Raphael threw himself against the Plexiglas door of his cell, trying with all his might to try and bust through it. He punched it, kicked it, and threw his entire body weight against it, but his efforts did absolutely nothing. Still, that did not deter his attempts, despite the growing bruises on his arms and knuckles that appeared as he did so.
“Raph, stop!” Leo shouted. “All your doing it hurting yourself. Just stop!”
Raph stopped for a moment, leaning against the glass as he tried to catch his breath. Through the transparent door of his personal prison, the red turtle could see his brothers and his sensei, their cells arranged in a circular pattern. They had all been stripped of their weapons, their clothes, and even their masks, given only bluish-gray hospital garbs identical to the ones Hisako had been wearing when they found her oh so long ago. The five of them were also sporting metallic collars around their necks, and when Raph had tried to pull at it, he’d nearly electrocuted himself in the process.
Feeling he’d rested enough, Raph got back to his feet and resumed his futile escape attempt. Throwing himself against the door once more, he tried desperately to escape, memories of the way his sister had been in the beginning fueling his resolve.
“Raph enough!” Leo pleaded, pressing himself against the Plexiglas of his own cell. “Please, enough!”
“Raphael.” Splinter called out, his voice laced with worry. “Your body cannot take much more. Please my son, for your own sake.”
Raph paused after another attempt at the door, leaning against the glass as he breathed heavily.
“I can’t, sensei.” He informed him, gritting his teeth through the pain of the various bruises across his arms. “Hisako’s in here somewhere, waiting for us to save her. I’m not gonna let her down.”
“Raph, I’ve done the calculations.” Donny informed him from where he was sitting in his cell. “These doors are made out of a military grade, bullet-proof Plexiglas. The cells are lined with the same metal used in armored tanks. It is physically impossible to break through, no matter how many times you try.”
Raph let out a loud growl, punching the glass as tears of frustration began to pour down his face. He slid down to his knees, his forehead against the glass as unbidden tears began to fall. Mikey watched his brother, surprised to see those tears fall. The orange turtle curled up into a ball, hugging his legs and wishing he had the ability to just curl up in his shell.
“What’s he gonna do to us?” he whimpered, his overactive imagination already providing him with horrifying scenarios that terrified the orange turtle.
“I don’t know Mikey, but we can’t just give up.” Leo told him.
“Leo…” Donny began. “We have no weapons, no back-up, and these collars can electrocute us if we so much as sneeze in a way Stockman doesn’t like.”
“Or if the sadistic whack bag decides he wants to watch us squirm.” Raph added bitterly.
“I’m sorry Leo, but we’ve lost.” Donny informed his brother, his eyes downcast.
Leo looked around at his brothers, then at his sensei. As a child, Leo always knew he could count on his father to have the answer to any problem that they faced. Now he turned to his father once more, desperate for a way to save his family.
“Sensei…” he called out, his voice quiet from the growing sense of hopelessness. “Is there any way for us to get out of here.”
Splinter glanced at his son, his eyes drifting to the rest of his children, who were now turning to him.
“I am afraid one has yet to present itself to us.” Splinter replied. “But do not lose hope. We must not allow ourselves to fall into despair, or we will only leave ourselves open to the manipulations of that madman.”
“Your little group seems to favor addressing me as mad.” Stockman’s voice remarked from the entrance to the cell block.
All five mutants turned towards the door as Stockman sauntered into the room, his entire form practically brimming with a malicious pride.
“I see you all are getting acquainted with your new living quarters.” he said with a cruel undertone to his voice. “What do you think?”
“Certainly ain’t the Ritz if that’s what you’re asking.” Raph snarled.
“You don’t like it?” Stockman asked. “I even gave you five your own cell block. Keep the family together as it were.”
“Well, maybe we can toss around some interior decorations,” Raph quipped sarcastically. “Like maybe… oh, I don’t know, your head on a spit!”
Stockman reached into his pocket, pulling out a small remote with a set of four buttons. He pressed down the red one and Raph’s collar began to spark. The red turtle howled in pain, falling to his knees.
“You’ll learn that a sense of humor does not last long in here.” Stockman said as he glared down at the turtle.
“Enough!” Splinter shouted, rising from where he had been kneeling.
