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Scampercat101

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  1. Chapter 8: Line is Cast. “Snell? I know who that is!!” As one, all the others on the rooftop turned to face her in curiosity. “He’s a local billionaire, owns a huge corporation. Half of his profit goes into funding R&D for new products to help the public, and people as a whole.” Here, she turned to look at the blue figure from the docks, whom she’d previously been battling. “That time you were picking up supplies at the harbor but everyone thought you were stealing them at first - I was shipping a bunch of things to Snell that day! The day you leapt off the boat! I remember exactly where his main lab is. If nothing else, we can see what he’s up to!” One by one, the others all began agreeing that this was a good idea, though the two resident hotheads were grumbling about having to be on one team, shooting glares at each other. Splinter nodded at April to lead the way, and she did so, turning to where she remembered Snell’s lab being and quickly setting out, the others following closely. After a few minutes, her former opponent pulled up beside her and matched her pace. “Name’s Hahli.” she said out of the blue, no pun intended. It took April a while to respond, startled as she was by the Hahli’s sudden willingness to socialize. “I’m April.” “So, a shipping business, huh?” April nodded. “Yeah, ‘Oneil Overseas Transport.’ It’s one of the smaller companies that docks here in NYC. But because of that, more pay comes from each delivery since our employers know we’ll have fewer shipments to keep track of, and more focus for each one.” “Overseas? What type of craft do you captain?” The human laughed at that. “I’m not actually the one captaining it. I just focus on keeping tabs on whatever I’m shipping, so that it gets to whoever ordered it safe and sound. Our lil’ company currently owns one standard cargo ship, no more, no less.” “‘Our’?” Hahli looked back towards where Casey was following them. “You run it alongside the other human back there?” “Yep. Casey usually just focuses on loading the cargo into our truck once the shipment gets here, and then drives it where it needs to go.” “Something tells me that’s all you’re really willing to trust him with!” They both laughed at that, glad to have something to find humor in after all their recent worry. Casey himself looked toward them at the laughter, along with the figure next to him, the one he’d collided with at the park. “What’s with them?” the human wondered aloud. “Not a clue.” his former foe replied. “I take it you’re into your planet’s sports?” “Huh?” he said, confused, then noticed that the stranger’s gaze was aimed at the hockey sticks and baseball bats he carried. “Oh! Oh. Yeah, I’m pretty into them. Not really obsessed, but I still root for the better of the two teams whenever I catch a game of some sport or another.” “Y’know, I actually used to be a pretty good Kohlii player back home.” “Co-Lee? What’s that?” The stranger chuckled, amused. “Kohlii. K-O-H-L-I-I. It’s the sport we had back home. All six villages - back when we still were in villages - had a team of two players that competed in matches for them. It was really fun. Who knows? Maybe I can teach you some time!” Casey smiled. “Then, after that, good ol’ Casey Jones here will teach you one of the sports of this planet. Is that a good trade… uh…” “The name’s Hewkii.” Between them and the girls, Donatello had fallen into step beside the dark-hued, spike-headed figure he had realized had been the one to hack his computer. “I’m going to want my scout-bot back, you know.” Somehow, the stranger was startled enough that he jumped up and hovered before landing again, a sheepish smile on his face. “Um… about that. I kinda got bored recently and dismantled it…. It was certainly an interesting challenge, though!” The purple-masked turtle was too surprised to be mad. “You dismantled it? Out of boredom?” Here he shook his head, continuing. “I knew you could hack, but I didn’t know you could work with the actual hardware behind what you hacked! What’s your name, anyway?” “Nuparu. And what can I say? I’ve always been an inventor!” “Nice to know you, Nuparu. I’m Donatello. An inventor, huh? What kind of stuff do you make?” “All kinds. One of my inventions actually saved a good portion of our home island about one or two thousand years back.” “WOAH-Woah-woah-wait. One or two thousand years?!” the turtle exclaimed, caught off-guard. “Exactly how old are you guys?!” “Well, I can’t remember exactly how many years old each of us is, just what range we’re all in and what order our ages go in. Right now, we’re all in the range of nine-thousand years to ten-thousand years, except for Mata Nui, who’s somewhere in the millions. I know Matoro’s the only one of the rest of us who’s passed the 9,500 mark, though Jaller’s not far behind him and Hahli’s close on Jaller’s tail. Kongu’s the youngest, that I remember. I think I’m just a few decades older than Hewkii, but I know we’re both pretty far behind Hahli.” After that, their talk became much more scientific, confusing to all but them. This whole time, Michaelangelo had been using the taller rooftops next to the figure he knew to have tripped him, biding his time. At last, he saw his chance, and leapt down in front of the emerald figure, yelling “BOO!” and making a silly face. The effect was immediate - the figure stumbled and even yelped, quickly regaining his footing, but still holding his hand over the glowing crystal in his chest as he recovered from the scare. “Got ya back for tripping me at the skate park!” Mikey cackled, happy to have gotten the stranger back for the prank he pulled. The stranger chuckled, and replied, “Alright, I admit, I kinda deserved-earned that. You got me.” Why did you clump two words together just now?” “It’s tree-speak. All Le-Matoran and Le-Toa use-apply it!” “Huh. Kinda how I use some skater lingo and New York phrases!” Splinter and the mentor of the strangers looked around, noting that the two groups were getting along quite well - other than a certain two in red headgear. “It seems they are finally tying their links to give the chain the strength it needs.” the rat of the two commented, glad about this fact. “Indeed. Though like charges aimed at each other repel, aiming together, side by side, nothing can withstand them.” “How did their team come to form, exactly? What convinced you to mentor them?” “To tell the truth, were it not for them, I would not be alive and able to say these words. They became the tall warriors you see before you when they left to find a way to prevent my death, at a time when I had no tangible form to stand alongside them in. The one who was captured, Matoro, is the one who I truly owe my life to. He gave up his life so his life-force could jumpstart mine, and while I did manage to return the favor in part, he did so willingly and without being aware he would ever come back. He’s been a strong leader to them, even managing to snuff out Jaller’s temper, a feat that I have yet to manage. He never blames others for accidents, more often blaming himself. Without him, the team was falling into turmoil, Jaller becoming reckless and no leader being decided upon.” “He sounds much like Leonardo. When I sent Leonardo away to train in isolation for some time and forbade his brothers to seek crime to fight above the surface, they grew apart. Raphael disobeyed me and took up an alternate persona, the “Nightwatcher”, acting as vigilante all night and then sleeping throughout the day back home. Michaelangelo took up the nickname “Cowabunga Carl” and tried to earn extra money and occupy his time providing party services at children’s birthdays, though he often came home with too many bruises to count. Donatello stayed entirely in the sewers at home, working over the phone as technical support. When Leo did, at last, return home, Raphael became even more rebellious. Leonardo eventually discovered exactly who “Nightwatcher” was, and Raphael fought him out of anger, having felt deserted by his brother. He ended up becoming captured, and although Leonardo was brought home safely, all throughout the rescue and ever since, Raphael has been much more protective of his family. I fear that the past may repeat itself if Leonardo is not found.” “Jaller felt similarly when Matoro had to give up his life. At the time, Jaller was in the role of leader, and before he became a Toa, Matoro wasn’t all too significant a Matoran - at least, not that he thought. He didn’t have as much athletic or combat experience as the others, and because of that, Jaller had immediately felt that it was his role to protect him, and he had failed by letting Matoro die. Ever since then, Jaller’s always been one of, if not the first to come to Matoro’s aid in battle or danger.” “Jaller” chose that moment to yell from behind, “How exactly do we know that we’ll find them at Snell’s place?” Mata Nui, as the golden figure had revealed his name to be earlier as they had returned to the rooftop, replied, “Snell recently broadcast over news networks that he’s going to mass-produce protodermis. The only endless source of protodermis is a Toa who conjures it inside their element, and the only one of those unaccounted for is Matoro!”
