The Way Home

Chapter 6

“No! You incompetent fools! The calibrations must be exact.” Shredder elbowed the mechanical Foot soldiers aside, correcting their adjustments. His blueprints were specific down the finest detail. How could they screw this up? The tiniest error could spell disaster and the ruination of all his plans. Of all the faults that came with automaton underlings he had never expected, a wide margin of error in mechanical construction to be one of them. Useless pieces of junk.

This put him in a quandary. He still needed the primary fuel for his reactor. Sol Laboratories had exactly what he needed. Large samples of pure hydrogen, densely packed. But he couldn’t very well go retrieve it himself if these bunglers were going to keep making inexcusable mistakes. This was one device that required perfection.

The communication screen lit up behind him and he squeezed his eyes shut to ward off the impending headache. Sadly, it did nothing to block out Krang’s blubbery, wet voice from crackling out of the speakers. “Shredder! What is taking so long? I had the weapons array completed days ago.”

“There has been unexpected difficulties in acquiring the components I need, but I am handling it.” Shredder responded through gritted teeth, not bothering to turn around. He had no interest in laying eyes on Krang’s squishy, pink face.

“If you are not up to the task…”

“I said I’m handling it!” Shredder spun to glare at him.

Krang merely rolled his eyes. “My patience is waning. I’m sending General Traag and Sergeant Granitor to see that your end gets done properly.”

Shredder’s first instinct was to throw the demand back in Krang’s face, but the reality was, he needed someone to go out and retrieve his fuel and all he had at the moment were Bebop and Rocksteady.

Glancing over at them, he could see the two mutants making faces into one of the security cameras and laughing at the onscreen results. Rocksteady, noticing that the Shredder was observing him, gave him a toothy grin and waved. He sighed. There was no way those two idiots were getting anything done, but he wouldn’t give Krang the satisfaction of knowing he needed the help.

“Fine. Do what you want.” He wasn’t about to let anything, not even his pride, get in the way of this victory.

Raphael leaned back in his bed, his mind running over the contents of Mona Lisa’s letter on a repeat loop, as it had since April had dropped it off a day ago, though the postmark indicated it had been mailed three days prior.

“Hey guys! Mail call.” April’s voice rang through the lair, pulling the turtles and Master Splinter away from their various activities.

It wasn’t a surprising event as, on the rare occasion they did receive correspondence, they’d set it up to come through April, trusting her to weed out the junk from what actually mattered.

Michelangelo made it to her first. “Is it, like, something fun this time?” He tried peeking as she held the mail behind her back.

“Easy. You’ll each get yours.”

“Has my subscription to Science Monthly gone into effect? I wasn’t expecting the first issue for a couple of weeks. It’d be great if it was here early.” Donatello approached inquisitively.

Michelangelo rolled his eyes. “If that’s all she brought, it’ll be a major bummer.”

“Give her some space guys.” Leonardo instructed, though he too was craning his neck to see what she’d brought.

“Your brother is right. Everyone three steps back.” They all obeyed Master Splinter’s instruction and April waved the stack of mail over her head.

Michelangelo looked up at them in puzzlement, while Leonardo exchanged glances with Donatello. “Are those letters?”

Donatello shrugged. “They look like it, though I can’t imagine who would be sending us snail mail.”

Raphael continued to sit at the kitchen table, absentmindedly spinning one of his sais, more or less ignoring the whole event until one of Michelangelo’s comments broke through his disinterest.

“Hey! Mine’s from Mona Lisa!”

Leonardo looked down at his. “Mine too. Donatello?”

“Yup. It looks like she sent one to each of us.”

Raphael jumped up from the table and about bowled April over. “What about me?”

“Easy, tiger.” She held out her hands defensively in front of her and he saw his name on the envelope, written in Mona Lisa’s familiar scrawl. Snatching the letter out of her hand, he immediately rushed off to his room.

He hadn’t asked his brothers or Master Splinter about their letters yet, not really ready to talk about his in return, but from listening to them, he was pretty sure that he was the only who’d gotten a picture.

Upon first opening the letter, he’d spent a solid twenty minutes just staring at the photograph, memorizing its details. It had been the first time he’d seen her in almost two weeks and he couldn’t help drinking it up. The picture was now taped to the side of the old shelves at the foot of his bed, only visible from the position in which he was currently laying.