Stockman turned, releasing the button and allowing Raph to sag to the ground. He then sauntered over to Splinter who rose to meet him.
“I believe your name is Splinter, yes?” He asked. “Your ‘sons’ called you that, along with Sensei, the Japanese word for teacher.”
“Is this petty knowledge supposed to impress me?” Splinter asked, his voice even despite the seething rage in his eyes.
“Oh, no.” Stockman replied. “I imagine you are not one who is easily impressed. I, on the other hand, find myself greatly impressed by you and your sons. You are the first mutants I have ever encountered that were not engineered in my lab. Tell me, where did you come from?”
“You hold my daughter captive, you torment my sons, you hold us all against our will, and yet you expect me to disclose secrets of our past to you? You truly are a madman.”
Stockman let out a phony sigh.
He pressed down on the blue button on the remote. Leo lurched backwards, grabbing at the collar in an attempt to try and alleviate the pain.
“Leo!” the other three turtles screamed.
Splinter pressed himself against the glass of his cell, watching in horror as Leo fell to the ground, still struggling to resist the currents going through him.
“My son!” he cried out.
“What kind of father allows his children to suffer like that?” Stockman taunted.
Splinter glared at Stockman before closing his eyes and relenting.
“Very well...” he seethed.
“Excellent.” Stockman replied, releasing the button.
Leo gasped for breath as he laid on the floor of his cell, sweat pouring from him as he did. Splinter looked at his son, then glared at Stockman.
“I’m waiting.” Stockman told him, dangling the remote in his fingers.
“We were not created in a lab.” Splinter explained with great reluctance. “It was an accident that turned us into what we are. An accident caused by your company.”
Stockman blinked, then stroked his chin in thought. Then, he remembered an accident almost 18 years ago.
“Wait a moment.” he whispered. “There was this shipment of mutagen that was hijacked about that long ago… There were reports of property damage and lives lost… Is that the accident you speak of?”
Splinter’s silence was all the answer the doctor needed.
“Ha!” Stockman laughed. “I knew there would be side effects of a mutagenic spill like that, but never could I have imagined this! Five perfect mutant specimens without a single trace of any mental abnormalities!”
“Is it just me, or does Stockman sound like us on Christmas?” Mikey whispered to Donny.
“The way he’s looking at us, it’s like he’s sizing us up.” Donny whispered back. “I don’t like it.”
“Now there are a few questions I need answers to.” Stockman said, drawing Donny and Mikey’s attention once more. “I glanced at the report, and it said that a family of three lived there. They never recovered the remains of the father, so I’m assuming that was you.”
“Yes.” Splinter replied, the pain of the day he mutated returning in full force.
“Well then, what does that make your sons?” Stockman asked. “The report said that you never had any children outside of your daughter. Were these four your pets or something like that?”
Both Donny and Mikey winced, Leo and Raph also giving a small shiver despite the intense pain they were in. These gestures did not go unnoticed by Stockman. He began laughing so hard that he had to lean against the wall to stabilize himself.
“They were, weren’t they?!” he cackled. “This is priceless! You were so desperate for a family that you took mutated house pets on as your sons! How pathetic!”
Splinter couldn’t hold back his rage any longer. He banged his paws against the glass, glaring at Stockman.
“Unlock this door and I will show you just how ‘pathetic’ I truly am!” he snarled.
Stockman just continued laughing, his loud fit slowly dialing down to a small bout of giggles.
“I believe you.” Stockman replied, still snickering. “I believe you would do just about anything for your so-called family-”
Stockman paused, and Splinter could practically hear the gears turning in the mad doctor’s head.
“What?” Splinter demanded.
“It’s possible...” Stockman muttered to himself. “It just might work...”
“What might work?!” Splinter demanded again.
Stockman just smiled, placing his hand on the glass of Splinter’s cell.
“I do believe you have given me the answer to my Oracle problem.”
Stockman turned to the door leading into the cell block, opening it as a group of about 8 to 10 guards.
“Gather up the turtles and bring them to the S-Wing.” he ordered. “I think it’s time for a family reunion.”