  2. Chapter 7: Baited Hook Three days. It had been three days since they had last seen their blue-masked brother. Three days since the searching, frantic and worried, began. The three remaining Turtles, along with Splinter, Casey, and April, were becoming desperate. There wasn’t an avenue, boulevard, road, street, or parkway that they hadn’t been up and down at least ten times. For the first time in a year, Splinter had actually left the sewers, the worry for his eldest son strengthening. Each day, he willingly took to the city above and, with his mastered stealth, searched for Leonardo until the sun no longer oversaw their city. Each day, he came back, spirits sunk. April and Casey had been searching dumpsters for every newspaper they could get, watching for a headline that could give them a lead to take and run with. Nothing. Leonardo might as well have never been, for all the city showed it. Once more, they were in the sewers after their day and night of search, with no lead to go by… or so they thought, until Splinter spoke up. “I had hoped I was wrong, but it seems there is no other way. Leonardo, to my knowledge, is missing due to the metal figures that have plagued our steps.” Everyone looked his way, Raphael replying with, “Those metal freaks? What would they want with Leo? They’ve never even spared him a glance, unlike the rest of us.” “That is not so. The night before the day we last saw him, he told me a figure that we had not yet seen had been observing him. The entire time, the figure always made its presence known, but never sought conflict until the third encounter. Leo told me that, that night, the stranger challenged him to a battle of blades, at the same time the next evening. I told him he should be careful, but it seems even he was unprepared.” Splinter’s eyes shone with fatherly anger at the thought of his son being harmed enough to not return. “We must finish the fight justly, for Leonardo’s sake. We must take the fight to them.” He turned to his purple-masked son, asking sharply, “Donatello, you have the location of their domicile, correct?” Donatello nodded, though surprised at his sensei’s change in demeanor, and turned to face his computer, rapidly typing away. Splinter turned to face the two present humans next. “I suggest you two don the weapons and armor you did last time Leo needed our aid. If they brought us victory once, they shall do so again.” They nodded and immediately left, hastening to their apartment. •••••••• An hour was all it had taken. Now they raced over the rooftops of their city. Their city. Not the city of metal invaders. First come, first served. That was the rule. It was time the strangers learned this. Their anger at their family’s wound was propelling them over great distance quickly, turning them to vengeful shadows leaping by in a blink’s span. Nothing hurt one of them without hurt to itself. The cardinal family rule. And, apparently, the strangers were deliberate in their defiance. Six shapes were charging to meet them, nothing but gleams on armor traveling swiftly. Splinter, at the head of the pack, let his paternal anger rise for a rare chance, eagerly increasing his speed, determined to teach the invaders a lesson. Ignoring the lack of the figure Leo had dueled, he brought his staff forward to meet the gleaming silver sword the gold figure before him had swung. Two families fought, to avenge their loss. Two families remained unaware of the mirror they stared into. Those who had met as strangers fought. In the blink of an eye, time blurred by his anger, Splinter found himself cornering his opponent at the edge, staff locked with both of the stranger’s weapons. His paternal strength gave its bit one final tug, and his foe went crashing to the street below, in front of the display of an electronics store. He followed in stealthy pursuit, silently taking the fire-escapes to reach the street below. As his opponent rose, unknowing, to his feet, its odd helm glowed and shocked the televisions in the window to life, displaying a news story. What surprised him, however, was his golden foe’s sudden and rapt attention to the screens, glowing eyes brightening, even going so far as to utter something under his breath. Confused, but certain his opponent had not seen him, he stepped out of the shadows and said, “I knew that those could addict humans of all ages. I was unaware it applied to aliens as well, to the point where they would abandon a heated battle!” “Usually, this wouldn’t be the case… but I have discovered that our battle is in vain. You are not responsible for Matoro’s disappearance.” the figure replied. “Matoro?” the rat questioned aloud. “I was unaware that one of your group has vanished. Is that why you met us to battle? You blamed us for it?” “Indeed.” “How strange. Our family, too, has lost one of its seven: Leonardo. I thought that, perhaps, since the last thing I knew him to have done was duel one of you, his opponent and said opponent’s kin were to blame.” “Would ‘Leonardo’ happen to be the only one of you whose mask is blue?” the figure questioned. “Matoro told me he had challenged such a reptile to a duel to better understand it.” “Why, yes! And would ‘Matoro’ happen to have challenged his opponent atop the Washington Square Arch?!” “Precisely!” “But what did the broadcast show you that made you come to your senses?” Splinter asked, gesturing with his head to the still-on televisions. “A man was televising the fact that he had discovered a way to mass-produce a substance called ‘protodermis’, which I recognized at once. It’s a substance native to our world, and the only way it could be found on this one would be to harvest it from certain elements conjured by the Toa. The only Toa on the planet now are myself, Matoro, and the ones still battling in vain. I know that those still present have never aided in this, which only leaves the possibility that Matoro must have been taken hostage and is being used as an endless source! And, if this ‘Leonardo’ you tell of went missing at the same time, where we’ll find one lost warrior…” “…we’ll find the other!” Splinter realized. The gold stranger nodded. “We’d best be ending the feud above quickly.” Upon reaching the rooftops, both ended up needing to yell quite loudly to get their groups’ attention, Raphael and his fiery reflection taking the longest to stop their fight. “It would seem that our efforts have been wrong in their aim. For answers, we shall need look no further than a certain man by the name of Snell…”
  3. Chapter 6: Hypothermia He stood on the Arch again, for the second night in a row. It was five minutes before ten o’clock, and he was waiting. Tonight, he could sense that he would finally learn the truth about these bizarre figures… tonight they would get their answers. A newspaper pounced upon his face, and he slapped it away, the wind that carried it familiar and cold. He turned to see his opponent waiting. As one, three swords were drawn. The fateful clock bonged ten. In an instant, all that stood in his opponent’s place was a massive pillar of ice, his foe now illuminated by the moon from behind. He was hurtling towards Leo, who dodged and pulled out his dual katana, putting both arms’ strength into fighting the force behind the sword pushing towards his chest. He felt the Arch beneath him turn cold and smooth, all traction lost to his feet. He did not look away to find the reason, already knowing the figure had covered the surface with ice to gain the upper hand. And yet, like many other times, Leo knew how to turn a strength into weakness. He leapt sideways off of the Arch, then climbed under and around to the opposite side. As he vaulted up and onto it again, he briefly saw a rather hilarious expression of confusion on the figure’s face as he stared over the edge, wondering what the heck had just happened. Honestly, he would’ve laughed if he had the chance, but momentum had other ideas. Both of his feet impacted solidly against his foe’s side, sending him crashing down onto the newspaper stand from before. Newspaper stands, by nature, were only so sturdy. One seven-foot-tall metal figure was certainly more than enough to overwhelm it, and the just-closed stand’s roof immediately collapsed, newspapers flying out of the wreckage and upwards in a swirling, confused mass. As Leo leapt down into the fray, the cold wind picked up again, turning the confused mass into a frenzied typhoon. Unfazed, he stood his ground, listening. From the left he heard the clank-clank-clank of his opponent’s approach, and swiftly dropped onto his back right as he