Eye for an Eye
When Raph reached the end of the hall where Donnie and Mikey were waiting he shoved them forward.
"What about Leo?" Don asked concernedly.
Raphael grit his teeth. "Just keep moving, brainiac!"
"We can't leave Leo behind!" Mikey said, panicked, as he tried to turn back.
The red-masked turtle grabbed Mikey's arm hard enough to leave a bruise as he held the youngest back. His neon green eyes were flat and sparkless as he commanded, coldly: "Keep moving, Michelangelo."
Tears tumbled down freckled green cheeks as Raph shoved him towards the exit.
As soon as they got to the Shell Raiser, Raph began raiding his weapons stash in the back of the vehicle. He put on his shoulder straps and stuffed them with shuriken and smoke bombs. He stuck his kama into the holsters and turned to face his younger siblings.
Donatello regarded Raph curiously as he moved about Shell Raiser gathering weapons, but when Raphael turned to them with fire in his eyes, Donnie knew exactly what his older brother was doing. His brown eyes flashed. "You can't go alone. We're brothers, we stick together."
Raph refused to meet his younger sibling's gaze. "I promised Leo I'd get you guys out okay." His eyes shifted to the floor. "Well, I've done that." He paused. His hands clenched into fists by his sides. Finally he looked up. "Stay here. Stay safe. If I'm not back in thirty minutes, or if the guards come searching down this alley—"
Donatello's umber eyes narrowed behind his purple mask. He stepped directly into the hothead's path, his stance firm and his arms akimbo. "Raph, don't even say it. We go together or you don't go at all."
"Nice try, Don." Raph said grimly. A disconcerting smirk slowly crept across his face.
Donnie couldn't stop help but shudder at the chillingly frosty look in Raphael's eyes.
"I think we both know that you won't be able to stop me." Raphael held up a hand as Don attempted to object. His eyes flashed. "And I'd rather not waste any more time on this argument. I'm going in to get our brother back. You wanna help? Stay here." The hothead shoved his way past Donatello, only to come face to face with Michelangelo. "Move it, Michelangelo."
"Donnie's right, Raph, we can't let you go alone!" There were tears in Mikey's baby blue eyes.
Raphael's stiff, angry posture softened as he placed a hand on his little brother's shoulder. His voice soft and indulgent but conveyed a subtle, warning edge. "Trust me, little brother. I've got a plan."
There was a long pause as the orange and red-masked turtles stared at each other.
Donnie's posture was rigid. So far, Mikey hadn't moved an inch and Don felt relief seeping in through his pores, allowing him to breath again. A gasp robbed him of his breath. Mikey stepped to the side and let Raphael go. It wasn't until about thirty seconds after Raph left that Donatello recovered enough to ask, "Mikey, what are you DOING? Raph—"
Mikey cut his older sibling off with the most serious face he could muster. "—has a plan, Don. We need to have faith in him."
I swiftly navigated my way back into the building, barely managing to slip past countless guards and security cameras. I passed an open door with little to no thought, but then doubled back and ducked inside when I read the label printed in block letters on the door: SECURITY. Inside were three walls, decked top to bottom security monitors. Right in the middle of the room a long, black control panel.
Okay…not originally part of the plan, but this works. I thought to myself as my eyes raked over the numerous buttons.
It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to playback the footage. Tech is not my area of expertise.
Urgh, this is taking too long!
I slammed a fist on the control panel with a frustrated grunt. Amazingly enough, it worked.
Hah, take that Donnie! I can handle computers just fine.
I took a step back and looked up at the screens replaying the footage. Those guys in tech-armor pulled Leo out of the ceiling rubble. He put up a fight, of course, at least, as much of a fight as he was able. He seemed to be uninjured, so that lifted a weight off my chest. Rage exploded from within me as I watched them corner and inject my big brother with some kind of drug before dragging him away. I growled.
My growl was cut short by sound of footsteps approaching the door. I ducked into the shadows, my eyes white with rage.
A man stepped in and the door slid closed behind him. The footage I had been watching fizzled and began playing in a loop.
"What the—?" The man muttered. In this position his back was to me.
I shot forward and pinned him flat to the console, smashing his face against the monitors and twisting one of his arms behind his back, threatening to snap it. He cried out and I pressed a knee against his back to pin him down.
