TAA4? FPE? Say What?
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Mikey woke up immediately from his well-deserved nap in front of the TV as he heard the kitchen smoke alarm's ever-annoying chirp.
"Mikey!" Raph yelled from the room over. "You forgot to turn off the oven again!"
"Aw snap," Mikey grumbled to himself as he flipped himself over and got into a standing position. "The pizza's gonna burn for sure."
He raced to the kitchen as the smoke alarm continued it's ominous beeping. When he finally arrived, the kitchen was ensconced in smoke, and he knew immediately that the white stove in the corner was the culprit. A pungent odor of burnt cheese and incinerated crust filled his nostrils as he rushed to get a flowery oven mitt that was hung on the side of the fridge.
Mikey ducked to the oven, coughing and fanning the air. He bent over and painstakingly opened the oven door and quickly reached out to behold his once-beautiful pizza, now a blackened crust and smoldering cheese, covered in burnt toppings that gave off enough of a terrible odor to make him gag.
"Whoa, what's going on here?" Leo asked from the doorway, waving the smoky air away from him and coughing violently.
"Look!" Mikey pouted. "My precious!" He flopped onto the ground, the pizza hot in his arms. "Ruined!"
Leo rolled his eyes and walked over to turn off the oven. "It's not your precious, Mikey," he said, pulling up a chair to reach and flick off of the still-beeping smoke alarm. "And besides, it's your own fault. How many times has Donnie and Master Splinter told you to stay in the kitchen when you're baking something so a situation like this-" He gestured to the smoke-filled room. "Doesn't happen?"
Mikey rolled back up, unhappy that he had gotten no pity from his eldest brother. "The same amount of times they've told you not to mess with the toaster."
"I-" Leo started as a pinkish blush started to crawl up his cheeks. "That's different."
Mikey snickered. "Sure, it is."
Leo sighed, wondering why he had even bothered to come into the kitchen. "That's enough, Mikey. Right now we've got to clean up this mess."
"What?" Mikey asked, looking around and gesturing to the perfectly-clean kitchen. "The smoke?"
"No, shell-for-brains," Leo said, rolling his eyes and grabbing his brother's face to turn it to the direction of the countertops, laden with flour, cheese, and other pizza-making utensils. "That mess."
Mikey laughed uncomfortably, knowing good and well that a mess like that would take hours to clean, even with two Turtles on the job.
"Oh. That mess."
"And voila!" Mikey cried from the island countertop as Leo put away the final spoon. "We're done!"
"You mean I'm done, Mikey," Leo grumbled. "You didn't do anything!"
"Tut tut, my good man!" Mikey reprimanded, smushing his fingers against his brother's lips. "Last time I checked, supervising does count as doing something."
Leo ripped away Mikey's fingers. "No, it does not!"
"You sure about that Leo?" Mikey asked in an annoyingly high-pitched voice as he leaned into Leo's personal face with an arched eyebrow. "You sure?"
"Uh-yes," Leo responded, backing away, knowing Mikey would have some completely illogical way to prove him wrong. He had grown used to it and was expecting it.
"Okay!" Mikey cried, walking out the kitchen jubilantly. He looked behind to see Leo staring at his retreating shell confusedly, expecting an annoying comeback. "Ha! Totally got him!" he giddily whispered.
Suddenly, he felt himself plow into a block of solid rock. "Ow!" He chirped as he rubbed his sore head.
"Watch where you're going!" Raph yelped. Heh, Mikey thought. Some solid block of rock.
"Sorry dude," He apologized as Raph glared at him through his jade green irises.
"Where have you been for the past two hours? Do I have to send out apology notes to all the innocent people you've annoyed?"
"For your information," Mikey retorted, praising himself mentally for using such a big phrase. "I've been in the kitchen with Leo."
"Have you burned anything yet? I mean-apart from whatever burned when I heard the smoke alarm earlier." Raph asked bemusedly.
Mikey sighed, his eyes filled with remorse. "Only the pizza."
"Huh," Raph grunted. "Shoulda known. Guess we'll have to order out again."
Mikey instantly perked up. "Antonio's?"
"Sorry, but no dice on early dinner tonight," Donnie called from the living room. "We've got bigger plans."
"And what would that include?" Leo asked, stepping out from the kitchen, drying his hands on a rainbow-colored towel. Mikey giggled at the sight of his fearless brother drying his hands like some kind of housemaid with a multi-colored hand towel.
"Look," Donnie called to his brothers as they all herded into the living room. "I just intercepted a message from the Kraang to some shady technology and chemical sellers called the TAA4." His eyes squinted at the tiny letters on the screen of his bulky laptop. "They're meeting at the Rock Bottom Boxing Club tonight, and exchanging some sort of...chemical."
Mikey's stomach grumbled loudly. He looked down, holding his tattling tummy. "Uh...but how does this affect me not getting to eat Antonio's tonight?"