heard him lunge, kicking him over him and leaping back to his feet. The figure landed with equal ease, and in an instant summoned a barrage of snowballs to be sent rushing at the blue-masked turtle. Their target met them head-on, slicing and dodging any and all that got in his way as he ran at their conjurer. Leo’s shoulder met solidly with the gut of the figure, who staggered backwards, coughing up a bit of blood and shaking his head to clear it. He looked up again just in time to block the incoming sword-slash aimed at his head, and put all his strength into a single shove from his arms, putting distance between them. A moment later, enormous icicles were rushing right at Leonardo’s head, and he began flipping backwards, realizing that his opponent was trying to move their duel to somewhere less observer-heavy. Turning, he ran, allowing himself to appear chased as he led his opponent to the old, empty lot close to the city’s limits. There they continued the battle… until three consecutive gunshots rang on the air, sending their gazes to the lot’s corner. There stood three notorious crooks, infamous in the city, all with guns. Two were aiming at the duo, and the third did likewise after lowering his gun from its aiming at the sky. All three had smug grins on their faces. Suddenly, two pairs of arms grabbed Leonardo from behind, his opponent from earlier finding himself in a similar predicament. The next moment, hands clasped a cloth over both inhuman mouths, and the world faded to black for both of them. •••••••• Ka-thump. Bump. Thunkathunk. Groggily, Leonardo cracked open his eyes, turning his head slowly as his mind fought the lingering dregs of chloroform. When he at last had his senses back, he took stock of his surroundings. He was in a moving van, the wide rear doors on his left. The floor beneath him was nothing but cold metal. His ankles were bound together, wrists tied behind him and to the wall. To his right, he saw one of the crooks from earlier sitting in the driver’s seat, windows heavily tinted. Another one stood behind the passenger seat, guarding them to make sure they didn’t try anything. A beep from the driver’s seat showed that the lead crook was making a call with his earpiece. “Tell the billionaire it’s time to pay the bounty.” A pause of a few minutes, as the “billionaire” was put on the line. “It’s gonna take a bit more pay talk before you get your hands on the metal guinea-pig you sent us to catch.” Pause. “Yeah, we got the dude. Not only that, but we’re willing to throw in a side-bonus… that is, if you’re willing to cough up the extra dough…” Pause. “Some sort of humanoid turtle-thing… it was fighting your order, so we decided to take out two birds with one stone. They charged right into the empty lot without a second thought.” Pause. “Sure, that certainly sounds agreeable. You want ‘em delivered right to your lab?” Leonardo’s attention, at that moment, was drawn away as a shape began stirring against the wall across from him. With a start, he recognized it as the stranger he’d dueled on the Arch, bound with chains. His waking groan caught the second crook’s attention, and he chloroformed both of them again. •••••••• When Leo next woke, he was in what looked almost exactly like a jail cell. A metal grate stood on one side, acting as a see-through wall, complete with a door. Against the opposite wall was a small, wooden cot complete with scratchy sheets. A small window in that wall showed a mere glimpse of the outside world. He knew without looking that his katana were gone. They hadn’t been on his back when he woke in the van, so why would they be there now? He reached up to his face, and let out a sigh of relief upon becoming certain that his mask was, in fact, not removed. He simply wouldn’t feel right without it. The thick metal collar around his neck certainly concerned him, though… Abruptly there came a static crackle from the ceiling above him, and he looked up to see a speaker there. From it came an unfamiliar voice. “Well, well, well… it seems you’ve finally woken up. Good.” “Who are you? What do you intend to do?” Leo demanded. “That’s for me to know and you to wonder. Now, here’s the deal: from now on, you must follow any and all orders my researchers give you. No exceptions. And always be quick about it.” “And why, exactly, should I listen to you?!” Suddenly, the collar around his next sent out a jolt of electricity, forcing Leo to fall to his knees. “That would be why.” •••••••• Where am I? What’s going on?! There’s bright lights all around me. They’re too bright. They’re making my eyes ache. The walls and ceiling are all pale, too, making it worse. Humans. I see them standing over me. They’re in sterile, sea-foam-green garments - I think they call them “scrubs.” What are they doing, though? What do they want with me? They’ve got something pinching the limp-nerve in my neck. So long as the pinching continues, I can’t move of my own will, except with my eyes. How did they realize, though? One of them’s removed my mask, and they’re all stumbling back a bit now, eyes covered with arms and hands. I don’t blame them - my team and I all had to do the same the first time any of us removed our mask. They’ve put it back on, but now most of my other armor’s being removed. They’re poking and prodding, and I have no say in the matter. They’re testing my reactions, I know. I can see the monitor showing the pulsing of my heartlight and my mental activity. GAH! Too bright! Too bright! They’re shining a light directly into my eyes, holding it a few inches above me. They remove it, and every fiber of me is screaming at my body to blink away the colored spots in my vision. I feel the gurney move under me, and see the walls and ceiling moving. They’re taking me somewhere else, but where? Wait, what are they doing now? There’s more humans here. They’ve all got mouth coverings. What’s going on!? What’re they doing?! They’re fitting something over my mouth. It’s turning the air sickly-sweet. No. No. No-no-nonononono they can’t be. No. I can’t give in to the dark. I tell it to go away, never come back. No. It’s still creeping inward from the edges of my vision. NO! I can’t fall asleep here! I can’t! I CAN’T! •••••••• Pain… …pain… …pain. It’s all I know, here and now. It’s surrounding me. It digs at my side. My ribs. My leg. My stomach. My arm. Back of my head, down my spine, back of my elbows and thighs. Most of all, though, it throbs within my mind. Something wants in. Something knows I’m in here. It’s trying to get me. It’s getting in. No. NO! Scanning… META-INF found. Now securing META-INF. META-INF secured. If compliance is not achieved by body within acceptable time, META-INF files by name of MEMORY.mov, MEMORY.mp3, PURPOSE.txt, MATORO.cfg, and HEARTLIGHTRUN.exe will be deleted. Proceeding to receive compliance. A virus. A virus. It’s in. It’s trapped me in my own mind! NO! Now I see what’s around me. I’m standing in an open room, scientists operating an enormous computer terminal off to the side. It has cables going up to hooks in the ceiling, then back down. Down to me. Standby. I see that humanoid turtle from earlier. He’s standing in a hall at the opposite side of the room. There’s a shock collar around his neck. His swords are gone. They’ve chained him to their will as well. Raise arms. I feel my body following the virus’ orders. My mask has taken over running my body for me. It knows it must comply to the virus to keep me alive. Condense H20 to 0 degrees C. Form cube 7 feet tall. Standby. What are they doing? Why must I form ice for them? Won’t they have tested it and found out it can’t be used for normal water? Is that why they’re making me mass-produce it? Standby. I see the turtle approaching. He’s coming to stand between me and the cube I formed, facing away. He puts his palms against it and begins pushing it, to the hall across the way. Standby. I know not what they intend to do with the ice. I only know that my own mind has become my personal asylum and torture chamber combined. •••••••• Three hours. For three hours, now, Leonardo had been pushing the huge blocks of ice from one room to the next with no chance to catch his breath. Even the slightest bit behind, and his collar would shock him. He looked at the figure he’d fought before as he approached to move the next ice block. His eyes were dimmed from their usual shade of green, white binary and computer code scrolling by behind that glassy gaze. As the virus returned to standby and the turtle began pushing the block, both inhuman prisoners shared a thought: Will this madness never end?