"You'll shut up if you know what's good for you." I warned. My other arm brought my sai up to his line of sight. "Now you listen real carefully buddy, because I'm only gonna ask this once. Got that?" I had no doubt that my grip on his arm was hard enough to bruise.
He whimpered and writhed, pitifully trying to get away. "O-O-Okay! Okay!"
"Where's the turtle?" I snarled.
"The turtle?" He parroted, wide-eyed, his voice filled with fear.
I pulled away with a growl and slammed him back into the monitors repeatedly. "The turtle! Where is he?! Where have they taken him?!"
He groaned and grimaced, trying to twist away from my grip. I brandished my sai. "Don't make me use this." I growled, pointing it right between the eyes of my prey. He shuddered. What little control I had over my rage was quickly beginning to slip. "Tell. Me. NOW!"
"Alright, alright! He's in the East Lab! Two halls down from here, o-o-on the right!" He said, terror sparkling in his eyes.
I grit my teeth. I glared at him. My voice dropped to a lower and quieter note. "I hope you're telling the truth. Cause if you ain't," I turned him around and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, tossing back against the table, "I won't let y0u off so easy!"
He blanched. I grabbed my sai and spun it around, hitting him over the head with the butt. Not hard enough to kill him, just enough that he won't be sounding the alarms any time soon. I dragged him off to the side, behind a table, that way it would be a while before anyone discovered him.
I followed his instructions, and found myself in front of a door where scientists were rapidly coming and going, with astonished looks on their faces. That had to be it. Right around the corner from where I'm standing now.
There were two of those tech guards in the entryway. Damn.
I glanced further down the hallway I was in.
Hmm. Is that…a fuse box?
Sure looks like it.
I made my way over to the box. My thick, dark-green fingers curled around the lip edge as I tried to pry it open.
Locked. Well, that can be easily remedied.
I pulled an old paperclip from my belt and shoved it into the lock. I've always been good with locks. At least, the old fashioned ones. When it came to electronic ones, Don was the expert. I opened the fuse box and sliced two of the wires with my sai. They crackled and I carefully crossed the broken ends, shorting out the electricity. Fortunately for me, it worked exactly as I'd hoped. It's dark now. So it will be that much easier for me to get my brother back.
I retraced my steps and returned to the lab where they were keeping Leo. I snuck up on the guards and knocked them out, using their identification cards to gain admission. The scientists were all standing still, crowding around a long table in the middle of the room.
"Bob, have you figured out why the lights went out?" Someone asked.
"No, I'm sorry Brenda, but it seems there's been a blackout." The guy named Bob replied.
"Aren't there back-up generators for this place?" A different voice asked.
One of them somehow got their hands on a flashlight. They moved it around the room and I caught a brief glance of the scientists' faces. They were all standing around a table, and on it was…
"Leo!" I whispered quietly, slapping a hand over my mouth as I realized I had said that out loud.
"What was that?" Bob asked, waving the flashlight around, searchingly.
The woman I now knew as Brenda answered: "I didn't hear anything."
"What about the freak, is he secure?" Okay, I definitely do not like that last guy. Nobody talks about my brothers like that. My mind is made up: that guy goes down first. I slunk with all my ninja prowess through the darkness, coming up behind the speaker. I knocked him out and dragged his body off to the side.
"Did you hear that?" Brenda asked, glancing around frantically.
I crouched down into the shadows to their right, watching grimly from my vantage point as Bob nodded.
"Don't move." He commanded. Then he added, almost as an afterthought, "Same goes for you, Joe."
I struck again, this time taking Brenda into the darkness.
"Joe?" Bob asked when he received no response. "Joe?" He repeated nervously as he whirled around, flashlight in hand.
I loomed up directly behind him and when his head whipped towards me, he shrunk back.
"Joe can't answer you." I growled dangerously.
Bob stared at me in awe. "Who—who—you can—speak?" He stammered.
I glared and stalked forward until he was cornered against the wall. He held up the flashlight threateningly. "Don't come any closer!"
I smiled and easily flicked the flashlight out of his hands. I lifted him clear off the ground by his collar and snarled in his face. "Now you listen to me. You're lucky that I'm not in the mood to do much more than knock you guys our. But if you ever, EVER harm one of my brothers again, I will kill you. Understand?"