His brother's all silenced him with a We're-Just-Barely-Tolerating-You glare, so he shut up and pretended to pay attention, twirling the ends of Raph's mask's tail absentmindedly since his were too short.
"Hmm..." Leo wondered aloud rubbing his chin. "But what would the Kraang want with human technology-er-chemicals?"
"That's the thing," Donnie answered. "I'm not sure who the sellers, the TAA4 even are. Maybe they're not even human. Aliens, perhaps."
Raph gagged, not liking the idea of battling even another species of aliens, although he was totally down with the fighting part. "Maybe the Kraang just decided that since they've decided to call Earth their home, they should just start adapting to the native technology and biochemistry?"
Donnie shook his head. "They can easily bring more Kraang technology back from Dimension X through the Kraang portal, so it's not like they'd ever bring themselves lower by using underdeveloped Earthen technology. Well..." Donnie paused. "Currently the portal's not functioning, but that's a minor detail."
"And besides," Leo added. "The Kraang are trying to make Earth more like Dimension X, or they were. By conforming through technology, they would be admitting they can't do what they planned."
Mikey felt like it was time for his turn to add something to the discussion. "Maybe it has something to do with the portal?" He asked.
Raph rolled his eyes. "They used up all their power cells months ago, and they've already failed at trying to transform Earth. Why would they need the portal anymore?"
"Yeah, and even if they did want to get it up and running again, they still need to find another power cell. I bet if they knew someone had one, they'd do anything to get their robotic hands on it." Donnie concluded.
Mikey's eyes opened wide. "Even kill?"
"Most likely," Donnie replied, his voice grave.
Mikey's dropped his eyes to the ground as he whispered "Whoa dudes."
Leo looked at Donnie like he was personally offended. "Donnie, don't go on telling him stuff like that. It's not true, anyways."
"And how would you know, Fearless Leader?" Raph retorted, his eyes imminent that he was itching for a fight.
Leo held up a hand in a talk-to-the-hand sort of way. "Save it Raph. Right now we've got to focus our energy on figuring out a plan."
Mikey snickered as Raph grumbled under his breath. Queen Leo strikes again!
"Anyways," Donnie grouched, returning their attention to his laptop screen where he was pointing. "You guys still haven't read the message yet."
"You already told us what it said," Raph pointed out. "What would be the point of reading it again?"
"Just do it already," Donnie griped, thrusting his laptop into their faces.
Mikey squinted to read the tiny, glowing, pink script.
Those which are known as the T Double A 4
Are required to meet with Kraang at the place
Which is known as the Rock Bottom Boxing Club at
The time which is known as 10 o' clock.
Those which are known as the T Double A 4 will bring to Kraang
A sample of that which is known as "hardened forensic
Power ethanol". Kraang will in that which as known as "pay"
Those which are known as the T Double A 4 with
That which is known as "high-technology computer parts".
"Wow," Raph breathed after he had read the message. "They even text in their weird Kraang way."
"Dude," Mikey agreed, running his hands across his face. "It's like they're in my head."
"Hardened forensic power ethanol?" Leo mused. "That's a chemical?"
"It's forensic power ethanol in it's solid form, yes," Donnie answered as he brought up a picture of the stuff on the screen.
"Whoa," Mikey whispered as he stared at the glowing rock before him. "That looks just like-"
"A Kraang power cell," Raph finished in wonder.
Donnie closed the image and brought them back to the original Kraang message. "But it's not. Forensic power ethanol, or FPE, is strictly human. If you break down the covalent bonds, you can see it has a relatively simple composition compared to other more alien compounds."
"Uh...care to break that down for us, Donnie?" Mikey asked in confusion.
"You mean just for you?" Raph argued. "The rest of us understood it perfectly."
Leo raised an eyebrow at his brother challengingly. "No, no, I didn't understand it either. Raph, why don't you explain it to us?"
Raph blushed. "No, I-I don't think that's a good idea. Why don't you have Donnie explain it to you?"
"But didn't you say you understood what he said perfectly?" Leo questioned, a smirk growing on his face.
"Oh well," Raph said, shrugging his shoulder in mock nonchalance. "Looks like I've forgotten it now. Better have the science expert explain it to you instead!"
Mikey snickered. Leo had definitely got him that time. Raph turned around and thumped Mikey's head. "Shut up!"
Donnie just looked at the trio with a bored and annoyed expression. "As I was saying, basically, if you break down FPE to its basic molecules, you will see that it is very simple in comparison with other alien chemicals," he explained, speaking in a slow, sardonic voice as to assure everyone would understand him this time.
"Ohhh," the three chorused in unison.
"And what does that have to do with this mission again?" Leo asked, looking at the clock, seeing it was already 8:30 and the message had said that the meeting would be at 10:00.