Leo sat up, a sinking feeling in his gut of what this ‘family reunion’ would entail. The other three did the same, coming to similar conclusions. They were pulled out of their cells one by one, their hands chained behind them so they wouldn’t be able to escape. Splinter began pounding on the glass in desperation.
“Release them!” he shouted. “Don’t you dare lay a finger on my-”
Before he could finish, Stockman pressed the small black button on the remote. Splinter’s collar activated, sending the rat into a fit of convulsions.
“Sensei!” Mikey screamed.
“Stop it you sadistic-” Leo shouted.
“Quiet, lest you wish to suffer the same fate.” Stockman threatened.
Both Leo and Mikey clammed up, but Raph just struggled against the men trying to drag him away.
“You’re the one who’s gonna suffer when I get my hands on you!”
The door to the cell block closed, effectively silencing Raph’s threats.
“I think not.”
Hisako looked around, wishing she still wasn’t so weak after trying to maintain that coma for so long. She could barely make out her own thoughts, much less read another’s. This made it impossible for her to tell exactly where everyone was, and why she’d been inexplicably left alone after she’d awoken.
What are you planning, Stockman? And where are my brothers? I know I felt them. I know they’re here.
The door to her cell opened, pulling Hisako from her thoughts. She looked to see Stockman sauntering in, that cruel, arrogant grin plastered on his face. Hisako’s heartrate sped at the sight of him, which only seemed to make the man’s grin broaden.
“I’m glad to see you awake, Oracle.” he told her. “I was starting to get worried.”
Hisako’s fists clenched as she glared at Stockman. Though she was still visibly terrified, she was determined to try and be brave. Stockman noticed her efforts and chuckled.
“Ooh, feisty.” Stockman taunted. “What’s got you fired up?”
Hisako didn’t dare utter a word. She knew that if she did, she would clue him in to whatever her brothers had planned, and there was no way in hell she was going to let that happen. For the first time in however long she’d been locked in the god forsaken place, rescue was on the horizon.
“The silent treatment I see.” Stockman remarked, a smug smirk on his face. “Well, if you’re not going to tell me, perhaps I should try and guess.”
He began walking around Hisako’s table, his hand on his chin as he pretended to ponder on her behavior. Hisako kept her eyes locked on him, afraid to let him out of her sight for even a second.
“Ah.” He let out, giving a snap of his fingers. “Perhaps your newfound confidence stems from my latest acquisitions.”
The door to the cell hissed open again, and a set of familiar voices shouting in anger caused her heart to plummet. Tearing her gaze away from Stockman, she watched in horror as guards dragged the turtles into the room, forcing them into a row, and onto their knees. Hisako saw their hospital garbs and their collars, and it was as if her entire world came crashing down around her.
“I’m assuming my hunch was correct, judging from your expression.” Stockman jabbed.
Hisako met eyes with her brothers as Mikey attempted to smile at her.
“Hey sis.” he called.
“No…” She let out, tears of abject terror and horror rolling down her face. “Please no…”
“Hisako I am so sorry.” Leo apologized, attempting to rise before being forced back to his knees. “We tried to save you…”
“And if you have any hopes of anyone else coming to your rescue, you should know that these four creatures aren’t the only ones we caught sneaking into this facility.” Stockman commented.
Hisako’s head snapped back to Stockman, her eyes brimming with disbelief. Stockman relished the picture, adjusting his glasses as he glared down at them.
“The rat was quite an interesting catch, a human mutated into a rat.” Stockman commented. “I never could gather the necessary subjects for human testing, there was always someone who would look for them, even the homeless. It will be quite enjoyable to see all of the physical and genetic differences a human trial brings.”
“Splinter…” Hisako choked.
Raph struggled harder at the thought of Stockman experimenting on his father.
“You ain’t gonna lay one finger on him ya-”
Stockman held up the remote and Raph clammed up. Hisako’s fists clenched tighter, her knuckles turning white and blood seeping through her palm from where her nails broke skin. The heartrate monitor and brainwave monitors still attached to her began to beep more frantically with every passing second.
“Once I figure that out, I’ll see what effect the mutagen has on my two new human subjects.” Stockman continued, keeping that remote in his hand. “Sure it may take some time to ensure Miss O’Neil and Mr. Jones disappear, but it will be worth it to discover what else the mutagen has to offer.”