  4. Chapter 5: Frosty Forecast Thinking. Leo was thinking. Admittedly, this wasn’t anything to be surprised about - of the four brothers, he was agreed to be wisest, and often would spend time calmly letting his mind wander and analyze things most barely spared a glance. No… it was the intensity with which he was thinking that would be startling, should anyone find the means to glimpse into his mind. Right now, he was at the shore of a pond in a somewhat secluded area of Central Park, one of the calmest spots he knew. Occasionally, he’d grab a skipping stone from the pile he’d put next to him and send it dancing out over the water, but mostly, he thought and thought. So far, out of his “family” of sorts (quotes added because he was counting April and Casey), he and Splinter were the only ones to have not had any encounters with the strange figures that had been haunting the others’ steps. He thought back to April and Casey’s visit to the sewers the previous night, and to all they’d told one another about the encounters they’d had. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- “Wait, you were hacked when, exactly?” Mikey asked, surprised. “Last Monday, not long after you left for Rad Rails.” Donatello replied. “I’d been listening to some voices one of the scoutbots I sent out was picking up, and then not long after its signal cut off, whoever found it actually managed to use it to start attacking my computer. I fortunately was able to make them retreat and found their IP, but wasn’t going to suggest assaulting them until we knew they meant business. After all, at the time, they could’ve been simply getting back at me for invading their privacy. Now I’m not so sure…” “Huh… that’s the same night I crossed paths with someone odd as well! While I was at the park, I got tripped off of my board, and while I didn’t actually see whoever tripped me, I heard them laugh, then run away over the streetlights. They left something behind, too - I’ll go get it real quick.” In a few minutes, he had returned with a jungle vine clutched in his hands. “I found this on the bottom of the half-pipe, right against the wheels of my board. Thought you’d think I was just pulling a prank if I brought it up, though, so I didn’t until now.” Now April spoke up. “I actually crossed paths with someone strange right after that, the very next morning. Casey and I were picking up a couple of shipments at the docks, and while he went to load up another crate, I kept feeling like I was being watched, but never saw anyone looking at me when I turned to check. Then, just a bit later, this bizarre blue lady actually leapt off of the boat the shipments were on as one of the deckhands started yelling about a cargo robber. She leapt off right above me, but instead of plunging into the water, she just landed on its surface as if it were thick Jello and ran across it and out of sight.” She pulled out a sketchbook and opened it to a recent page. “I tried drawing her when I got back home.” Raph leaned forward, looking rather surprised by the sketches. “Wait a minute… That looks a whole lot like that flame-spewin’ freak I fought last night!” Everyone turned their attention to him. “A ‘flame-spewing freak’?” Leo asked, perturbed. His red-masked brother nodded. “Definitely a guy, though, not a girl in the slightest, and with a way different color scheme. He was completely crimson and gold, and seven feet tall! Guy was tryin’ to take credit for puttin’ away a robber I’d caught. When the robber woke up and ran off, we ended up chasing him and racing each other to catch him first. Not only did the freak shoot fire, though, he was immune to it, too! I tried to trick him into lighting himself up, but he ran right through the flames like they weren’t even there! In the end, neither of us actually caught the robber - guy turned himself in to the police without meaning to - but that freak was a coward and wouldn’t even stick around to finish our fight for good. Vanished as soon as he saw he had no hopes of stealing the glory.” Splinter turned towards him. “I take it that this was what drove your anger that night when you returned?” “Yeah. Which reminds me - we need to drop off some money at the building our chase ended on. I, ah, kinda couldn’t hold back my anger long enough, and their air vent happened to be the victim…” Donny piped up again, realizing something. “By the looks of the figure April drew, it seems that these strangers are biomechanical. They’re likely to have at least part of their brains be computer-based, and if so, they could probably be the ones who had such an easy time getting into my digital files on my computer.” “Whoever tripped me certainly sounded like they had metal feet, with how loudly their footsteps against the streetlights clanked!” Mikey concluded. “I actually ran into someone odd in the park the night after the incident at the harbor - and I mean ‘ran into’ in the literal sense - and they definitely felt solid enough to be metal.” Splinter turned to face his blue-masked son. “What of you, Leonardo? Have you encountered any strangers of this description?” “No… I haven’t.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- But now, as Leonardo sat by the pond and thought back, he remembered Saturday night of the week before… -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- It wasn’t a mere trick of the light - couldn’t be. That was by no means light simply being reflected, as often happened with the eyes of cats. These had their own light, brilliant gold-green light from the figure’s pupils that seemed to judge him as the figure met his gaze. What the heck were these figures? Why were they here, and how? After what seemed like hours, the stare-off between himself and one of them ended as the figure shifted his or her gaze away and followed its companions into the night. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- He blinked, clearing his vision of the flashback… and was startled to find the gaze from that memory still dueling his own, from across the pond. Half of the water’s surface was frozen solid. His most recently used skipping-stone, caught in the middle, was suspended mid-leap, its watery, arcing tail experiencing an equal lack of motion. The ice all came from a sword whose tip was resting in the water at the opposite shore. And sitting on that shore, feet pressed together and knees on either side, was the figure to whom the sword belonged. The only one of the six figures from Saturday night that had yet to haunt the footsteps of one of the Turtle team. There, again, was that startling yellow-green gaze, riveting him in place like a bolt of lightning. It was analytical, calculating, circling him without moving, peeling back every page of the book of who Leonardo was, what he did, and why. It was scanning him more than the government could ever hope to, recognizing the quickness and tenacity lurking in his muscles, the determination and wisdom fueling them. He sensed the gaze fix upon the handles of his dual katana, visible over either of his shoulders. He could see, in that gaze, the figure adding it all up, figuring out how this humanoid turtle fought, why, where, when, and what. And was that - approval? It was there for a mere fraction of a heartbeat, then gone, leaving him wondering. In the same instant that the gaze vanished, an unseasonably cold wind blew directly into Leonardo’s eyes, forcing him to blink them and clear them. By the time he had done so, the stranger was gone, the only trace there was ever any stranger at all being the swiftly melting ice on the surface of the pond and the lingering chills at the back of Leo’s neck. •••••••• The next night, Leo sat atop the crown of Lady Liberty, thinking once again. Out of all the encounters he and the others had, his was the only one where no confusion or conflict occurred. Donatello had had his computer hacked in response to listening in. Michelangelo had been tripped while skateboarding. April had, at first, thought something was stolen. Casey was hit over the head. Raph went so far as to get into a full-blown fistfight. But when Leo had his encounter, the strange figure simply watched. Watched and thought, as he did. No attempt to interfere in what he was doing - the ice didn’t count, since he could tell the freezing had only been subconscious. An unseasonably cold wind once more blew at him, but now, from above and to the right. He immediately turned to look. The figure was back. He was sitting at the utmost top of the statue’s torch, leaning forward to peer down at Leonardo. His forearms were resting calmly over his knees, fingers limp and relaxed. Leo could, just barely, discern the shape of his silent observer’s head, which was tipped to the side. Once again, the figure’s bright, glowing eyes were what held his focus; tonight, he saw curiosity pressing against the glass of them for a closer look at him, amusement impishly dancing in the background, though he knew not what about him might be cause for amusement, and, lastly, understanding. That last emotion he detected was odd in its form. It seemed as though the figure saw much of himself in Leonardo, as if he were familiar with the young turtle’s self-assigned task. The cold wind blew, Leo blinked, and the figure vanished yet again. •••••••• The sun had risen and set, and Leo now found himself beneath the moon again, atop the Washington Square Arch. This time, he didn’t even tense when the cold wind chilled his shell; he knew by now exactly what it meant. He