Added to his already existing collection of Mona Lisa photographs, he couldn’t help but note that as different as she looked in human form, she was still exquisite and unique, despite now having billions of other counterparts. He was pretty sure that she’d ensnare him in whatever form she took because there was an essential part of who she was that inevitably seemed to show through. She was always beautiful.

With a sigh, he lifted the letter and reread the words that he now knew by heart. On the surface, it seemed ordinary enough, just accounts of her day to day life since leaving them. But there was something in her tone and description that nagged at him. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was sure that something wasn’t right. She wasn’t happy, but he didn’t know enough from the letter to understand why and it was driving him crazy.

One thing, however, had been abundantly clear since the letters came in. Why they hadn’t heard from her. It sounded like her friends and family were sticking pretty close, not surprising. As a result, it seemed like she wouldn’t have had an easy time of placing a discreet call without at least one of them finding out.

He hadn’t really thought about it before. With their celebrity status in the city, they worked hard to keep their personal lives as private as possible and part of that was keeping their contact with outsiders to a minimum. Of course Mona Lisa would respect that, but she was family, so by extension her family was family too. Maybe if they’d told her that the day she’d left, they would have heard from her a lot sooner.

He was going to have to tell Leonardo and Master Splinter to inform her that her family was welcome in the loop. Being in charge, they’d need to be the ones to say it for it to count.

But that still left the issue of her unhappiness. He’d been debating how to respond. Should he pry into it or wait until she was ready to bring it up directly? He wasn’t sure what the best course was to follow.

After more lingering, internal indecision, he finally decided that there was only one thing he absolutely needed to say. Fishing around his room for some spare paper and a pen, he began to write.

April didn’t even look up as the lunch cart rolled into her office. Her desk was a mess with time-wasting story demands from Bern, unhelpful suggestions from Vern on how to glamorize their bits and a stack of possible leads to real stories that consisted mostly of anonymous tips from cranks and crackpots. She almost wished the Shredder would make a move so she could boost her ratings, but lately his antics had amounted to mundane burglary that she couldn’t figure out.

A letter plunked down on her desk, breaking her train of thought and scattering her already disorganized papers. Snapping her head up to glare at the lunch guy, she gasped when she saw one of the turtles wearing the creepy human disguise she gotten for them forever ago. Glancing back at the letter, she narrowed down her visitor by the sender and recipient written there.

“Raphael, what are you doing here in the middle of the day? If you wanted to send a response, I could’ve swung by the lair after work to get it.”

He shrugged. “It’s a nice day and I thought I could use some sun.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Raphael?”

He huffed. “Fine. I couldn’t wait. Can you send it out pronto?”

She smiled and leaned back in her chair in defeat. “I suppose. I’ve got nothing better to do on my lunch break.”

He clapped a hand on her shoulder. “Thanks April, you’re the best.”

She grinned. “So I’ve been told.”

He started to leave, but she called out, suddenly remembering something that might or might not be relevant. “Raphael, wait up.”

He turned to face her, making her wish once again that she’d been able to find them less unnerving disguises.

“Mona Lisa’s parents must have seen the letters to me and remembered that I was the one to cover her original abduction. They’re holding a welcome back gathering for her on Saturday and invited me. If you want me to pass anything along when I go, let me know.”

Raphael paused thoughtfully for a moment. “No, actually, I’ve got a better idea. Thanks April.”

With that he was gone. She was about to retrieve the letter from her desk when the phone rang. Cringing at the caller ID, she picked up. “Hey Bern…”

“O’Neil are you out covering that chalk art festival, because it seems like you’re sitting on your butt in your office.”

Massaging the bridge of her nose with her free hand, she took a breath before responding. “Bern, there’s got to be something better than a few pavement scribbles. It’s fluff piece and you know it.”

“You got something better? Then you’ve got five minutes to get up her and pitch it to me or you’re out doing the art festival, got it?”

She huffed out an angry breath. “Got it.”

Slamming the phone back into its cradle, she grabbed the top half of her tip stack, not noticing the rest spill down over Raphael’s letter. She’d be sure to find something at least halfway credible by the time she made it up to Bern’s office.

Mona Lisa exited the cargo elevator into a large empty space full of enormous canvasses covered in abstract imagery. The windows, set into the deteriorating brick walls were narrow but almost two stories tall on their own and appeared to be the sole source of light for the massive room. Avoiding puddles of wet paint, she ventured cautiously into the workshop.