“April… Casey…?” Hisako croaked.
“We needed their help sis.” Donny told her, looking down. “It was the only way we could get in.”
“Oh yes, and I can’t forget about Project Leatherhead.” Stockman listed off, completely ignoring the idle comments between Hisako and the turtles. “I do thank you for bringing him back. He truly is one of a kind… unlike you four.”
Hisako’s heart lurched at the way Stockman worded those last three words, and she wasn’t the only one. The four turtles all had their eyes locked on the mad doctor. Stockman looked over at the array of tools still laying on a tray beside Hisako’s table. He surveyed them each individually before settling on what looked like a small knife with a serrated edge. Hisako didn’t need to read his mind to know what he had planned.
“Stockman, no!” Hisako screamed.
Once more, Stockman ignored her. He simply turned to the turtles and pointed at them.
“Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.” he muttered, pointing at the turtles with each word. “Catch a turtle by the toe.”
“Stop it!” Hisako shouted, her cries followed by an increasing beat from the brainwave monitor.
“If it hollers, let it go. Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.”
His finger paused on Mikey. The orange turtle squeaked as Stockman grabbed him by the hair forcing his neck back as he placed the knife right up against the bare skin.
“Mikey!” Raph screamed, redoubling his efforts to free himself.
“Let him go!” Donny demanded, also trying to free himself.
“One of the benefits of having four identical specimens is I can afford to lose one or two.” Stockman proclaimed, running the blade up and down Mikey’s throat at the orange turtles remained as still as possible.
“Please, stop this!” Hisako begged, tears flowing freely as the brainwave monitor became erratic.
“It’s time that I remind you of who is in charge here.” He sneered. “And perhaps with the demise of one of these mutated reprobates, it will finally penetrate that abnormally thick skull of yours.”
The lights began to flicker, drawing the turtles, and the guards’ attention. The brainwave monitor was beginning to spark, and a strange halo of green energy was beginning to form around Hisako.
“Say goodbye, Oracle.” Stockman said before slicing.
The knife barely made it a quarter of the way across Mikey’s throat before everything exploded. The lights blew out, the brainwave monitor shorted out and caught fire, and all of the straps holding Hisako in her table utterly disintegrated. A wave of green energy suddenly pulsed through the facility, throwing Stockman away from Mikey and the guards off of the turtles. The chains binding their arms were reduced to ash and the collars on their necks shorted out, unlocking and falling in their lap. Immediately, Donny ran to Mikey.
“You okay?” he asked, checking Mikey’s neck for any wounds.
“I think so.” Mikey muttered, clutching the small cut. “Is it bad?”
“He didn’t hit any arteries, so you’re luck there.” Donny informed him.
While Donny took care of Mikey, both Raph and Leo were staring at Hisako.
“Guys.” Leo whispered. “Look.”
The turtles all looked to see Hisako rising off of her table, and not in the normal way. She was floating inches above the ground, that halo of green energy surrounding her. The electrodes attached to her head went flying off of her as her long hair began to regrow at a rapid pace. Her eyes were closed, but when she opened them, they were solid green.
“Hisako?” Raph whispered.
Hisako didn’t seem to register her brother. Instead, her gaze locked on Stockman, who was currently trying to get back up.
“Stockman.” she said, her voice sounding like it was a multitude of people talking at the same time.
Stockman got to his feet, only to come face to face with a pissed of Hisako. Before he could utter a word, she waved her hand, sending him flying into an adjacent wall.
She swiped her arm in the opposite direction.
She sent her hand up.
She then brought her hand down.
With every direction she sent her hand, Stockman and various other objects and debris went flying that direction. By the time she had him floating before her, he looked like he’d been in a grudge match with the entire WWE. He let out a pained cough as she glared at him.
“What are you going to do…?” He asked her, his voice wet and wheezy from the severe mental beating he’s received. “Kill me?”
Hisako shook her head.
“No. That would be the easy way out.”
Hisako then brought up her free hand, plunging her fingers into the man’s skull. It was as if she was phasing right through him, though Stockman’s screams of pain and agony made it clear that this was not the case. The brothers all watch is a mixture of curiosity, fear, and worry as Hisako began to draw something out of the scientist’s skull.