turned, and the figure was there, staring. Always staring. At the opposite end of the Arch he stood, facing the character of his focus. Arms out and down towards his sides, his single greatsword held in his right hand. Legs somewhat apart, steadying him. His gaze was sharp and insistent this time, in it lying a request to be heard out, an assurance that doing so would be worth his time. Leo quirked one brow, letting him know he would listen… or whatever else might apply. The figure raised his sword, slashing an X in the air between them, then bringing it down to clang the tip sharply against the Arch beneath their feet. He looked, pointedly, at the moon, then back to Leo, then to the nearby newspaper stand. A clock, unseen within it, bonged ten, and his gaze returned to Leo. A sword-duel, tomorrow night, ten o’ clock, on the Arch they stood upon at this very moment. Leo nodded in acceptance and the cold wind blew. •••••••• “Splinter?” Leo asked, knocking on the door to the wise old rat’s quarters. “Come in, Leonardo. Is something troubling you?” “Not quite…” he began, sitting on a mat facing that upon which his sensei meditated. “For the past two nights, I’ve had encounters with one of the mysterious figures. Both times, he seems to simply watch me, and yet, at the same time, he’s seeing right through me. It’s like he realizes what I do, why, and how, and yet he does nothing more than stare. And tonight… tonight he challenged me. I’m to duel with him in a swordfight ten o’clock tomorrow evening. The only thing is… I’m not sure what to make of it all. The second night, he seemed almost amused, and seemed to understand, too. It was as if he saw aspects of himself in me and vice versa and respected me for it. What I’m wondering is why he’s been watching me this way and why he’s challenging me…. what does he hope to achieve of it?” “To be honest, I am as confused by this as you. This figure hasn’t been as outgoing as the others, and if he acts as you say he does, he most certainly must have a reason for it. There is no way for us to know what this reason is, unfortunately. For all we know, he may be the leader of the group, or not affiliated at all except in origin. He could be well-meaning, or he could be hoping to defeat you and send our family into turmoil. Whatever his reasoning, you must promise me to be careful, Leonardo.” “Yes, Master Splinter. I promise.”
  5. Chapter 4: Firestarter Raphael was grinning, admittedly, like a Cheshire Cat at the moment. His patrol of the city was apparently going to pay off for the first time in a long while. He had been prowling the Chinatown area, and lo and behold, before him stood a burglar trying to break his way into a home. This would be a piece of cake, and, for once, with no interference from pesky, overly colorful strangers. Silently, he crept along the banner above and behind the robber… then reached down with a sai, hooked him by the collar, and flung him up onto the rooftop above, leaping after him. However, before he could even begin to bring his fist back for the knockout strike, a solid thunk was heard against the back of his shell. Slowly, he turned to look behind him at the rock-thrower. There, leaning against an air vent in boredom, was a bright red and gold, seven-foot-tall metal figure whose expression showed he was completely unimpressed with the muscular, humanoid, red-masked turtle before him. “Well, are you going to stand there focusing on theatrics all night, or are you actually going to finish the job?” the figure questioned. Raph briefly turned back to knock out the burglar and leave him lying on the surface of the roof, then turned around once more to snap back an equally snarky retort… only to find that the figure was no longer there. The sound of movement drew his attention back to the robber. The same robber that was being hoisted onto the figure’s shoulder to be carried off! Anger flaring up within him, he immediately rammed into the figure and pinned him against the wall, one of his sai at his throat. “Whaddaya think you’re doin’, trying ta turn in a criminal that’s on my turf?!” He was met with an equally fiery glare, then the figure pulled out a golden greatsword and locked it with Raphael’s sai, growling, “You’re the one who’s wandered into the wrong neighborhood, Rahi-breath!” That was it. In an instant, Raph brought up the second of his dual sai, intending to slash this impudent stranger across the eye… … only for a tongue of fire to issue from the figure’s mouth and at the small weapon, forcing the turtle to drop the red-hot handle and dodge the following punch. He rolled behind the previously mentioned air vent, vaulting over it and kicking his foe in the chest with both legs. Unfortunately, as the crimson stranger toppled backwards over the edge of the rooftop, he managed to get one of Raphael’s sai caught on a ridge of his sword’s blade, thus dragging the turtle down with him. Is this really all this guy’s got?! Raph thought to himself, landing on his feet atop a car in the alley. His opponent’s landing was much less refined - crashing onto the hood of the neighboring car, he practically crushed the metal under his back before quickly getting to his feet. At once, Raphael leapt at him, the blade of his sai leaving its mark on the “skin” of the stranger’s shoulder. This was quickly responded to with a wham over the head with the lid of a steel trashcan. Both parties’ attentions were quickly tugged away from their dispute, however, as a stone dragon’s head from atop the roof of the nearby building fell to the ground next to them with a resounding clatter of shattering granite. Their eyes traveled upwards to where their distraction had once been, and immediately caught the silhouette of their former prey making his escape. Their brows furrowed. They turned to face each other. Then, in the blink of an eye, both took to the rooftops, eager to beat the other to catching the crook. In all honesty, Raph wasn’t surprised that his opponent had no choice but to take the longer route. While he was freely running over the ropes of banners and flags hanging over the street, springing off of the end of flagpoles, and jumping from point to point without a second thought, his metal enemy found himself hurtling over the gaps between buildings neighboring each other, too heavy and cumbersome to use the routes Raph was free to. And, it seemed, his foe was jealous of him for this. His gaze was suddenly locked on Raph, and, quickly, he had turned to aim his sword at the rope across which Raph was running, an enormous tongue of fire leaping out to, almost literally, yank the ground out beneath his feet, his once-available shortcut becoming nothing but a fluttering snowfall of ash. But, although fire could certainly leap far, Raph could leap even farther. As soon as the blazing mass came rushing at his feet, he propelled himself up and away, flipping once in his momentum and resuming his run as soon as he landed. He could actually hear the guy’s metal teeth grinding in irritation, and, feeling proud to have ticked the guy off, overturned a full oil barrel in his path just as he saw another tongue of fire leave the sword to roast him. It seemed that any deities around were holding a grudge against Raph, for some reason or another. His opponent wasn’t harmed one bit. Not one bit. No, instead, the guy simply ran right through the flames that erupted before him, came out still blazing, and kept right on running as the flames went out on their own! Both had to come to a screeching halt as the police station drew into plain view. Their crook had run right inside it and was incoherently babbling about a turtle-monster and a seven-foot-tall robot chasing him and trying to kill him. As expected, the police weren’t buying one bit of it, instead locking up the crook for prior charges. Angry at having his only chance in a week to catch a crook completely ruined, Raph turned to where his flame-resistant foe was standing next to him, eager to finish the fight properly - and, once again, the metal freak had vanished. People who rented the building below for many years to come would forever wonder what had managed to make the rooftop air vent so mangled, and why it had impressions of three-fingered fists all over it. •••••••• As soon as Raph returned to the Turtle Lair, he marched, seething, to the training room, glad to see it empty for once. He needed to punch something - anything (well, other than his brothers, April, Cody, or Splinter). He quickly hung up one of their leather punching-bags, drew back his fist… and began the barrage. Stupid metal-skulled freak! Stupid hotshot! What makes him think he can just waltz into our city and try to take it over from us? Who cares if he can spew bright, shiny flames at will? Who cares that he can just walk through them? NOBODY, THAT’S WHO!!! Shoulda just punched his ugly mug right in the first moment I saw him. Shoulda left nothing but a crater. It would’ve had plumes of smoke coming out of it, I bet! Wouldn’t surprise me one bit, him being the hothead he is! Why does he think it’s fine to grab the rug of our very existence here that we’ve sewn together over years and years, yank it RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER OUR FEET, and PUT IT IN HIS OWN HOUSE?! WHY!? By the end of it all, their training room was short ten punching-bags, the red-masked reptile seething through his teeth, finally calming himself down as his brothers watched from the doorway in worry and confusion.