Originally she’d wondered how Tyler could afford to live in Harlem as an independent fine artist. Now, she suspected he was squatting in an unused warehouse that was probably in conflict between historical preservationists wanting to leave it be and everyone else wanting to tear it down for public safety. But there was still power, as the elevator proved, so he must be living here legitimately, in some fashion or other.


“Over here.” His voice answered from the far corner and she navigated the maze of art supplies towards it. Stepping into the well-lit, far end of the loft, illuminated by sunlight streaming through windows on both sides of the corner walls, stood her older brother, in his usual sneakers, ragged jeans and ratty t-shirt, covered head to toe in smudges of every color of paint imaginable. Under the mess she could only make out a few patches of his originally sand-colored hair, cut short and choppy as though he did it himself, which was most likely the case.

Maneuvering for a better view, she caught sight of the canvas, a riotous mess of color and shape without the slightest rhyme or reason to it. Tyler stared intently at his work, before scooping up a brush from a can of teal paint and smearing a meandering line across the whole thing.


As always, she had no idea what he was going on about and she couldn’t even blame it on her recent, life-altering experience. There had never been a point in her life when she’d truly understood Tyler. Neither had Monroe. It was probably one of the factors in how close she was to her younger brother. Or at least how close she used to be. They were still in a holding pattern of avoiding each other.

She almost asked whether people actually paid money for stuff like the thing he’d just produced, but caught the words before they left her mouth, refashioning them into something less rude. “So how much do you think it will sell for?”

He turned and raised a magenta smeared eyebrow at her. “Art exists for its own sake, independent of the artificial value markers of the material world.”

With a huff she crossed her arms and stared him down until he doubled over laughing. “I know what you’re really asking. You were never very subtle, you know. There are people who are more than happy to assign large monetary tags to my work. It’s the only way they know how to show appreciation, so I don’t begrudge them for it.”

She rolled her eyes. “I should hope not. Other forms of appreciation won’t buy you more paint.”

He shook his head in amused exasperation. “Always the practical one.”

She let it go, knowing that some divides were too vast to bridge. “You don’t seem too surprised to find me here. Were you expecting me?”

His sun-weathered face split with a grin, causing his now multicolored, close-trimmed beard to appear to undulate as it moved with his face and his warm brown eyes to light up with mirth. “Not at all. That’s the beauty of it.”

She sighed, remembering again why it was she found typically found reasons to avoid Tyler. “Can you just try to make sense for once?”

The grin faded and he actually looked a little disappointed, but his expression quickly cleared. “Expectations slow us down, get in the way of enlightenment. It’s better not to have them if you can avoid it. My work is best appreciated with no expectations at all.”

He was still as annoyingly philosophical as ever, but she could see how expecting his paintings to look like something more sensible than colorful vomit would ruin the enjoyment of them.

Smoothing out the crinkles in the envelope she’d been clutching the whole way here, she offered it out to him.

Smiling coyly, he accepted it and tossed it unopened onto the small paint-stained table behind him.

Feeling a fresh surge of irritation, she glared at him. “You’re not planning on opening it, are you?”

He shrugged. “Unopened, it remains unlimited in its possibility.”

Fighting back the urge to punch him, she spoke through ground teeth. “It’s an invitation to a welcome back party mom’s throwing for me on Saturday. Feel free to skip.”

He frowned. “And now you’ve gone and shackled it.”

Now she was fighting the urge to punch his dumb painting. What had possessed her to come out here? Right. Home was stifling and she needed an excuse, any excuse, to get away. So she’d offer to deliver this one by hand, knowing the trip would buy her some precious time to herself.

To his credit, so far Tyler was the only one not acting the slightest bit different around her. It was comforting in its usual, maddening sort of way.

She noticed Tyler staring intently at her, like one of his paintings and realized that she’d slipped from petulant rage back into the burden of melancholy she’d been lugging around since coming home.

“You’re miserable.” It was a statement, not a question, and she felt no obligation to answer. He leaned against the brick wall, examining her thoughtfully. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Her first impulse was to scream ‘no’ and storm out of the loft, but in truth that wasn’t how she felt at all. It occurred to her, that with her bizarre and somewhat nonexistent relationship with her eldest brother, there really wasn’t anything for the truth to screw up and hurt. And since no one could ever really get a straight, sensible answer out of him, it wasn’t as though he was likely to run around gossiping.

“Nothing’s right anymore.”

He frowned. “And what is ‘right’ supposed to mean?”

“Everyone, even me, is trying and trying to go back to the way things were, but it isn’t working. I’m me, how I’m supposed to be, and I’m home, where I belong, but I’m not so sure I believe either of those things anymore.”

