In a small apartment in New York, a figure sat in front of his television, watching the news with a vicious scowl.
“And in other news, the turtle creatures remain at large, despite police efforts to bring them in. Because of this, Chief Vincent is offering a reward for anyone with information that could lead to their capture.”
The figure smiled maliciously, rising from his seat and turning off the television.
“I wonder what yer offerin if ya manage to bag one.” he remarked, walking over to a rifle he kept on a shelf.
He gave it a look over before brandishing it like a hunter, a large smile poking out from under his thick mustache.
Down in the sewer, everyone was looking over a map of the entire sewer system, several red x’s dotting it. Donny had a red marker in his hand, already adding yet another x.
“This tunnel collapsed last month, so crews are still down there trying to clean it up.” He reported. “That means this entire section is off limits.”
“So that’s out.” Leo replied. “What about the north-west tunnels?”
“We already scoured that section for anything usable.” Raph declared. “Nothing big enough.”
“Well, there’s that old drainage junction.” Hisako offered, pointing at it on the map.
“Not structurally sound.” Donny shot down. “Floor could give out beneath you.”
“How about this section here?” Mikey suggested.
“Too close to the old lair.” Leo argued. “Even with the Foot no longer a threat, I’d prefer not going there any longer than we have to.”
“Especially since that’s where I got arrested and cops will be checking the place out.” Hisako added.
“So we need somewhere isolated, away from anywhere we’ve been sighted, and structurally sound.” Donny listed off.
Mona Lisa let out a sigh.
“When I asked for suggestions on where to find a place of my own, I did not expect it to become such an ordeal.” she declared.
“Hey, I promised we’d help you and we will.” Raph reassured. “Unfortunately, the sewers weren’t exactly meant to be lived in.
“And yet, here you all are.” Lisa pointed out.
Before any comments could be made on that, Splinter walked in.
“What is going on here?” he questioned.
“We’re searching for somewhere for Lisa to set up shop.” Hisako answered. “Unfortunately, real estate in the sewers is lackluster at best.”
“I see.” Splinter observed. “Lisa, you know you are welcome to stay with us for as long as you need.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I desire my own place.” She explained. “That, and using your absent daughter’s room is… disconcerting. I feel like a trespasser.”
“Well, if I may offer my opinion, there is the abandoned reservoir station on the west side of the city.” Splinter offered, pointing at it on the map. “It’s far from anywhere we have been sighted and long forgotten by the city. You will be safe there.”
The others looked at the location in contemplation.
“That… could work.” Leo declared.
“All the tunnels leading there are in good condition, and there’s are multiple routes to get there as well.” Donny noted. “It’s perfect!”
“Excellent!” Lisa proclaimed. “I will go and prepare my new home immediately.”
“I’ll come with you.” Raph offered. “Leo’s pretty insistent on the buddy system, and you don’t know these tunnels like we do.”
“Fair enough.” Lisa conceded. “I would enjoy your company anyway.”
Raph hopped up, grabbing his sai and sliding them into his belt. Donny tossed him his shell cell, then Raph hooked arms with Lisa, heading out of the lair.
“Be careful!” Leo warned. “And if you run into trouble, call us!”
“And don’t stay out all night!” Mikey called out.
Raph shot him a glare as he left, Hisako letting out a groan as she rolled her eyes.
“Get your mind out of the gutter, Mikey.”
“We live in the sewer.” Mikey replied. “Where else is it supposed to go?”
In another part of the sewers, the two lovebirds weren’t the only ones lurking around. The figure from before stalked through the stagnant water, his grip adjusting on his gun. He stepped into the light of a storm drain opening, revealing himself to be none other than Marlin.
“With those freaks being on the run, the only place they’d be safe is down ’ere in the gutter.” He declared. “And lucky fer me, I’m the only one that thought to look here.”
He peered around the corner, making sure the coast was clear before continuing on.
“I’d hate fer anyone else to get them before I got my chance.” he went on. “Those freaks humiliated me, made a fool outta me back in Northampton. I lost a prime chance at making it big by catching Bigfoot. Now, they’ll be my ticket to the big time, all of them.”
Meanwhile, Raph and Lisa continued to make their way through the tunnels and were making casual conversation along the way.
“I must admit, when you told me your family lived in the sewers, I was skeptical at first.” Mona Lisa began. “This begs the question, why do you constantly fight to protect the humans above you?”
Raph took a minute to answer, surprised by the question.
“Well… because it’s the right thing to do.” Raph responded.