  6. Chapter 3: The Human and the Not-So-Human “Whew! What the heck is in these crates?!” Casey exclaimed. He and April were at New York’s docks, working, as usual, on loading up a delivery to be taken to their customer. It was hot out that day - summer was quickly approaching - and it didn’t help that just about every one of the crates they were going to deliver seemed to weigh a literal ton. Casey decided to take a moment to lean against the dock-railing and rub the back of his hand against his forehead. “According to their labels and the checklist we were provided, they’re mostly a variety of construction and welding materials. Steel sheets, cement, wires, cables, plaster, et cetera.” April replied, not even bothering to look up from the aforementioned checklist at her fiancé. “They may be difficult to load up, but the pay’s going to definitely be worth it. These are all to be delivered to Mark Snell’s research lab.” “Mark Snell…?” Casey mused aloud. The heat was making his mind take forever to recognize the name. “…isn’t he the billionaire who uses his money to have tons of authority in tons of science institutes and associations?” “Yep. That’s him. Although one has to admit he certainly has earned his reputation. Half the money from his corporation goes into funding even more R&D.” “Huh.” Casey stood straighter and stretched, then resumed his work. “Wonder what he plans to do with all this stuff.” As April continued to stand there after her checklist was complete, however, she felt a prickle against the back of her neck. Without even turning, she was under the impression that she was being watched. Inconspicuously, she looked over her shoulder, pretending to scratch an itch. There was absolutely nobody in sight looking at her… and yet the nagging feeling continued. She went over her checklist again, trying to calm her nerves, only for a creaking off to her right to draw her attention again… and there was once more nothing there. Now she forced herself to keep her eyes on the task at hand, despite the fact that she found herself tensing at the sound of a small splash from the same direction as the creaking. It was only when she saw hints of movement from the anchor-chain that she let her attention wander again. A lithe figure, too distant to make out the details of, was climbing the chain with relative ease, aiming to reach the deck. At once, April began moving to a better vantage point, only for the figure to vanish onto the deck. It must’ve just been a trick of the light. A figment of her imagination. The heat was getting to her- that must’ve been it. And April had managed to convince herself that that was all… but only for a few minutes. “THIEF! CARGO ROBBER!” The yell came from one of the deckhands on board, and it immediately drew April’s attention upward. Clanking was heard, quickly growing louder, then it happened. A shimmering blue figure leapt overboard directly above April. It twisted its body so its feet aimed down at the water’s surface and it was facing the boat… and her. In seeming slow-motion, she saw the dark-blue figure’s eyes meet hers. The yellow-green gaze was one of challenge, daring her to stop it… no, not it… her! The figure was female! And in another blink’s span, the figure’s feet met the water’s surface and she landed upon it as if it were gelatin, then ran under the docks, using their cover for her getaway. After a few minutes of stunned silence, April shook her head to clear it and hurried up onto the deck to find out exactly what the culprit had stolen. Several deckhands stood by the victim crate, which sat with lid against its side. Its label showed that it had previously contained three diamond drill tips, a welding laser, an expensive alloy, and an assortment of cables. Now, all it contained was…. money? Money… and a small, flat stone. She quickly picked up the stone, examining it. Upon flipping it over, she found a message imprinted on it. To Miss April O’Neil: I thank you greatly for taking the time to ship this to us. However, unfortunate as it is, we cannot permit face-to-face transaction for personal reasons concerning privacy. Because of this, we have sent one of our, shall we say, “representatives” to pick up the shipment and deliver the money with as little visual contact as possible. I do hope, truly, that our methods did not cause too much uproar. Looking forward to further business, M, H, N, H, K, J, & MN. (Unity Engineering) P.S.: Feel free to use this as a paperweight. P.P.S: It’s best to use the backside as the topside if you followed the postscript’s advice. This was cause for a quirked eyebrow. That was odd… why would a company be so averse to meeting face-to-face, yet act so polite and law-abiding otherwise? It seemed rather fishy, no ocean/harbor pun intended. She shook her head and flipped the stone around to look at the back, observing the odd symbol emblazoned there. There was a circle about the same distance around as the tip of her thumb in the center, and to its top-right and bottom-left, two more circles, this time smaller. On either side of this trio were hollow shapes resembling the number 3, the one on the left being backwards. And, to top it off, the different shapes were all given a gold varnish… talk about leaving an impression! •••••••• To be honest, in what Casey considered to be his neck of the woods - in this case, the back alleys and parks where crooks liked to gather at night - there hadn’t been all too much… action. All the usuals seemed to have, oddly, turned proverbial tail and fled. The only company he ever had most nights were crickets and raccoons. While none of the usuals were around, however…. an unusual seemed to certainly be. On the ground a short distance ahead of him, there was a surprisingly large set of tracks. They were flat-bottomed, like they’d been made using cardboard cutouts, a fairly rectangular shape with four toe-impressions in front and two in back. With no other source of present entertainment, he shrugged to himself and decided to begin following them. They almost seemed to be following a patrol-path similar to his own, he noticed as he traced them to their source. They used the stepping stones to cross the creek, went around the oak at the park’s corner, and, finally, led to the base of the old treehouse ladder that never became anything more, all of which he would have done on his own had he not noticed them. Without realizing it, he started following them in circles around the tree, unaware that what made them had noticed his tracks and was doing much the same. One lap. Two laps. Three laps. Four. Five. Six. Seven…. At last, Casey let his focus shift away enough from the tracks he was following to realize that he was getting dizzy…. just as he walked right into the back of the grey-and-yellow track-maker. Two startled yells echoed. Two metal weapons were pulled out. Two heads felt a smack between the eyes, and two park-goers began stumbling around, hands over their eyes in pain. The human of the two, at last, let his hands retreat from his visage, only to see the unknown figure stumbling about in haste to get away, still dazed. In a few moments, the stranger was gone, leaving Casey to head back home and nurse his wounded pride. ••••••• April, meanwhile, was back at their house, letting her thoughts travel to the blue figure from the docks. She wanted to try and draw her, to see if perhaps more might become apparent about her that way. Thus, here she was now, sketchpad in lap and pencil in hand. The head was smooth on top, but not shiny-bald smooth…. She had those… tubes that started at her cheeks and ended at the top-back of the head on either side… These details and more were etched out on paper carefully, for she was truly curious about this stranger. Before long, she found herself proud of what she’d drawn, and put it aside. Who knows? Maybe she’ll turn up again. “You know…” Casey said, having just walked in, “We haven’t heard much from the Turtles lately.” She would have replied, but a text message turned up on Casey’s phone… from none other than the red-masked member of the aforementioned group. Laughter echoed in the small apartment.