He ran his hand over his beard, scattering dried paint flecks like tiny confetti. “So who are you supposed to be and where do you belong?”

To her surprise, she admitted something that she’d been afraid to even think over the almost two weeks since returning to humanity. “I’m meant to be the person I was when I was gone and I belong with the friends who saved me. I miss my family and my friends, I really do. But I’m not a part of this world anymore.”

He smiled. “Then you should go home.”

She blinked at him in shock. “You think I should just abandon everyone again. I owe them better than that.”

He approached her, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear and leaving what felt like a smear of paint in its wake. His smile was surprisingly sad. “You don’t owe anyone anything and are under no obligation to live up to anyone’s expectations whether their yours or someone else’s. You just need to be who you are.”

Her vision grew watery as her eyes teared up. “But…”

“Besides, who said you needed to abandon anyone? There’s no reason you can’t stay connected with us from wherever you return to. In time, maybe you can build something new, something real instead of chasing after the past. But living a lie isn’t healthy. I advise you to be true to yourself.”

She managed a smile, wiping away her tears and feeling better than she had in days. “I suppose you of all people would know.”

He nodded. “I can’t promise it’s easy, but it is worth it.”

Sniffling, she backed up and started for the door, turning back to him just before she was out of sight. “Thanks. I’ll think about what you said.”

He gave her a parting smile and she was gone.

Leonardo led his brothers into the back entrance of Sol Laboratories, the metal door already broken in, dented nearly in half. Donatello’s alert system had gone off and they’d arrived in record time, thanks in no small part to the evening decrease in motor traffic. Sometimes he wished that Donatello would build in a flight or hover mode to the turtle van for when they faced the threat of New York grid lock.

On the upside, Raphael seemed more himself than he had in days. Maybe it was Mona Lisa’s letter. He knew they’d all been happy to finally hear from her. Although he’d already sent back his response, at Raphael’s request, he intended to send another note, letting her know that it was ok, to tell her family about them.

The need to lift that particular restriction hadn’t even occurred to him before she left and he was kicking himself for it. He could’ve saved his brother a lot of misery if he’d thought the situation through thoroughly. It was on him. He’d find a way to make it up to Raphael. In the meantime, he was just glad to have his brother back, though he might regret the sentiment once Raphael started running his mouth again.

He led the way and his brothers filed in behind him, all of them moving silently as he listened for the sounds of the thieves. It didn’t take long before the crash of breaking laboratory equipment lured him up through the stairwell to the second floor.

Looking through the vertical rectangle of glass, built into the heavy lab door, he wasn’t entirely surprised to find Rocksteady and Bebop inside, tearing the room apart with no apparent purpose to their destruction. An obvious decoy, but one that couldn’t be ignored. They needed to handle this fast.

Signaling Raphael and Donatello to hold back, he kicked open the door and drew his swords, pointing one at the momentarily stunned rhino and warthog. “Turtle power!” He called out as he charged into the room, Michelangelo bouncing after him, chucks spinning.

He went straight for Rocksteady, throwing his opponent off with a feint as he ducked under a clumsy grab. Shooting his foot out, he rammed his heel into the rhino’s snout, just below where the horn protruded, earning himself a painful bruise, but effectively enraging the moron. All that remained to tumble aside as Rocksteady charged into the space he’d just vacated and embedded his head into a metal locker that he was unable to pull it free despite all his thrashing.

Checking in to see how Michelangelo fared, he realized that his brother was dangling from one end of one of his chucks while Bebop held the other high in the air. Unable to scream at Michelangelo to just let go of his weapon in time, he could only watch as the warthog flung his brother across the room. Michelangelo slid shell-first down a long lab table shattering everything on it in a cascade of destruction.

Bebop was ready to charge after Michelangelo and Leonardo was poised to intervene, when a barrage of glassware suddenly started shattering in Bebop’s face.

“Looks like I finally found a good use for your ugly mug.” Raphael’s taunt rang loud and clear as he shot off another round of test tubes.

“I’ll get you toitles!” Bebop roared, gagging on an Erlenmeyer flask as it flew into his open mouth.

“Clear!” Leonardo heard and understood Donatello, taking out Bebop’s legs with a sweeping kick and diving as far away from them as single leap could carry him. As he escaped, he noticed a few of Donatello’s throwing stars flying in the opposite direction and followed them until they hit their targets, the large, metal, storage tanks behind Bebop and Rocksteady. Structural integrity compromised, the pressure won and a smoky liquid poured forth, freezing Rocksteady and Bebop like living popsicles.