It looked like a mass of green light, congealed into some sort of weightless blob. As she pulled it out of Stockman’s head, his eyes rolled back in his skull before he sagged In Hisako’s mental grip. She let him fall, the halo of energy releasing him and the various bits of debris. She herself soon touched down, though her body maintained the ethereal glow.
“H-Hisako?” Raph called out hesitantly.
“It’s still me Raph.”
Raph sighed in relief as Donny glanced at the mass still clutched in her hands.
“Sis… what is that?” he asked.
“His memories… All of them.”
With that, she closed her fist around the mass, crushing it into tiny dots of green light. These lights fluttered to the ground before disappearing all together.
“Now, he will never remember…”
As she said this, the green halo around Hisako slowly vanished, taking with it the strange wind. Hisako’s eyes returned to normal as she stumbled back, her strength leaving her, as well as consciousness. Leo quickly caught her before she hit the ground, picking her up and cradling her just like he had all those years ago.
“I got you sis.” he told her unconscious form.
That’s when a rumbling shook the lab. Everyone struggled to keep their balance as the tremor brought down some small debris.
“Uh, what was that?” Raph questioned.
“That telekinetic pulse must have compromised the structural integrity of the lab.” Donny surmised.
“English, brainiac!” Raph shouted.
“This place is gonna crumble down on top of us!” Donny shouted. “We need to get everyone else and get out of here!”
“Good idea!” Leo agreed. “Donny, you find April and Casey. Get them to safety.”
Donny disappeared in an instant as Leo continued dishing out orders.
“Mikey, you go find Master Splinter. He should still be in that cell block we were in.”
“On it, bro!” Mikey declared before running off as well.
Mikey vanished as Leo turned to Raph.
“Raph, you go get Leatherhead.” he ordered.
Raph bent down, picking up the knife that Stockman had planned to use on Mikey.
“Sure thing.” he replied before grabbing Stockman by his coat. “Right after I deal with this piece of sewer scum!”
“Raph, wait!” Leo shouted.
“Are you seriously defending him?!” Raph demanded. “After everything he’s done, after what he was going to do to Mikey?!”
“Hisako chose to spare his life.” He argued. “Like she said, death was the easy way out.”
“Well I’m making a different choice!” Raph snapped.
“And in doing so, you’d be dishonoring Hisako.”
Raph froze, the knife inches from Stockman’s throat.
“He was her enemy, and she made her choice.” Leo explained. “Honor it.”
Raph hesitated for a moment, then reluctantly dropped the knife.
“Alright.” he said as he dropped Stockman, stomping on the man’s stomach. “But only for her.”
“Fine by me.” Leo agreed as he adjusted his grip on Hisako, “Now let’s move!”
April and Casey stood in their cells, trying to figure out the source of the strange tremors that had begun to shake the lab. The guards and doctors who had been watching them and examining them had long since fled, probably evacuating.
“Casey, what’s going on?” April asked fearfully.
“I don’t know.” Casey admitted. “I’ve only got one good eye right now, and this cell doesn’t exactly have the best view.”
That’s when a guard suddenly came sliding across the ground, coming to a stop in between April and Casey’s cells. This guard was soon joined by another, and that’s when Donny came in, brandishing what looked like a busted water pipe as a weapon.
“Donny?” Casey gasped.
“Donny!” April shouted.
“Hey guys!” Donny called as he grabbed a keycard off of the guards. “I’m getting you out of here!”
As he unlocked the cells, Casey grabbed a key from a nearby desk, getting the collar off his neck before getting to work on April’s.
“Donny, what happened?” April asked. “What was that blast?”
“Long story short, Hisako.” Donny replied.
April’s collar went clattering to the ground as Casey met Donny’s eye.
“Wait, Greeny is the one behind this place crumbling like a house of cards?” he asked.
“Believe me, we’re all surprised.” Donny told him. “But that’s a topic for when we’re not about to get crushed.”
He grabbed April’s hand as April grabbed Casey’s. Together, they began running for their lives.
Mikey was able to remember the way he’d been taken with relative ease. The continuous rumbling of the shaking lab only helped to spur him into motion. He was running so fast that he nearly missed the pitiful mewling sound coming from one of the now opened labs. Heading back, Mikey spotted a tiny orange cat in a cage, shivering in fright.