  7. Second chapter is now here! Ugh, spell-correct was being a PAIN for this one. It kept trying to correct words before I'd even finished typing them! Chapter 2: Close Encounters of the Intriguing Kind Donatello was known by his brothers (as well as April and Casey) for having proverbial eyes and ears open all over their beloved city. And this had, more often than not, proved to be a good thing; it let them pick up on news of crime more quickly, find the headquarters of the syndicates and gangs and mobs before they had the chance to make a second strike. And tonight, it seemed, was another night that those little, tiny scout-bots, about the size of those popular Hexbug toys, proved their worth. The GPS signal of this one was scrambled, but all the same, he heard several voices from within its vicinity…. and what the voices said caught his interest. Caught it and held it. “Ow! Gah….” That voice was male, with a strange, faint metallic ring to it. “Hold still, you’re making the bandage come loose.” Another metallic voice, but female, about the same volume as the first voice. If what the voices said were anything to go by, its owner was giving medical care to the owner of the first. For a few minutes, all he heard were some noises resembling the kicking of a ball and the movement of feet. That, and mechanical work from somewhere off to the side. “I should’ve realized that the human would have had a gun…” Now that was interesting. The first voice made it seem like its owner’s injury was a result of the failure to recognize the gun. And the way it used the word “human” suggested that, perhaps, such a term failed to apply to any of the voice-owners present - in other words, these voices belonged to inhuman creatures. The sounds of mechanical work stopped, and the swiveling of a chair was heard. “Don’t blame yourself, it was my fault for not disarming him during the lift…” That had been a new voice, also male. However, any reply from the first two was cut off by a sudden, loud, metallic CLANG. “Watch where you kick that Kohlii ball!” That had been the second voice again, the female one. The ball must have come close to hitting her or her patient. A unanimous reply of “Sorry!” came from three more male voices, all at the relatively same volume. He heard the chair from earlier swiveling again, and the third voice say, “Huh? What’s this…?” Then, as if on cue, the signal from the scout-bot ended. Donatello sighed. It had been a worthwhile attempt. All he had truly gotten from that broadcast, though, were the facts that at least six other intelligent non-humans were in the city somewhere, and that they’d had at least one conflict with a male human wielding a gun, which they seemed to have instigated. At least three could play some form of sport, one was good with metal-work, one was a trustworthy medic, and one… one he wasn’t sure of. He turned back to look at the ice-sample he’d collected from the lamppost last night’s robbers had been frozen to. His scans were picking up an odd substance within it - something other than frozen water. Looking at it from a different angle, he noticed a silvery glint from it. Definitely unusual. Perhaps if he melted it, he could get a better look at the substance. A quick trip through the microwave and one cloth filter later, the silver liquid was alone and exposed to his scans. It had quite the complex structure, made entirely of an element he’d never seen the likes of. Was it possible that it wasn’t even on the Periodic Table? It was certainly unusual… He quickly put it aside in a small, secure vial. Turning to look at his computer once more, his eyes widened as he saw files opening on their own. What the heck?! How did someone manage to hack my computer?! I coded the firewalls and antivirus programs myself! This hacking should be impossible! His hand immediately lunged for the mouse and keyboard, ready to defend his proud cyber-turf against this sudden invisible foe. He began a command-line and typed out commands without stopping, the strikes of his fingers against each key blurring into one solid, indiscernible noise in his anger. His foe, however, proved to not be one to trifle with. Every antivirus process he began was met with a virus that would keep it pinned and unable to defend anything other than itself. The gap in his computer’s firewalls was constantly widened by more and more invading code. Minutes stretched on, and Donatello at last found a weakness in the code of the spyware and viruses being launched at him, which he immediately recoded his antivirus and firewalls to target. He pulled up the list of active codes on his computer, and realized just what was letting them in: whoever found that scout-bot from before was using its connection to his computer to attack! Immediately he terminated all connection to the scout-bot, sitting back and grinning. With no connection to their home base, the viruses and spyware had no clue what to do. Now they were the ones on the futile defensive, scattering and scrambling as the antivirus codes picked them off one by one. When the last unwanted code finally vanished from his screens, he couldn’t help but let loose a hearty whoop of joy. His antivirus pulled up the source IP of the attack, and he saved it in a small text file to the side. He wouldn’t be so rude as to go knocking at their door with his brothers… yet. It would be impolite. They probably just launched the attack as retaliation for invading their privacy with his scout-bot. Heck, if he’d found out somebody had been listening in on him for a good while and had the means to figure out why, he’d probably do so, too! But he would keep the IP just in case… after all, they could attack some other way. Little did he know that his attacker thought in quite the similar fashion. •••••••• Monday nights. Gotta love ‘em! This was Michaelangelo’s first thought as he leapt from rooftop to rooftop, skateboard tucked under his arm. And, contrary to his brothers’ beliefs, for once, he did have an adequate reason to think so oddly. It was true that, for most residents of beautiful New York City, Mondays were hated. They meant ended weekends, work, traffic, long commutes, school…. the usual. For a turtle like himself, however, things were quite the opposite. “Work” was rarely existent in their sewers; Donny had given up IT, and Mikey himself had long since tossed aside his “Cowabunga Carl” attire for good. He shuddered to think back to those days. April and Casey did a fine job managing to earn money for both themselves AND the Turtle crew, and there was, of course, the added help they’d gotten when it turned out that Winters had somehow found time to include April, Casey, and the current leader of the Foot in his will. School? PSH! Splinter had already taught them all that they needed to know, and anything they wanted to know, they learned when they found the time, which they always did. There wasn’t anything really special about weekends for the Turtles as a result, and thus no disappointment when they ended, except that on Sundays and Saturdays, some good pizza places had sales, but what was the point of getting disappointed over that? Traffic and commutes? Nothing to a runner of the rooftops and sewer! No - Monday nights, to him, meant no kids daring each other to enter the so-called “haunted” skate park that he had decided to take in as his own. Rad Rail Skate Park had been closed for a couple of years, now, after some “freak accident” killed the owner of the property along with several kids. The accident had rattled people so much that they considered it “haunted” or “cursed”, which, admittedly, he had done nothing to help. Even the police were scared of the place, and didn’t dare go in to investigate odd sounds, thinking he might be the ghost of one of the kids who died. Nobody had ever thought to cut the power supply to the skate park’s lights, either, leaving a perfectly good skate park for him to enjoy once the timed lights clicked on at night. And on Mondays, kids were too busy with homework to bother glancing at the Skate Park’s gates. He cackled with glee as he rode the half-pipe, the night seemingly perfect. Then he was, quite rudely, brought to the abrupt present as a flash of dark green swept under his wheels and he was launched off his board to land chin-first on concrete. A strange laugh, futilely stifled, echoed from above him, and he quickly got to his feet and looked up. Sadly, no culprit met his gaze. Sighing and taking that as his cue that he’d spent enough time here for the night, he walked back over to his board - then stopped and blinked. Now he saw exactly what had tripped him…. a jungle vine. The only question was this: How did a jungle vine wind up in an abandoned skate park in busy New York City? A brief clang brought his attention upward again, but, when there still proved to be no sign of the culprit, he shook his head and crouched to pick up his board and the vine. As he headed for home, however, he couldn’t help but wonder if he should show the vine to Donny…. …nah.