“Liquid nitrogen. Gets ’em every time.”

Leonardo spared Donatello an amused smile. “Careful or you’ll start sounding like Raphael.”

“Uh oh.” They all turned towards Michelangelo who was quickly scrambling away from a puddle of chemicals that had burst into flame upon mixing together.

“Uh oh.” Donatello reiterated, grabbing Michelangelo by the arm and rushing for the door. Sharing a look with Raphael who merely shrugged, Leonardo moved to follow.

None of the made it before the sprinklers kicked in. Except they weren’t sprinklers. A spray of fine choking powder poured forth from each and they barely made it out of the room, gagging as they went. Despite the desire to pitch forward onto his knees and cough up a lung, Donatello herded them down the hall. Leonardo had just noticed his skin was starting to burn when Donatello got them to the contraption at the far end. With a tug of the chain cord, water cascaded down on them, cleansing the painful irritant away.

“Ok, I know I’m gonna regret this, but what the heck was that?” Raphael half groaned, half spoke.

Donatello answered as he vigorously scrubbed at his skin. “Chemical fire retardant, one I’m not familiar with. It must be a proprietary formula.”

“They’re too good for regular water?” Raphael muttered in response.

“Well, water isn’t necessarily effective against certain types of chemical fires…”

Leonardo held up a hand to forestall his brother before the explanation turned lengthy.

“Do you think Bebop and Rocksteady will be ok? That stuff was majorly wicked.” Michelangelo’s normally laidback voice was laced with concern.

Raphael snorted. “As if anything could penetrate their thick skins.”

“I’m sure the ice will protect them until they thaw out.” Donatello sounded mostly certain.

In the momentary silence that resulted from the lull in conversation, Leonardo could hear the sound of rummaging above him. “Third floor. Turtles move out.”

A flight of stairs later, Leonardo kicked in the door to the lab on the third floor to find a familiar pair of rock soldiers loading enormous canisters into a Foot-emblemed tank, hovering just outside the window.

“How did we miss that?” Leonardo could hear Raphael call out from behind him, followed by Donatello’s inevitable response. “Well we approached the building from the opposite and didn’t need to go all the way around to get in, so…”

“It is Lord Krang’s reptilian enemies.” General Traag’s slow, deep voice interrupted Donatello’s long-winded explanation.

Sergeant Granitor straightened to attention. “Shall we destroy them, sir?”

“If we can, but completing the mission is top priority.”

“Dudes, you’re talking about us and we’re right here. Mondo rude.” Michelangelo chimed in.

Leonardo tuned out all the irrelevant chatter. “Whatever you’re up to, we’re here to stop it. Turtles attack!”

The rock soldiers pulled out their laser guns and opened fire as the Turtles dodged their way through the barrage of energy blasts. Leonardo slashed Traag’s firearm in half, while Raphael skewered Granitor’s.

Unfortunately, Donatello and Michelangelo’s strikes were not as successful. Michelangelo had gone after Traag, one chuck dinging off his green helmet, the other bouncing harmlessly off his clay-colored chest. “Uh, right. Rock dudes.”

Donatello’s staff hit and slid off Granitor’s blue helmet to splinter apart on his pointy, granite nose. “I may have miscalculated.”

General Traag plowed a massive stone fist into Michelangelo’s chest, knocking him back into Leonardo and sending both flying to the other side of the room. Sergeant Granitor, grabbed the remains of Donatello’s staff, lifting him and swinging him about like a flag, he batted Raphael into a row of pressurized, metal canisters after Raphael failed to duck the third pass. Swing a fourth time around, Granitor released the staff and let Donatello soar into Michelangelo and Leonardo, who were just regaining their feet.

“We’ve obtained enough reactor fuel. It is time to retreat.”

Leonardo, not yet ready to admit defeat, shoved Donatello off of him and flipped back to his feet, swords at the ready to halt Traag’s announced escape. That’s when he saw both Granitor and Traag in the hover-tank, ready to lob a pair of grenades.

“This rooms full of hydrogen. Everyone out!”

Hearing the panic in Donatello’s voice, Leonardo quickly changed plans, launching his remaining throwing stars at the nearest window and charging for it. “Follow me!”

