anything that you could’ve done differently?”

Leonardo looked down and could think of only one thing that he wished he could take away. Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with the death of his father, or friends.

“I suppose I didn’t have to kill the doctor. I was trained to be a ninja, a protector. Not an executioner.”

Usagi stood up and sat at the edge of his friend’s bed and waited for Leonardo to look at him. Leo sat up and knew that he was being foolish.

“Leonardo, your brothers told me about Doctor Craig. He stood by, while children were taken from their parents and had experiments done upon them. He was a man who had a hand in the death of over two dozen innocent mutants and humans; a man who desecrated the dead. You say you’re a murderer, I’d say you did what was necessary. A man like Doctor Craig would not have stopped otherwise.”

“Then why do I feel so guilty?”

“Because, right now, you feel as if you are no better than our enemy…”

CRASH

The wall behind Leonardo and Usagi exploded inward and they we sent to the floor. Leonardo tried to push himself up but felt him being picked up by a massive hand. He grabbed at it and felt abrasive skin digging into his own. He was lifted up and he saw the massive thing that had broken into his home. The creature was a giant humanoid shark, resembling a great white. The sharks hand clutched at Leonardo, his hand wrapping around his whole chest, and in one quick motion, Leonardo was taken into the shark’s jaws…

“No!” Leonardo heard Usagi call out. But it was too late. The massive shark’s jaws had come down onto Leonardo, biting into his chest and shell, leaving ragged holes of muscle and blood in their wake.

 

Leonardo was tossed out into the lair. His bloody form rested near the stairs of the main entrance. He could feel the blood pouring out of his chest and spilling onto the floor underneath him. He could feel himself dying. All he could do now was look at the blood on the floor and think of how much he could have done different if he had only acted sooner. Maybe if he had just stayed in Northampton and formed a plan with his family, maybe things would be different right now.

As the room started to blur in front of him, as he heard his brothers shouting and fighting the creature that had invaded their home, Leonardo saw a pair of black boots walk past him, and stop mere inches from him. He looked up and saw a hooded figure turn to face him. The figure was a woman wearing a red a black mask. Leonardo recognized her instantly from the picture Doctor Craig had in his files.

“Hun…” he croaked.

Hun knelt down and pulled her hood back and short black hair draped the mask she wore. She brought up her hand and tossed Leonardo’s missing blue bandana onto his bleeding chest.

“I won’t need this anymore.” She said, her voice was smooth, and even though it seemed she was using some kind of voice modulator, it almost sounded familiar to Leonardo.

How

Leonardo reached up for Hun’s mask but she batted his hand away as if he were as harmless as a fly. She reached for her mask and pulled it away from her face, and Leonardo felt his heart break as Karai revealed herself.

“This is for my father.” She said.

Leonardo saw her reach for a gun she had holstered on her hip. Leonardo tried to reach for it first, but his arms were too heavy, and they would not listen to him. The last thing he saw as Karai pressed the gun into the side of his head was Raphael from across the room. He was fighting ninja that resembled the Foot clan. They must have come with Karai, but it didn’t matter now. Leonardo saw his brother trying to run for him, he was trying to save him, and Leonardo silently thanked him for always loving him.

Leonardo could almost hear Karai’s finger squeeze the trigger, and then he heard nothing at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fan-made writing for fans of all things TMNT.

 

 

 

 

TMNT Punishment

Epilogue

 

Ryu opened his eyes and felt a sudden pang of disappointment wash over him. Yesterday had been possibly the worst day of his life. Yesterday, his grandmother, Lady Miyoko was murdered. What was worse was that he had heard it happen over the phone. Nothing could describe the utter helplessness that he had felt crawl over his body as he heard his grandmother breathe her last breath. As he ran for her apartment, he tried to tell himself that she would be okay, that he was overreacting. Nothing was wrong, she had fallen over, that was all. Sure, taking a fall at her age could be very traumatic, but it was something that was surmountable. She could, she would, recover. She was too strong, too proud to be murdered in her own home.

But today, lying in a bed that wasn’t his, in a room that was foreign to him, he knew the truth. His grandmother was dead, and she would never come back. Perhaps it was his own doing. Maybe it was karma or something of the like. Maybe, had Ryu declined Hun’s offer, Karai’s offer, to take revenge against the Turtles, maybe his grandmother would be alive right now.

Karai, now there was a punch to the gut. Ryu rolled over and stared blankly out of a window not six feet away from him. The calm waters and the bright city lights of the nearby Manhattan Island calmed his nerves slightly. Being on Burnow Island seemed like looking at the world through keyhole. Only glimpsing at what the rest of the world was doing.