  8. All reviews for "A New Team in Town" shall go here!
  9. Review Topic is here: http://www.bzpower.com/board/topic/12710-review-topic-a-new-team-in-town/ Had this idea for a while now, and while I DO wish the first chapter would've turned out longer, I'm still proud of how it turned out. Chapter 1: A Week of Stolen Pride Rain. Why is it ALWAYS raining during our heists lately?! These were the thoughts of the middle-aged robber who found himself fleeing through the streets with his rookie companion, Tommy. And it was true - every time they did a heist, the skies would be clear and calm to start with, then, as soon as they got their hands on the moola, boom. The sky would immediately start throwing swearwords at them in the form of torrential downpours, wind, and, on one occasion, lightning that seemed to follow them! It was enough to shake up just about any burglar of any caliber! The duo decided they’d be best sticking to the rooftops, and quickly sprinted up a fire escape on an abandoned building. The senior of the two hated to admit it, but he, for once in his life, was afraid. Every night this week, his and Tommy’s luck had been all but nonexistent, always resulting in having to leave whatever they were stealing and lose a few more years off their life as they barely managed to escape the jaws of the law. Tommy was afraid, too, he could tell - the kid’s eyes were constantly darting all about in paranoia when he stood still, and he could tell no sleep had been achieved by the youngster over these past few nights. Even now, his actions were nothing but a frantic mantra as they fled to their safe house: ten steps, big step, jump, land, ten steps, big step, jump, land…. He refused to look behind him, refused to think anything but those words. His will was broken, however, as his gaze caught upon a wet patch of ice on the upcoming roof-edge, and all thoughts became one: crud. There was no time to break the chant his body had begun, and he could only brace himself for pain as he and his junior both slipped on the out-of-place frost, as they respectively grabbed a fire escape and the next building’s edge. The older robber’s thoughts were racing now: Where had that ice come from? How could they possibly get out of this? And then, to top it all off, a pale hand yanked Tommy onto the roof above. The very next sound he heard were the rookie’s panicked screams. Everything Tommy said came to him as no more than blubbering gibberish, the sounds of a young kid met with an appalling foe. Heck, he could just barely make out a few pleas for mercy, even! Then he went silent… and a muffled thump could be heard. Who’s up there?! What’ve they done to Tommy - heck, what’ll they do to ME?! He was so engulfed in panic that he completely failed to notice a dark figure descending to hover behind him - that is, until the figure grabbed him by the back of the shirt and hoisted him onto the rooftop of his focus. As soon as he landed, he glimpsed a group of colorful, tall figures, and immediately began shooting with the pistol that had miraculously not escaped his grip this whole time. But just as he felt a sense of hope as he saw the figures being forced to dodge his bullets, he felt fingers press expertly at the back of his neck, and everything went dark as he joined Tommy on the ground. He woke again to find himself and Tommy frozen to a streetlight right across the street from the place they’d robbed, police surrounding them and deciding how to free them. •••••••• Some many feet below them, in the labyrinth of New York’s sewers, four brothers had caught wind of the robbery… but not of the arrest. Three of the four masked anthropomorphic turtles were standing in front of a large computer console, shifting on their feet with excitement. The fourth was rapidly typing in a frantic effort to locate the blip on their radar - the radar that told them where and when the city above needed them. “C’mon, Donny, ya gotta be quicker than this!” the red-masked one exclaimed. “The last thing we want is someone else doing our job before us for the seventh night this week!” “Raph, calm down! Putting more pressure on Donatello isn’t going to help!” his blue-masked brother scolded. “But Leo, Raph has a point! What’s the use of always searching if someone else will get all the glory anyway!?” the orange-masked one whined. Leonardo would have replied wisely to Mikey, but at that moment, Donatello let out a happy “Aha!” and pulled up a map of the route they’d need to take. He spun around in his chair to face them, only to find that they were already rushing towards the exit, leaving him to follow after as quickly as he could. As per the recent usual, it was raining in the city above, yet the group remained unfazed by this. After all, they were trained in the ways of the ninja, and who ever heard of a ninja who let a little rain get in their way? Instead, the group laughed, happy to finally have an excuse to leave the sewers again and kick some butt. They needed no map or GPS - this city was their city, and they might as well have had its map tattooed into their brains with how well they knew it. Unfortunately, it seemed that someone else knew it better. When they arrived at the robbed store, they saw that the two robbers had been frozen to the adjacent streetlight, the police already beginning to break them out of the ice, and the stolen property all returned to the little store. “AGAIN?! Every night for a WEEK this has happened! Who the heck’s trying to steal our job?! And HOW are they doing it?!” Raph griped loudly, head in his hands. “ Why the heck are we even BOTHERING to come out, anyway? At this rate, we might as well just hang up our masks and weapons and put our hopes and dreams out of their misery…” Michaelangelo sighed. However, Leonardo had let his brothers’ voices fade into the background. His eyes had caught several glints of light on metal from the nearby rooftops. Not just from air conditioning systems, either. No… these glints were moving. He watched for a few seconds longer, letting the glints reveal the forms of six rather tall humanoid figures jumping from one building to the next over and over again. And they weren’t just “taller than most humans” tall. These figures were “taller than ANY human” tall, at heights averaging about seven feet. The differing colors of the figures intrigued him, as did the fact that they appeared heavily armored. Their heads, or, at least, what he could see of them, seemed to be shaped so strangely. As he watched, though, yet another confusing event occurred. One of the figures seemed to feel his gaze on it, for it turned to look in the turtles’ direction… and he saw that its eyes glowed. It wasn’t a mere trick of the light - couldn’t be. That was by no means light simply being reflected, as often happened with the eyes of cats. These had their own light, brilliant gold-green light from the figure’s pupils that seemed to judge him as the figure met his gaze. What the heck were these figures? Why were they here, and how? After what seemed like hours, the stare-off between himself and one of them ended as the figure shifted his or her gaze away and followed its companions into the night. He was brought back to the present as Raph shook his shoulder, grabbing his attention. “Leo? Leo?! What’re you starin’ at? What is it?” “…Oh, nothing, just… thought I saw something.” Raph could tell his brother really had seen something, but knew better than to inquire about it now. Instead, he gestured with his head to their purple-masked brother, saying, “C’mon. Donny wants to get a sample of the ice that had those guys trapped against the lamppost. He needs us to cover for him.” A few smoke-pellets and one quick getaway later, the four brothers were heading home.
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