“Aww, look at you.” Mikey whispered, slowly approaching the cage. “You’re so cute.”
The cat looked up at Mikey, desperation in his little eyes. Mikey pulled the cage open, gently ushering the cat out.
“Come on little guy, it’s not safe here anymore.”
The cat leaped into Mikey’s arms, the orange turtle gently petting it to calm it down.
“Don’t worry, little guy.” Mikey promised as he perched the cat on his shoulder. “I’ll get you out of here and give you a real home.”
As Mikey took off down the hallway once more, the cat began to nuzzle his face. Mikey giggled at the feeling.
“I’ve always wanted a pet.” he said. “I think I’ll call you… Klunk.”
Splinter meditated in his cell, trying to realign his spirit so he could figure out a way to escape. In the midst of his mantra, he heard the doors to the cellblock open. He intended to ignore whomever it was that was coming to disturb him, until he heard the familiar voice of his son.
“Sensei!” Mikey called. “Snap out of it!”
Splinter’s eyes flew open as he saw Mikey outside his cell, currently unlocking the door with a guard’s keycard.
“Michelangelo!” Splinter shouted, grabbing his son in a hug. “Where are your brothers? Where is-”
“We’ve got Hisako, Master Splinter!” Mikey exclaimed as he used a physical key to get the collar off Splinter’s neck. “You should have seen her! She went total Dark Phoenix on Stockman and freed us all! Well, she also did set the building to come down on top of us, but at least now she’s okay.”
“If she is safe, then that is all I need to know for now.” Splinter assured the orange turtle. “Now, let us regroup with the others.”
Leatherhead threw himself against the thick metal door of his cell, but his best efforts didn’t make a dent. Even with the reinforced steel that TCRI had used to construct his cell, the croc could feel the lab beginning to crumble. While he may stand a chance of surviving the building’s collapse, his friends did not.
“Release me!” He demanded, trying to claw through the door. “Now!”
Through the small slot that served as his only connection to the rest of the lab, Leatherhead could make out doctors and guards alike attempting to evacuate, going as far as to trample one another in desperation to escape.
“Sorry, freak!” one of the final doctors called out as they ran. “Looks like you’re gonna be a new croc-skinned rug!”
As this final doctor rounded the corner, a green arm came out and grabbed them, yanking them from Leatherhead’s view. There was the sound of a scuffle, then the doctor landed on his back, halfway hidden by the wall. That’s when Raph rounded the corner, searching the doctor for his key card.
“Now that wasn’t a very nice thing to say, now was it doc?” The red turtle quipped.
“Raphael!” Leatherhead shouted.
“Good to see you too, big guy.” Raph replied as he opened Leatherhead’s cell. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
“Where is Oracle?” Leatherhead asked as he pulled the collar off of his neck. “Is she safe?”
“Yeah, she’s fine.” Raph replied. “Apparently she can do more than mess with people’s heads.”
“What do you mean?” Leatherhead questioned.
“She’s the one responsible for this building about to fall down on us.”
“Yeah. Stockman made a horrible mistake of threatening Mikey and Hisako made him see the error of his ways. From what I’ve gathered, she destroyed his mind. He can’t remember his own name anymore.”
Leatherhead smiled, more than a little happy to know that the man who had ruined his life was now but a mere shell of himself.
Leo ran down the hallway with Hisako in his arms. He knew he needed to get her to safety, but unfortunately, that was proving to be more difficult than he had anticipated. With everything crumbling around him, the map he had mentally drawn up while being led through was proving inefficient.
“Damnit, where’s the exit?”
As he ran, he caught something out of the corner of his eye. It was a door with B. Stockman on the nameplate. It seemed to be plain office door, so Leo kicked it down. In the spacious office, Leo’s eyes locked on the weapons on display in a glass case.
“Our stuff!” Leo exclaimed with a grin.
Leo gently put Hisako down in the large office chair as he tore the desk drawers out of the desk. It took a few tries, but he soon found the keys to the case, as well as their shell cells and Donny’s remote to the Shellraiser. He snagged it all, depositing the phones and remote into Hisako’s lap as he raided the cabinet.