Hun was the “leader” of the Dominators. The Dominators were a group of heavily armed thugs and mercenaries that were paid to work with Hun and Oroku Ryu to eliminate the Turtles. Their plan, so to speak, was to eliminate the friends, associates and family members of the Turtles. Hun came to Ryu with a plan to not just take revenge on the Turtles, but to break them. In reality, the Dominators were nothing more than a façade. A Poor joke meant only to cover the actions of the Foot Clan. And Hun wanted to use Ryu in her plan for vengeance for the death of her father Oroku Saki, the Shredder.

And Hun was just his sister Karai playing dress up.

When Ryu learned the truth of his “boss”, he was not angered or upset, he felt not pity of shame; he felt relief. Relief in seeing that, after losing both a father that he never knew and a grandmother who was possibly the most important person in his world, he took solace in the knowledge that he wasn’t alone in this world. He knew next to nothing of his sister, other than the fact that she was an unrivaled warrior.  Over the last few hours, he had talked to her for the first time in his life and he found that his sister didn’t seem to take much joy in what she was doing. She seemed to be annoyed with the constant fighting and setbacks. But was she, part of her plan was befriending the Turtles and their associates. But was it all an act? Over the last five years, had she developed feelings for her enemies?

Ryu sat up in bed, he was sick of wondering about who his family was and the whether their campaign against the Turtles was right. Right now, he just wanted to try and relax. He wanted to work out, have a hot shower and eat a hearty breakfast. He wanted to walk around Manhattan and just get lost for a long while. He didn’t want to leave, he just wanted to ignore his past for right now.  Ryu got out of bed and turned on a light. Noticing that it was still very dark outside and snowing lightly.

The room he was in was small, nothing more than a modified patient room in the first floor of the Peter Eastman Memorial Hospital. The hospital had long since been abandoned but the Foot clan had owned the land that where the hospital stood, giving them free reign to operate as they please. Ryu looked out his window again and decided that he would take a day and really focus on himself, something he hadn’t done in years. He would leave the island and just wander.

When he saw the letter on his bedside table; he knew that he probably wasn’t going to go anywhere.

The slim envelope had his name written on it. He didn’t know when it was placed there, but he had the sinking suspicion that someone had snuck into his room while he slept, which only mildly unnerved him.

He sighed heavily and sat down on his bed, taking the envelope into his hand, wondering how many more surprises he could take.

He opened the letter and read carefully:

Brother-

I just want to tell you how happy it makes me feel to finally talk to you; like taking a breath after coming up from under water. Perhaps that sounds dramatic to you, but, you have no idea how many times I have looked at a phone or a computer and thought about trying to just say “hello” to you. But I never did because our father asked me to leave you out of this life. I asked me to contact you only if I could approach you as a sister, and not a warrior. He never wanted you to know what it felt like to choose to take a person’s life. For years, I obeyed our father’s request, out of respect for him, and out of my desire to keep you safe. Obviously, I found a way around his request; using the very history of our family’s clan. Yes, Hun was merely a part that I played, but only so I could keep my word and still have you in my life.

The letter continued.

I’m sorry, brother, for all of the secrets and subterfuge. I am sorry that I made a killer out of you. And I am sorry that I couldn’t keep our grandmother safe. Lady Miyoko didn’t deserve to die, but our enemies, the Turtles, brought this upon us. Her death just proves to me that our father was right about shielding you from this life. But it also proves how much you mean to me, Ryu. It proves how much I want to keep you safe.

So, I want to offer you a choice Ryu. It seems t me that you weren’t given many choices in this life. Our father decided how you would be raised. Our grandmother decided that you would learn to fight. And I decided who you would fight; and that doesn’t seem fair to me. I want you to know that our war with the Turtles was my choice. Know that while you are reading this, I am fighting the Turtles. I am sorry that I didn’t tell you I was leaving, but I will return soon. I promise.

So, I know that you were planning on leaving. I know that your friend William, and Lady Miyoko had told you that leaving was alright, and I agree. So if you still wish to leave, then go. I promise that I will not pursue you if you go. Just promise me that you will stay safe. But if you decided to stay with me and our clan, then go to my room across the hall and look behind my bookshelf. There is something there that you should see.

If you are still here when I return, then thank you, but if you leave, know that everything will be alright.

I love you, brother.

-Karai.

 

Ryu placed the letter down on the bedside table. Rising from his bed, dressing quickly and walking out of his room, he made his choice. There was a part of him that wanted to just turn his back on his past. But something about meeting his sister for the first time made him want to stay. Perhaps in time, he could make up for his transgressions. Perhaps murder wouldn’t be his legacy. Besides, his sister was out there fighting right now, she needed him.