“But they have done nothing to merit such treatment.” Lisa rationalized, hopping up onto the wall. “They hunt you, ridicule you, and force you down here. You have no reason to help them.”
“It ain’t really about what they’ve done for us.” Raph told her, following alongside her. “We knew from day one we were different, and that the surface world would never accept us. However, we also knew that it was just human nature. Humans are a superstitious and terrified bunch of idiots, but that doesn’t make them evil or out to kill us.”
He then stepped on something hard that made a beep as he did. The noise stopped them both in their tracks, their eyes slowly drifting down to the ground. Under Raph’s foot, hidden in the stagnant water, was what could only be described as a mine bomb.
“What the shell?” He let out.
“Raphael.” Mona Lisa said quietly. “Whatever you do, do not. Take your foot. Off that mine.”
“Noted.” Raph replied.
She surveyed the tunnel, spotting several more mines dotting the water. She cursed, remaining perched on the wall.
“This entire tunnel has been booby-trapped.” she informed him. “Someone is aware of your presence down here.”
“That ain’t good.” Raph let out. “It’s bad enough we got everyone huntin for us up there, we don’t need em down in the sewers.”
“Worse than that, I cannot get close enough to you to disarm that mine without setting off several myself.” Lisa lamented.
She looked around, trying to come up with an idea. After a moment, she got one.
“Stay here.” she insisted, crawling up onto the ceiling high above him.
Raph watched her go, more than a little worried about the mine under his foot. Before he could get too worried, something long and pink stretched down and wrapped around his arm. Suddenly, he was yanked upward, into the grip of Mona Lisa as the bomb went off below. This set off all the other bombs as the two clung to one another on the roof. The two waited until the last bomb went off, then looked out at the scorched tunnel. Raph let out a whistle at the sight.
“Nice save.” He remarked.
Lisa unfurled her tongue from around Raph’s arm, retracting it back into her mouth. She spat a few times as she did.
“I knew you were lying when you claimed you took a shower the day before.” she accused.
She then dropped him, the ninja landing on his feet easily as she dropped down next to him.
“Ok, we gotta find the whack bag who’s hunting us down here and shut him down.” Raph declared, punching into his hand.
“Agreed.” Lisa said with a nod. “If they are searching down here, then they may know where your family resides, and I fear mines may be the least of our worries.”
“No kidding.” Raph replied. “Let’s check the tunnels surrounding the lair.”
They shared a nod, then darted back the way they’d come. Unbeknownst to them, their actions had been caught on some secret cameras hidden in the tunnel.
In another part of the sewers, Marlin watched the two run off on a tablet. He swiped the screen, showing a different part of the tunnels as a grin grew on his face.
“Tis a shame they dodged the mines.” he lamented. “Still, they’ll lead me right to the whole family. I’ll get those turtle freaks, and have a giant salamander to boot.”
Marlin put the tablet away and readied his gun, moving through the tunnels.
Back with Raph and Lisa, they continued making their way through the tunnels. As they ran, Lisa’s foot snagged on a thin string hidden in the water. She yelped as she felt it, drawing Raph’s attention. He turned just in time to see thin metal turrets rising from the water. Raph thought fast and tackled Lisa out of the way before the turrets opened fire. They caused several high intensity lasers to fire, closing in on the pair.
“Run!” Raph screamed.
The two got up and ran away from the onslaught of laser blasts, the lasers closing in. Thinking fast, Raph drew a bunch of shuriken from his pocket, striking several of the laser turrets. Lisa also pulled out a laser sword and used it to deflect some of the lasers. This sent the blasts right back at the source, eliminating them all. Raph glanced over at her sword, blinking in surprise.
“Since when did you have that?” he asked.
“It was G’Throkka’s.” she explained. “I held onto it.”
“Whoa.” Raph remarked.
With the last of the turrets dealt with, the two took a moment to breath. As they did, Raph caught a glint of something hidden in the shadows. His eyes narrowed in suspicion as he stalked towards it, spotting a tiny camera hidden there.
“Looks like we got an audience.” Raph noted.
Lisa perked up at that.
“It seems our hunter is craftier than we anticipated.” she mused. “Perhaps they were hoping to follow us back to your home, or at least learn its general location before we met our demise.”
“He’s good, I’ll give him that.” Raph admitted. “But he’s not gonna get us that easily.”
He got up right in front of the camera and gave it a big grin.