“Gonna need a way carry all this stuff, and you.” Leo said as he filled his arms with the weapons.
Leo looked to see a discarded lab coat hanging on a coat rack by the door. The blue turtle quickly filled the various pockets with the smaller weapons, shell cells, and the remote. He then slid the coat on Hisako, pulling her back onto his shell and using his swords and Donny’s staff as extra support.
“Alright sis.” He told her as he made sure she was secure. “Now let’s get out of here.”
Donny got to the elevator shaft first, holding Casey and April close to shield them from the falling debris.
“Where is everyone?” April questioned.
“They’ll be here April.” Casey replied. “Just hang on.”
Proving him right, Raph came barreling towards the elevator, Leatherhead hot on his tail.
“See, told you.” Casey said with a smile.
Mikey and Splinter rounded a corner, and when the rat saw his other sons, he grabbed them in an embrace.
“My sons, you are safe.” He said with no small amount of relief.
That’s when April noticed Klunk on Mikey’s shoulder.
“Is that a cat?” she asked.
Mikey gently scratched Klunk behind the ear.
“I named him Klunk.” Mikey replied. “Isn’t he cute?”
Before April could reply, Splinter looked around a bit worried.
“Where is Leonardo and Hisako?” he asked.
That’s when Leo appeared.
“Sorry we’re late.” he greeted. “Couldn’t find the exit, but I did find some stuff we wouldn’t want to leave behind.”
Splinter pulled Hisako off Leo’s back, holding her close as tears rolled down his snout. Leo took the opportunity to redistribute their weapons.
“Oh yeah!” Raph cheered. “I was missing these!”
“Got more than those.” Leo replied. “Stockman had our shell cells, and this.”
He tossed Donny the Shellraiser remote, which the purple turtle caught before tucking into the side of his pants.
“Good thing he did.” he remarked, pointing down the elevator shaft. “Take a look.”
Everybody peered down the empty shaft, where they could see the remains of the elevator crashed into Fishface’s old tank.
“Uh oh.” Casey muttered as he pointed to the wreckage below. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to get out this way.”
“The scientists from down here must have released the car to make sure we couldn’t get out.” Donny surmised.
“And the path I made… It is gone.” Leatherhead added, gesturing towards the hole he created, which is now blocked by a piece of falling debris.
“Then how are we going to get out of here?” April asked.
Leo gently took Hisako back from Master Splinter, sliding the coat off of her. He propped her on his back before shredding the coat, using the strips to tie her onto his back so she wouldn’t fall.
“We climb.” He announced.
Donny pulled April onto his back as Raph grabbed Casey.
“You guys hold on.” Donny told them, “And everyone be quiet. We don’t know if anyone is waiting for us up there.”
Leo checked Hisako one last time, then jumped into the shaft, grabbing hold of the elevator cable still hanging before him. With practiced motions, he began to climb to freedom. Master Splinter followed closely afterwards, easily keeping up with his son. Donny went next, then Raph, then Mikey, making sure that Klunk remained safely on his shoulders. Leatherhead took the rear, preferring to climb up the walls of the shaft rather than climb the wire.
When they reached the top, Leo happily noted the large rock keeping the elevator doors open.
“We got lucky guys.” He hissed down the shaft before peering through the opening. “And there’s nobody up here.”
“The upper floors must have been evacuated already.” April surmised.
Leo jumped from the cable, grabbing hold of the edge of the elevator shaft so he could pull himself through. He then held out his hand for Splinter, and together, they pushed the door open the rest of the way so everyone else could get out.
“Okay, now what?” Casey asked. “It’s not like we can just walk out the front door and catch a cab.”
“Leave that to me” Donnie insisted, grabbing the remote.
He pushed the homing button as the building began to violently shake. It was becoming increasingly obvious that this building wasn’t going to last much longer.
“Don, tell me our ride’s here.” Mikey muttered, barely keeping balance.
There was a familiar sound of the Shellraiser pulling up alongside TCRI. Everyone looked down at it, relief on all their faces.
“Time to disappear guys!” Leo announced.
“But how will we get down there fast enough?” April asked.