Bob nodded frantically.
"Good." I conked him over the head with the butt of my sai and knocked him out. I glanced around briefly and made sure they were all completely unconscious. I scurried over to the table and took in Leo's current state. I carefully removed all the tubes and needles they'd attached to his arms and shook him gently. "Leo! Leo! Leo!" I called.
All I got in reply was a groan. Worry creased my brow and I lifted him into my arms. I glanced around, looking for the best way out. Probably not the way I came, they'll be expecting that. I looked all around. There was no other way out.
Except—there! An air vent! We might be able to crawl through. But of course, Leo won't be able to crawl through on his own. So I might have to make him hold on. It'll be a tight squeeze, but it'll have to do.
I made my way over to it and used my sais to pry the grate away. Then I shook Leo gently. "Leo."
He groaned and his eyes flicked open, dazedly.
"I need you to wrap your arms around my neck and hold on. Okay?" I was afraid that he wouldn't understand me, but I crouched and he did as I asked. It was difficult, but after a while I was finally able to pull myself into the vent. I reached back and pulled the grate back into the place. Doing the army crawl with the added weight of my older brother on my back was a grueling task, but I was determined to keep going. It took me almost fifteen minutes to lug Leo and myself through that air vent to the outside.
My thirty minutes were almost up. I could hear the alarms ringing through the building once again. Obviously one of the scientists or security men came to faster than I had hoped they would.
I lost all regard for subtlety as I kicked off the grate that lead to the outside and crawled out, pulling Leo into my aching arms as we both dropped to the ground.
I have to get to the Shell Raiser before Donnie and Mikey leave. Because I know I won't be able to get all the way back to the lair with Leo like this. Not without help.
Leo groaned, breaking my focus and I looked down at him. "R-Raph?" He asked, his voice weak.
"Shut up, Fearless, I'm rescuing you! You did ask me to do that, remember?"
He smiled and scoffed weakly. "Yeah…I remember." He closed his eyes and seemed to be drifting between coherence and delerium.
I forcibly turned my mind back to the task at hand: I need to get to Donnie and Mikey. I look back down at Leo. "Hang in there, big brother." I told him as I climbed a fire escape and began to run all the way back to the Shell Raiser.
Somehow, despite the added weight of my older brother, I managed to run faster than I had ever run in my entire life. I'm not fast. Well, I'm fast for a turtle, but I'm not particularly fast for a ninja. And I'm definitely no Michelangelo, but I'm pretty sure that, had we been racing, I might have actually beaten my little brother this time.
Faithful to their word, it looked as though Mikey and Donnie were about to peel out of the alley. They Shell Raiser was prepped and ready to go, her engine gunning. I dropped down into the Shell Raiser, set Leo down gently, and rushed to close the hatch behind me.
My younger brothers jumped in shock as I 'dropped' in.
"Raph!" They exclaimed, both of them sounding relieved. Then they saw the unconscious turtle propped up against the wall of the vehicle. "LEO!" They cried simultaneously.
Donnie rushed over to Leo's side. I knew that Leo couldn't be in better hands. I ran to the driver's seat and motioned for Mikey to get to his station. He didn't look too comfortable about leaving Leo's side.
I tried my best to speak with my eyes: Give them space Michelangelo.
Slowly, Mikey nodded and sat in front of the map where he belonged.
"Everybody hold on!" I yelled to them as I threw her in gear and rocketed off down the alley and away from that horrible lab.
Only then did I dare to release all the tension in my body with a sigh of relief.
Phew. That was too close.
Those moronic imbeciles! I wasn't going to go back. But they called and told me something that gave me no other choice. They'd captured another mutant freak. A male. A turtle, they said. And, naturally, since it was specifically my area of research, they asked me to come and take a look.
But by the time I got there alarms were blaring and the freak was gone. They couldn't even manage to keep him captive for more than an hour. The imbeciles! That idiot Bob said that another freak had come to spring him out. So…the freaks are banding together.
I grit my teeth with disdain. Just how many of those monstrosities are out there?
Wait, what was that? Something caught my eye. The grate of the central air duct was loose.
Hmm…So, they really think they can get away that easy?