“Hey!” he shouted. “The pansy hiding behind some cheap tricks and a camera! Why don’t you come out here and fight us mano y monsters! That is… unless you’re a big chicken!”
On the other end, Marlin growled in response to Raph’s comments. He shut off the tablet again, stomping towards where Lisa and Raph were located, determined to take them down at any cost. He pulled out his phone, opening a speech app and speaking into it.
“Alright Turtle-boy.” he declared. “You wanna showdown? I’ll give ya a showdown.”
Both Lisa and Raph jumped when they heard Marlin’s voice echoing from down the tunnel.
“Hello freak.” He called out. “Ya caught onto my scheme sooner than I thought you would.”
“You’d be surprised how quick turtles can actually move.” Raph remarked.
“Oh I know firsthand just how slippery you freaks can be.” Marlin told him. “Though the salamander is a surprise. Perhaps I’ll mount her head right next to yours!”
“Try it, and you’re in for a world of pain, pal.” Raph swore.
“Then come stop me, monster.” Marlin challenged. “Unless all that bravado is just an act to impress the lassie.”
A noise came from down the tunnel Marlin’s voice had been heard.
“Oh, bring it on, pal!” Raph declared, running after the noise.
“Raphael, wait!” Lisa tried to warn.
Raph didn’t hear her, intent on going after Marlin. He darted towards a fork in the tunnel, heading to the left. By the time Lisa reached the fork, he was already gone. She cursed under her breath.
“Rakkan frood!” She exclaimed, taking off to the right on a limb.
With Raph in the left tunnel, he eventually came across Jack Marlin. The Hunter was leaning against the wall, running a cloth over his gun while his hat covered his eyes.
“Well, well, ya finally caught me.” he announced. “Too bad the lizard took a wrong turn.”
“Probably for the best,” Raph remarked. “You can barely handle me, both of us would have just been too much.”
“We’ll see about that, freak!” Marin challenged.
The cloth dropped from his hand and Marlin fired at Raph. Raph brought his sai up in just the nick of time, blocking a dart from hitting him.
“That all ya got?” Raph taunted.
Marlin just growled in response as he continued firing, Raph spinning his sai to block each dart. Marlin grew more and more impatient with each shot. Marlin continued the assault though, hoping to wear the turtle down and get a shot in on him.
“Ya know, I was hopin for the blue one.” Marlin admitted. “Still, yer bettah than nothin’.”
“Well, he ain’t here.” Raph told him. “You’re gonna get your butt kicked by me, so deal with it.”
Raph pressed forward, swiping at Marlin with his sai and forcing the man to dodge. Marlin noticed the hard edge to his voice, as well as the fire behind his attacks. A plan forming in his head, he got to work.
“At least that one put up a decent fight.” Marlin jeered. “I’ve seen declawed kittens fight harder than you.”
“You want a fight, pal?!” Raph cried out, throwing one of his sai at him.
Marlin dodged it before shooting again. The shot rebounded off his shell, but he was getting closer.
“Ya call tossin yer weapon at someone a fight?” Marlin challenged. “How ya managed te survive this long I’ll never know. I woulda had you stuffed and mounted on my wall inna heartbeat, right next ta tha rest of ya freaky family.”
“That’s it!” Raph declared.
He charged forward at Marlin, looking to skewer him. Marlin leveled his gun with Raph and fired. This time, the dart hit him right in the neck. Raph suddenly dropped to the ground, his sai’s slipping from his limp fingers as he collapsed into a pile.
“All too easy.” Marlin remarked.
Lisa continued to follow the left tunnel, searching for any sign on Raphael. So far, she had come up empty and was beginning to realize she had gone down the wrong tunnel. Her suspicions were confirmed when she reached the end of the tunnel to find that is dropped off into a drainage junction, one with no alternative exits.
“Rakka-rakka!” She screamed, pounding on the side of the wall. “Curse this incomprehensible labyrinth!”
She immediately turned around and ran back the way she came. When she reached the fork, she grabbed the wall, making the turn as tight as possible before heading down the left path at top speed. As she ran, she stepped on something hard that made her yelp, stopping in her tracks. She went to kick the offending hazard, but stopped short when she realized what it was.
“No...” she let out.
It was one of Raph’s Sais, stuck in the mud and half sunk due to her stepping on it. She bent down to pick it up, noticing the fishing line attached to it a second too late. The line pulled taunt and a net gun activated, catching Lisa and suspending her partially in the air.
“What the-?!” She let out.