The turtles all smiled, then Leatherhead grabbed both April and Casey, tucking them under his arms. With a running start, they all jumped out of the window, April screaming in terror as Casey shouted in delight. The group rebounded off of the other building and the outer walls of TCRI, aiding in safely making it to ground level. After a moment, the entire group landed safely on the roof of the Shellraiser.
“Okay… next time, warn us before you jump out of a sixth story window!” April screamed as Leatherhead dropped her and Casey.
“No time.” The turtles replied in unison.
Climbing off the roof, Mikey threw open the back doors as the group clambered in.
“With this place about to go down, emergency officials will be everywhere.” Donny remarked.
“Casey, you take the wheel.” Leo ordered. “You know where the garage is.”
“Where are the keys?” Casey asked as he slid into the driver’s seat.
“Sun screen.” Raph replied.
April took the passenger seat, knocking the screen down and handing Casey the keys.
“Next stop, anywhere but here!” He called out.
He gunned the engine, peeling out of the alley. As they made it onto the highway, the Hamato family all watched TCRI’s destruction. The building sank into the ground before folding in on itself, crumbling into dust with a loud, satisfying crash. The group of mutants all stared at the large cloud of dust emanating from the sight, signifying the end of TCRI.
“It’s gone.” Leatherhead whispered, staring at the smoking remnants with a disbelieving smile. “The source of my nightmares, the bane of my existence. It is finally gone.”
“Hisako is finally free.” Splinter whispered, gently stroking Hisako’s head.
“We’re all free.” Leo clarified.
With the realization that it was all over, the rush of adrenaline and nerves keeping them all awake faded away, One by one, every sagged forward joining Hisako in the land of unconsciousness. When the back of the Shellraiser fell silent, April looked back to make sure everyone was alright. When she saw everyone fast asleep, Hisako in the middle with all her brothers around her, unwilling to let their family go even in unconsciousness, April couldn’t help but smile at the sight.
“I can’t believe I ever questioned that they were Hisako’s brothers.” She commented as they drove into the rising sun.
The Master overlooked the efforts of his private Disaster Relief squad as they poured through the wreck of TCRI. He’d had to pull several strings to keep the media off the scene, and even more strings with the city to stave off any investigations. If Stockman had somehow survived the destruction of the lab, he would make him wish he hadn’t. Hun stood next to him, also surveying the damage.
“Sir! We found him!”
The Master turned to where he’d been called. There, he saw a pair of rescue workers pulling a piece of debris off of Stockman. The doctor was in horrible shape, though whether it was from his altercation with the turtles or from the building falling on him was anybody’s guess. Lucky for him, it seemed that a bent I-beam had kept him from getting fully crushed.
“Get him up.” he ordered.
Hun pulled Stockman up as he came to, obviously disoriented.
“What… what’s going on?” He asked. “What happened?”
“Stockman-” The master began.
“Who?” Stockman interrupted.
The Master paused, red flags going up. Stockman’s next words only cemented what he was already thinking.
“Who are you? And who is this Stockman?”
The Master growled in annoyance, gesturing for the rescue men to get Stockman out. Once Hun tossed the amnesiac doctor at them, they left, leaving the Master alone. The man’s usually calm demeanor snapped, causing him to turn and punch one of the remaining structural supports so hard that his knuckles broke.
“Master!” Hun shouted.
“Silence!” The Master shouted, not even register the pain as blood dripped down his hand. “TCRI is gone, Stockman has become useless, and all of his research was destroyed in the collapse! This entire operation has become nothing more than a cesspool of failure!”
“Not completely, sir!” One of the workers called out.
The Master looked, surprised as a few more rescue workers uncovered two slightly damaged, but still intact, holding cells. Inside were two of Stockman’s projects: Project Horns, and Project Tusks.
“What should we do with them?” One of the workers asked.
The Master looked at the two unconscious creatures, examining them.
“They could be of some use to me.” he decided. “Take them to my personal headquarters.”
They did as they were told as Hun made an observation.
“It would seem that Stockman was not strong enough to handle the four turtles and Project Oracle.”
“You are right.” The Master agreed. “Her power was much stronger than any of us could have ever predicted, and those turtles are far more skilled than I initially gave them credit for.”
He began to contemplate his next move carefully.
“Perhaps it is time to fall back on more… traditional methods. And I think I know just who to send.”