Donnie raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Nothing. I was just proving to you that FPE was indeed an Earthen chemical."
"Meanwhile, we still don't have a plan," Leo finished, massaging his eyes in exhaustion.
"Wait!" Mikey called, and his brothers turned to look at him with grim tolerance. "How do we even know the TAA4 or whatever even got the message and will be there since Donnie intercepted it?"
"Whoa, Mikey," Raph said, awed. "You actually asked a legitimate question this time." Leo slapped his arm patiently and waited for Donnie to speak.
"Well, technically, I wasn't intercepting intercepting it. It's more like on when the message was on it's way to one of the phone's of a TAA4 member, I was able to make a digital scanning of the message en route. I did nothing to stop the message from reaching it's destination."
"Okay, here's the plan," Leo said abruptly. He had been staring into space during Donnie's explanation and Mikey realized he was probably formulating their mission. It was probably a good thing Leo was leader and not him, because he totally wouldn't have been doing anything remotely related to the mission in his spare time. Leo held out his green palm and began to sketch out a formation with his fingers.
"We go into stealth mode and reach the Rock Bottom Boxing Club at 9:00. We wait for both the Kraang and the TAA4 to arrive, and when they attempt to make the exchange, we'll ambush them and intercept the hardened FPE." He looked at his brother's bored faces. "Any questions?"
"Gee, Leo," Raph commented. "How long did it take you to think that one up? It was very original."
Leo rolled his eyes and turned to walk away. "Be ready guys. We leave at 9:00. No telling sensei or we'll get in serious trouble."
Mikey cocked his head in confusion. "Why?"
"No going out after 8:30, remember?" Leo answered as he disappeared towards his room.
Raph followed him, snorting. "We're probably the only mutant turtles with a curfew."
"Make that the only mutant turtles and I'll give you that one," Donnie responded blandly as he headed to his lab.
Mikey was left all alone in the living room, with absolutely nothing do for a good 15 minutes before he had to get ready. So he did the only thing he could do.
He flopped down in front of the TV and began surf through the channels, settling on Happy Dangerous Sad Land with Mister Seddie.
Twenty minutes into the show, when he was sure his brothers were preoccupied with whatever they were doing, Mikey tiptoed to his room, careful to leave the TV on and stepped lightly up the stairs.
His bedroom door let out an anxious squeak and he glared at the betraying hinges. He would need Donnie to oil them later. Nevertheless, he opened the door and began to sidestep the plethora of pizza boxes littered on the floor and greeted the life-size Bradford cutout with a customary grin.
Slowly, Mikey made his way through his messy room to his bed and peered underneath, gagging at the scent that permeated the air when he moved away the bed skirt. He pushed away moldy pizza slices, old action figures, an abundance of boring comics and a bunch of junk he didn't even recognize before he reached his prize. He pulled out an old Ugh shoebox and blew off the dust.
Mikey pried open the lid that revealed his collection. He peered fondly at all his odds and ends, things that he associated with wonderful, and some not-so-wonderful memories.
There was a half-eaten gumball from the time that his brothers and him were six, and Raph had dared him to blow the biggest bubble he could with only a little piece of gum. He had totally beaten Raph's expectations and blew a bubble bigger than Master Splinter's head (he had measured). Unfortunately, the bubble popped right in the middle of his measuring and had covered Master Splinter's fur in bright yellow bubble gum (they had found the gumball in a sewer grate so it wasn't exactly the best color or tasting), and he had to help Master Splinter wipe away the gunk with some peanut butter.
There was a rubber stamp from the time he and Leo had gone sewer-scavenger hunting and Leo had almost fell into one of the water currents running through the tunnels. Mikey had saved him though, not wanting to see his big brother drown in the mucky water.
Among these was also a capped, travel-size lotion bottle from the time he and Donnie had tried to create their own branded "Turtle Body Butter", perfectly designed to eradicate scaly skin. Of course, this invention hadn't worked and ended up giving them all hives.
But even these were not what he was looking for. He dug among the knickknacks in search of something much more recent. When his hands clutched around a cool gem he lifted and pulled out a Kraang power cell, encased in it's protective packaging, from a time where he was Savage Mikey of Dimension X, the smartest guy in all of the Dimension. He griped it tighter. Now he was just plain, old, goofball Mikey, who was scared to the core of his brother's warning about what the Kraang might do to him if they found out he had a power cell.
He tucked the power cell into his belt, thinking it was much better to keep it with him than rather at home where someone might find it. He took a deep breath and glanced at the clock. 8:55. Five more minutes until they had to go, and Leo would probably want to go over the mission one last time before they actually started.
"Mikey!" Leo called from downstairs, confirming his predictions. "Get your shell down here!"
Quickly, Mikey shoved the box underneath his bed and covered it up with the rest of his trash and headed down the stairs, two steps at a time.
It was time to go kick some major Kraang shell.