I rapidly made my way up to the roof and across the building where that vent came out. This way I could have a bird's eye view. I reached into my shoulder bag and pulled out my mask and utility belt, quickly putting them on. I couldn't afford to take any chances. I was going to make sure that these freaks never live to see another day.
My vantage point was well chosen and my hunch was correct. Less than five minutes later there was a loud thud and the grate of the vent below came flying off. I watched with narrowed eyes as a red-masked turtle freak emerged with a blue masked one holding on to his neck. The red one pulled the blue one into his arms as they tumbled down to the ground. Looks like the blue one was drugged. So Blue one was the captive and Red, the savior. How pathetic.
"R-Raph?" Blue murmured.
"Shut up, Fearless, I'm rescuing you! You did ask me to do that, remember?" Red grumbled, glancing up and down the alley carefully, as though he were considering where to go next.
"Yeah, I remember." Blue replied meekly.
Red's eyes locked on a fire escape across the way and he said something I never expected to hear:
"Hang in there, big brother."
My eyes widened and for a few moments I stared in shock.
A whole family of freaks?
The shock gave way to further determination and my eyes narrowed dangerously.
A whole family of Freaks? Not if I have anything to say about it.
I jumped after the two turtles, determined to follow them back to their home, where I planned to obliterate them and whatever other freaks they had in this family of theirs. I watched as the turtles got into some kind of huge vehicle and I reached onto my utility belt, grabbed a little device, and threw it at the giant car, truck thing. I took out my phone. One press of a button and I could track everywhere they went. My blood red lips curled into a smirk.
Wouldn't you know it? We're less than twenty minutes from home, in the old abandoned subway tunnels, and what happens? The Shell Raiser breaks down. Dammit! I knew I should have given her a tune-up two weeks ago, but I just couldn't find the time and now…Urgh!
I gave Leo a drug that should counteract whatever those scientists gave him. In short, he'll have a very upset stomach for a little while, but he's awake at least. Awake and aware. And able to walk, thankfully, so we won't have to carry him back to the lair.
When he asked me how long it had been since he was captured, I had no choice but to tell him the truth.
Let's just say that Raph is definitely getting a lecture when Leo gets better. After all, he meant for us to rescue him at a point in time where we were all working together on a cohesive, well-thought-out escape plan. He did not want Raph storming in there all by his lonesome! But, I don't think Leo will be able to reason with Raph much. Because, implausible as it seems, Raph's hotheaded and impetuous plan to break Leo out actually worked.
I sigh forlornly and glance back over my shoulder at my creation. Much as I hate to say it, we're going to have to leave the Shell Raiser here and walk the rest of the way.
We'd been walking for about two minutes through the complex maze of subway tunnels, when Raphael stopped and glanced behind us. I raised an eye-ridge at him, but he brushed me off and kept walking.
Mikey and I were helping Leo walk while Raph was scouting ahead, so we all noticed the strange look on the hothead's face. About two minutes later he did it again, only this time, Leonardo tensed as well.
I caught the look in their eyes. And I knew what that look meant.
Aw shell. We're being followed.
Leo brought his hands in front of him and said 'sewer' in hand signals. Raph nodded.
Good. I agree with this plan. With Leo still weakened we can't really risk a fight, especially since we don't know who the enemy is. So we might be able to ditch whoever-it-is in the sewers.
We wandered around the sewers for almost twenty minutes, and I could tell that those drugs had really taken their toll on Leo. He was weary and appeared to be struggling, but our pursuer was still hot on our trail, we had to keep going.
All the attempts we made to ditch them failed.
It is possible that they are tracking us, somehow. Wait a second…what if they placed a tracking device on Leo?
I whispered my suspicions to my brothers and they all tensed.
"So what do we do?" Raph asked, sounding concerned.
Leo's eyes narrowed and he straightened as much as he was able to.
Always the leader, I thought with a sigh.
He spoke low and in his leader voice, "We go to the tunnel junction where we first washed Xever and Bradford away. Maybe we can trick him into revealing himself."
I suppose from a psychological standpoint, it would have been wiser to question his judgment. After all, he had been drugged less than an hour ago.
But, trusting Leonardo implicitly as we did, all of us nodded.
I don't know who's following me and my bros, but I certainly hope it isn't any of those tech-armored guard dudes.