She struggled in the net, trying to get her bearings. When all she did was entangle herself further, she stopped, taking a few breaths to calm herself. She then gripped Raph’s sai and began using it to saw through the ropes. As she did, she could hear footsteps approaching, which only spurred her to work faster.
“Come on…” she muttered. “Come on…”
Finally, she cut a hole big enough to dump her back into the mud. The second she landed, she scrambled to her feet and dove for the shadows, mere moments before Marlin rounded the corner. He looked at the torn net, rubbing his forehead in surprise.
“Blimey.” He let out. “The other one must’ve bolted. Then again, if this salamander is anything like ‘er friends, she’ll be comin’ fer the red one soon.”
With that, Marlin left, allowing Lisa to slip out of her hiding spot.
“You will see how like my ‘friends’ I am soon enough.” Lisa swore before following after him.
After letting out a slight groan, Raph slowly came to. He became aware that he was moving, and that he was heavily tied up. His eyes opened and he found himself in a cage being dragged through the tunnels on a dolly.
“What the…” Raph let out.
The dolly stopped and the cage was suddenly dropped into an upright position. Before Raph had a chance to regain his senses, Marlin bent down so he could look into the cage.
“Well, well, yer awake.” he mused. “Bout time. Was worried I juiced ya too much.”
“Don’t worry, I’m still gonna kick your ass when I get out of here.” Raph reassured.
“I don’t see how that’s possible, mate.” Marlin informed him. “I doubt even you could weasel yer way outta them ropes, and even in ya did, dis cage is locked by an electronic remote. Ya ain’t getting out unless I want ya to.”
“You think you’re the first nut job to lock me up?” Raph remarked. “Trust me, this is nothing compared to what I’ve been through.”
“Yer right.” Marlin agreed. “Cause unlike the saps from before, I actually caught ya, and I intend ta keep ya. At least until I hand ya over to the coppers for that sweet reward. Yer gonna make me a very rich and very famous man.”
“Ya couldn’t do that by hosting a reality show or something?” Raph jeered.
Marlin kicked the cage hard, jarring Raph slightly.
“Let’s see how smart that mouth is when yer on an autopsy table.” Marlin sneered, grabbing the dolly and continuing his trek. As they continued along, Raph struggled in his ropes, trying to get them to loosen. They held fast, which only made Raph struggle harder, kicking the bars of his cage.
“Let me out of here, you weasely son of a cockroach!”
“I think I liked ya better asleep.” Marlin muttered. “Ain’t too late to fix that before goin after yer little friend.”
“Leave them out of this.” Raph demanded.
“Fat chance ah that.” Marlin promised. “Yer time in this city is done.”
The two eventually exited the tunnels, reaching a large drain that led to the Hudson. There, Marlin had parked his van, the back doors open in anticipation for his captured quarry. He got Raph’s cage loaded onto a special lift that pulled it into the back. At this point, panic was truly beginning to set in, and he feared that Lisa wouldn’t find him. However, as Marlin slammed the back doors shut, he saw something discretely stuck in the storage pocket of the door. It was a kunai knife with a red tassel, one Raph had given Lisa earlier in the week as a gift. He smirked, realizing what the message was.
“Alright, freak.” Marlin called out as he got behind the wheel of his car. “Say goodbye to yer freedom.”
He then tried to turn on the car, but all he got was a click of the transmission. He tried it again, but the same results happened.
“Wha’ in blazes is goin on?” He let out.
“Aww, what’s the matter?” Raph teased. “Car trouble?”
“Can it, you!” Marlin called out, getting out to check the engine.
He opened the hood, reeling back when he found that his engine had been torn apart with a laser sword.
“What the devil?!” He exclaimed.
Suddenly, the hood came crashing down on his head, disorienting him. He stumbled back and saw Lisa standing there, seconds before she punched him in the face. He fell and Lisa quickly searched his pockets, finding the remote for the cage. She then threw the doors of the back open and used the remote on the cage. The door swung open as Lisa grabbed Raph by the ankles and dragged him out.
“Why is it that I am always saving your life?” She questioned.
“Hey, I ain’t complaining.” Raph remarked. “Just glad you found me.”
Lisa grabbed her kunai from the door and was about to cut Raph free when Marlin suddenly came up behind her. He grabbed her from behind, trying to wrestle the knife out of her hand. The two tussled for a bit, trying to gain the advantage over the other. As the fight continued, the knife fell out of both of their hands, sliding towards Raph on the ground. He grinned, working his way towards the knife as Lisa continued her wrestling match with Marlin.