As he walked across the hall to Karai’s room, he found that he strode with a newfound confidence that made him know that he was making the right decision. He would not simply be known as a murderer. Oroku Ryu stood in front of his sister’s doorway, and as he pushed the door open, he accepted his new lot in life.

Karai’s room was sparsely furnished, containing only the barest of essentials. A twin-sized bed, a small dresser, and on the far wall, opposite the doorway where Ryu stood, was a large bookshelf that looked to be well over six feet. Several large books, mostly in Japanese, about art and medicine lined the shelves from bottom to top. With the exception of the shelf that was in line with Ryu’s chest. That shelf was bare, save for a picture that Ryu had never seen before. The picture, resting in a simple wooden frame, showed a Japanese man who looked to be around his mid-fifties, his hair slightly graying around the temples. The man had a small scar just under his left eye that looked ragged. It suddenly hit Ryu that he was looking at a picture of his father.

Ryu lowered his gazed, and wondered if he would ever feel like that man, despite being dead for years, would ever truly be gone. But when he looked at the floor, to the right of the bookshelf, he noticed well-worn groves set deep into the concrete floor.

Great, he thought, that’s all this place needs, is a trap door.

Ryu pushed the shelf to the right, but it didn’t budge. He tried again, leaning into the bookshelf with his should and as much of his weight as he could muster, but it was useless. The shelf wasn’t moving.

If there was a secret doorway behind a bookshelf, why tell me about it and not tell me how to open it?

In desperation, Ryu reached out for the picture of his father. Grabbing it by the frame and asking:

“Tell me what to do, Shredder.”

But as Ryu pulled the picture from the shelf, he saw that it was attached to a heavy-looking metal cable that ran into the shelf itself. He could hear locks readjusting from within the wall, and after a moment of silence, the bookshelf slowly slid across the floor revealing a doorway at the head of a descending set of stairs leading down a dimly lit hallway.

“Okay,” Ryu said, thinking aloud. “Not just a trap door, but a secret doorway, possibly leading to a creepy, unknown facility that resides underneath an abandoned hospital on an island cut off from society; why not?”

Ryu shook his head and crossed the doorway’s threshold. After descending halfway down the staircase, something caught his attention. It was a faint beeping sound. It lured Ryu to the bottom of the stairs where a large, sturdy looking metal door stood. Unlike the bookshelf above, the door opened freely and Ryu stepped into a massive room that was flooded with a filtered green light from a couple dozen computer monitors. As Ryu stepped inside the room, automated lights clicked on and illuminated the entire room. Inside the room, Ryu felt his heart plummet into his stomach.

Lining the right side of the room was massive cylinder that housed what looked like a surgical bed that was lying in an upward position. Strapped to the bed was a mutant that Ryu had thought was long since dead. Scratch was a human that had been mutated using the DNA of a common house cat. He was a thief once, a common bank robber. He lay on the bed, green eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. Karai had told Ryu that his body was disposed of by her Purple Dragons, with the cover story of burying them him a secure location that only she and the Turtles knew of. Why lie about that?

“Who’s there?”

A deep and powerful sounding voice called out from the end of the room, startling Ryu. He looked forward and found an operating table with a man sitting upright on it, feet dangling over the edge. The man was draped in heavy shadows with long tubes attached to his back, shoulders, legs and one on his neck, slowly feeding a familiar looking purple fluid directly into his body.

Antigen, Ryu thought.

“I will not ask you again,” the man called out, looking directly at Ryu. “Come forward.”

Ryu knew he had never heard the voice before, but something about this man seemed vaguely familiar. It was both off-putting and intriguing all at the same time. Cautiously, Ryu stepped forward. The man seemed to be one with the darkness of the back of the room. Despite the lights pouring from above, the man on the table seemed to pull the light from the room and cover himself in darkness. As Ryu found the strength to look at the man in eye, he felt his heart rate flutter with a mixture of fear, surprise and, oddly, relief when he saw who he was. There was a reason he was so familiar to Ryu, and as the man stood up from the table and walked towards him, Ryu was at a loss, shocked beyond belief. The man was tall, taller than Ryu, and broad, well-muscled yet lean. His black hair was slicked back, and the scar under his left eye proved the man’s identity. If nothing else, the man held a strong resemblance to Ryu.  The man’s gaze softened slightly as Ryu walked towards him.

“Father..?”

A father reached for his son, and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Ryu,” Oroku Saki said. “My son.”

 

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