We reached the tunnel junction and got into position: Leo and Donnie ducked into the shadowy tunnels and Raph and I sank into the water. If anything tries to hurt our brothers, Raph and I will be first line of defense. Usually, Leo would be here and I would be in the back with Donnie. But right now Leo is the one who needs protecting, and I will be here to protect him. No one hurts my bros on my watch!
Raph and I watched from just beneath the murky surface of the water as a dark figure approached the water. If it weren't for the white lab coat and blue gloves he was wearing, we might not have been able to see him at all.
I looked at Raph and he nodded. We rose out of the water slowly, ominously allowing the liquid to drip off our shells.
I saw Raph's grip on his sais tighten. I smiled and pulled my nunchucks from my belt. He pretends to be a hotheaded jerk sometimes, but Raph is actually the most protective and the most caring of my brothers. He is such a softie. Seeing how mad he gets when one us is hurt only proves it.
"Who the shell are you?" Raph growled menacingly.
He—er—make that she laughed and it made me shudder. "Your worst nightmare." She responded coolly.
Raph smirked. I grinned a little. "I doubt that." He replied cheekily before lunging at her with a ferocious battle cry.
She dodged the first blow, but Raph's second hit her right in the stomach and sent her flying backwards.
"Worst nightmare, huh? I ain't feeling too scared." He said with a smile.
The mystery woman stood and pointed a long, bony, threatening finger at him. "You should be, Freak! All my years of research, all my experiments, I have one goal and one goal only! To obliterate all Freaks! Starting with the little lizard who ruined my life!" She shouted angrily, lashing out. Her blow, coupled with the power of his block sent both careening backwards, putting some distance between them.
Raph's eyes went wide and he stepped back. But it wasn't her actions that had stunned him. "Lizard?...Mona Lisa." He whispered, softly, his eyes glazed over. He glanced to me and then to where Leo and Donnie were hiding. I nodded, understanding the gesture perfectly: We have to protect them. My eyes narrowed.
Now we definitely had to do something about this chick. Not only to protect my bros, but to protect Mona, too. Because there is no way I'm gonna stand by and let her hurt my sister! Well, Mona's not really our sister, but you get what I'm saying.
The woman's eyes narrowed as she scrutinized our facial expressions. "You know where she is." It wasn't a question because it didn't need to be. She knew that we knew exactly who she was talking about. "You will tell me."
Raph snarled. "Never."
"Leave my family alone!" Another voice interjected.
Raph and I both tensed as Leo emerged from his hiding spot, Don doing the same not long after.
Leo's still kinda drugged up. He's in no condition to fight!
My big brother jumped down to stand between me and Raph. Both of us curled inward protectively, but he pushed past us to stand across from the human. Raph and I exchanged nervous glances.
"You harm them: I kill you." Leo growled.
My eyes widened. I've never heard Leo threaten anybody like that before.
She laughed. "Ooh, an ultimatum. Is that supposed to scare me?"
Leo didn't say anything, but I could tell that is getting madder and madder. If there is one thing big-brother Leo takes seriously, it's when people threaten us.
"I never would have guessed this was possible, you know. A whole family of freaks! Well let me tell you something, Blue."
She sighed goadingly. I suddenly realized what she was trying to do. She was trying to get Leo to come to her.
"I will kill each and everyone of them."
Leo growled, but she went on, "I will make them suffer."
The muscles in Leo's hands and legs tensed, and his lips pulled back into a snarl. Still, she went on.
"And I will make you watch." She spat, emphasizing every word, to make it even more biting.
My gut tightened at what she said. My eyes slowly slid to my older brother.
No, Leo don't! I thought, but it was too late for me to stop him.
Leo let out a battle cry and his eyes went white with fury as he completely lost control. He was unarmed, since his katanas had been taken when he was captured.
She smirked as he charged her and I knew something horrible was about to happen. My brain screamed at me to move forward, but my body wouldn't respond. All I could do was watch the scene playing out before me.
Leo was fast.
But Raph was faster. My red-masked bro had seen exactly what I saw: She was baiting Leo. She wanted Leo to react. And Leo did. He came down on her like thunder.
But Raph was lightning. Colors swirled together as Raph lunged forward, shoving Leo out of the way just in time. There was a horrible crackling sound and Raph screamed.