“You are strong… for a humanoid.” Lisa admitted, struggling to keep him at bay. “I’ll give you that.”
“You should see me against a crocodile.” Marlin remarked.
“I’d like that.” Lisa told him. “I know one who would eat you in a heartbeat.”
As this went on, Raph finally managed to get ahold of the knife and began sawing away at his bindings. Marlin meanwhile managed to punch Lisa in the face before throwing her to the ground.
“Sorry love.” Marlin told her. “But it looks like the hunt is-”
Before he could finish, Raph sucker punched him across the face, the remains on the ropes dangling from his wrists.
“Nobody hurts my girlfriend.” He swore before offering Lisa a hand.
Lisa took the hand and they both got up. Shaking his head in pain, Marlin drew a pistol from his belt, aiming it at the two. Raph noticed this and quickly tackled Lisa out of the way before a shot rang out. It collided with the side of the van as the two scrambled for safety.
“I wanted ta bring ya alive, but I guess that ain’t gonna work!” Marlin shouted, letting out two more shots. “Guess tha coppers will have ta settle for ya cold, dead bodies!”
“Or you could just surrender!” Raph called back.
That got him nearly shot in the foot. He yelped and they kept moving, Marlin keeping them pinned behind the van.
“Well this is a fine mess we’re in.” Lisa muttered. “How do we get out of this?”
Raph thought for a moment, then saw they were on the side where the gas tank was. He grinned, then grabbed Lisa’s plasma sword.
“I’ve got an idea.” He told her before using the sword to cut through the tank and allow the gas to leak out. “Alright, now when I say run, we run.”
Just then, Marlin came around and aimed his gun at the two of them.
“Run!” Raph cried out.
The two bolted just at the hunter fired his weapon, the sparks from the gun igniting the gas fumes. Everything suddenly exploded, forcing Lisa and Raph into the ground. The two slowly pulled themselves up and looked towards the smoking wreck of the van.
“That was your plan?” Lisa questioned.
“Well… for the most part.” Raph replied.
“What’s the other part?” Lisa asked.
“Getting the hell out of dodge before the cops come and pray Marlin’s either dead or in a coma.” he answered.
“Good plan.” Lisa agreed as they got up and bolted back into the drainage tunnels.
A few minutes later, Marlin came to. He’d suffered serious burns and a massive concussion, but was still alive. He was being tended to by doctors who were all wearing surgical masks and glasses to obscure their faces, and men in black suits were all over the scene. One of the doctors noticed his movement and turned towards the men.
“Agent Bishop, he’s awake!” they called out.
Marlin turned his head slightly as Bishop came up to him.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Marlin?” Bishop inquired.
“Like a croc chewed me up and spit me out.” Marlin answered. “But I’ll feel better once I nab those freaks.”
“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.” Bishop told him. “It is clear that you are a danger to yourself and to the city.”
“What?!” Marlin let out. “You can’t be serious!”
“Very serious.” Bishop told him. “As of right now, you are in EPF custody. Leave the turtles to us.”
The doctors tending to Marlin then pushed him onto a gurney, strapping him to it. He fought as hard as he could, but it just wasn’t enough. He was loaded into the back on an unmarked van before the doors slammed shut and he was carted off. Bishop then sighed, looking at the burnt-out wreck of Marlin’s van.
“This situation is escalating far faster than I had anticipated.” Bishop realized. “If we’re to resolve this, we’re going to have to act.”
Meanwhile, the two fugitive mutants finally reached Lisa’s new digs. The reservoir station, while dusty and in need of some TLC, was in surprisingly good condition.
“So, what do you think?” Raph asked.
“I imagine making this dwelling suitable for living will keep me busy, but I am certain it will be worth the effort.” she answered.
“And you won’t be doing it alone.” Raph reassured, taking her hand.
“The sentiment is appreciated, but you must return to your family.” she reminded him. “They will no doubt be worried about you, and someone must inform them of Marlin’s death traps.”
“Yeah…” Raph agreed hesitantly. “I just… I don’t like the idea of leaving you alone again.”
“Raphael, I promise I will be fine.” she assured him. “You are needed elsewhere. Besides, it is not like I am a galaxy away this time. Once things settle down, we will see each other again.”
“I know it’s just… that might be a while.” Raph lamented.
“And it will be worth every moment.” Lisa reassured before kissing him.
They held each other and embraced, and for a brief moment, the worries of the world melted away, leaving just the two of them.