That scream plunged all of us into complete panic mode. That wasn't a cry of pain. That wasn't a yell. That was a scream. Raph had never screamed like that before. Not even when he saw a cock-roach. This was a scream of agony. The creepy chick's weapon repelled him and sent him flying up to the second level of pipes and the catwalk where there was a turn valve.
"Raph!" I yelled desperately. But he didn't answer.
She jumped up to the landing where Raph was now unconscious and bent down to grab onto his carapace.
We immediately jumped up beside her, even Leo, who I could tell, was already blaming himself for Raph getting hurt.
"Don't touch him!" My eldest brother yelled angrily.
She chuckled and turned the wheel, opening the valve, and creating a whirlpool on the level beneath us.
Leo glared at her as she stood between him and our injured sibling. "What did you do to him?" He demanded.
She chuckled again. "It's just one of my little toys." She held it up so we could see it, "Electric shock pistol. Gives the lucky recipient enough electricity to destabilize the heart and kill with a single shot."
Fearful, furious, fire filled Leo's eyes as he stalked forward angrily. I reached out to try and hold him back, since he is still not in top shape, but he glared vehemently at me. I let go of his wrist. Injured or not, there was no dissuading him.
The chick was stronger than she looked. Freakishly strong. She hoisted Raph up by his carapace and held him threateningly over the water. We all froze with our mouths open, about to shout.
The new villainess stared directly into Leo's eyes. "Each and every one of them, Blue. Don't forget it." We watched in horror as her fingers unclasped and Raphael's unconscious form plummeted down towards the swirling water below.
"Raph, no!" Leo jumped off and I jumped after him, grabbing his legs. Don caught me and I could feel him struggling with our combined weight.
Leo reached out and extended as much as he could, but it wasn't enough. He missed Raph's hand by less than half a foot. "NOOOOOOOOO!" He wailed.
I could feel the tears in my eyes as I watched my brother's body get swept away.
From somewhere, deep inside of me a dark flurry of anger came rushing out. Donnie had just barely set me down on the metal grating when I flew at the mystery woman.
"You bitch!" I screamed furiously. "You killed my brother!"
She lifted some sort of weapon, but I knocked it out of her hand and went at her with all the strength I had in me. My nunchucks swung through the air with an accuracy, precision and strength that I had never known before. The villainess grunted as she was bombarded by my heavy weapons and harsh blows. I unsheathed the blade on the end of one nunchuck and brought it down on her without fully realizing what I was doing.
She screamed and shoved me backwards, her hand slowly reaching up to her face to cup her left eye, which was now covered in blood.
I was about to go after her again, when both of my brothers wrapped their arms around me.
"Don't Mikey." Leo said evenly into my ear. "She doesn't deserve it." His eyes narrowed and I saw a reflection of my own dark fury. "Having to live the rest of her life as a one-eyed freak will be a much more fitting punishment. Let her suffer."
His words rang in my ears for a long time before I nodded. I was about to throw down a smoke bomb so that we could get out of here, but I paused as she began to speak.
"I will get you for this. I will kill you. All of you! I swear it!"
The vehemence in her tone made me growl.
Donnie turned around to glare at her. "Then we'll just have to kill you first." He replied smoothly.
I threw down the smoke bomb and we all rushed away.
Donnie scanned Leo for any tracking chips or devices and there were none.
How could she have tracked us this far without some kind of transmitter?
But we'll worry about that later. Right now, we have to go back to the lair. We have to report to Master Splinter. We have to tell him about Raph. My shoulders droop and tears run down my cheeks. Raphie…
I felt a hand on my shoulder and I looked up.
"I would have thought you'd be the last of us to lose hope, Mikey." He murmured.
I just looked away and shrugged his hand off. He pulled me into a hug. I tried to worm away, but he wouldn't let me. He whispered in my ear softly, reassuringly, kindly. "Trust me, little brother. Raphael is strong. He's alive out there somewhere. I can sense it. We just have to find him."
I nod absently, hoping beyond hope that my big brother is right.
Of course Leo's right. I tell myself.
Leo's always right. I lie to myself.
Then I straighten with renewed determination.
Don't worry Raphie. We'll find you. I promise.