Sensing his brothers right behind him, he smashed through the compromised glass and caught the nearest street lamp with his grapping hook. Throwing the rest of the rope behind him, he barely had a chance to see his brothers catch it before the entire third floor was engulfed in a massive explosion that rocketed them away from the building, their shells fortunately taking the brunt of the force and heat.

The rope slowed them for a second as they were blown from the point of origin but the wave of flame engulfed the street lamp, incinerating their rope and grapple. Cut loose, they hit the pavement rolling.

“Everyone ok?” Leonardo, somewhat dazed, forced himself upright to check on his brothers.

“As ok as the contents of a blender on puree.” If Raphael could joke he was fine.

“Anyone get the number of that bus that hit me?” Michelangelo asked as she staggered to his feet. Probably fine too.

“Whoa. It looks like Bebop and Rocksteady will thaw out much faster than I originally estimated.” Donatello gazed up at the now burning building, appearing no worse for wear.

Granitor and Traag were probably long gone and unless they wanted more bad press, they’d better make tracks before the fire department arrived. Clearing some debris away from the door to the turtle van, he was pleased to find their vehicle intact. Or at least intact enough for them to get away.

“Pile in, everyone. We’re moving out.”

Donatello, looked at the burning third floor of the lab building as it faded into the distance out the rear window of the van, the words ‘reactor fuel’ lighting off a chain reaction in his brain. The other thefts, the list of materials, the hydrogen from Sol Labs, it all came together suddenly in a unified whole.

“Uh oh.”

“Dude, tell me you’re just remembering that you left the oven on at home.” Michelangelo groaned out as Leonardo veered down a side street.

“No, guys, I know what the Shredder is building.” He turned back to his brothers, eyes wide with concern.

Raphael sighed as he scrubbed at the scorch marks, visible to him at the edge of his shell. “Dare I hope that it’s something nice and fun rather than a doomsday weapon?”

“I’m almost certain he’s building a nuclear fission-fusion hybrid reactor.” He waited for a reaction from the others, seeing only blank expressions staring back at him.

Raphael glanced over at Leonardo, still focused on the road. “I have no idea what that it is, but it’s definitely got a doomsday ring to its name.”

Donatello sighed in frustration. “It makes energy, a lot of it, like having a personal sun to power all your stuff.”

Raphael snorted. “And me without my SPF eighty thousand sunblock.”

Leonardo ignored him. “What could he power with this thing?”

Donatello shrugged as his mind filtered through the seemingly unlimited possibilities. “Just about anything, but since it’s the Shredder, my guess would be something to do with the Technodrome.”

“Ooh, and world domination. Can’t forget that.” Michelangelo added helpfully.

“Gee thanks, because we needed that reminder.” Raphael rolled his eyes, but Michelangelo ignored him as he flitted off to an only marginally relevant topic.

“Hey, why don’t you build one of these gizmos for us? It sounds like we could have the ultimate pizza oven with it.”

Donatello frowned. “I actually theorized designs for a similar device a long time ago, but shelved them. While it is an incredibly efficient source of mostly clean energy, there are some inherent stability issues that make the benefits not worth the risk.”

Michelangelo blinked at him. “Uh, does that mean you’re working on it?”

Donatello sighed and opened his mouth to explain in greater detail, but Leonardo, still watching the road, help up a hand, forestalling him. “So, back on task, we’re going to have to infiltrate to Technodrome…”

“…assuming we can locate it. They’ve got new cloaking technology that I haven’t cracked yet.” Donatello interjected.

“…and break this reactor.” Leonardo finished as though there had been no interruption.

Donatello gasped as he realized what his brother had just said. “No! Weren’t you listening?”

“Doesn’t really matter if you’re speaking a made up language, does it?” Raphael pointed out.

“If the reactor is operational, we need to carefully dismantle it. Very carefully.”

Leonardo took a breath, rubbing the bridge of his beak with one hand. “You want us to fight off all the defenses of the Technodrome, while you slowly take this device apart?”

Donatello nodded emphatically. “Yes.”

Raphael laughed. “Well, if that’s all…”

“And what happens if we’re not careful?” Leonardo inquired.

Donatello, chose his words carefully, not wanting to be misunderstood. “If destabilized, the Shredder’s personal sun becomes his personal supernova and Ohio will probably have some brand new Atlantic coastline.”

He watched his brothers blink at each other in dismayed shock.

Leonardo took another deep breath. “Ok, the three of us will hold off all the Shredder’s forces and buy Donatello the time he needs to carefully disable the reactor.”

Raphael rolled his eyes. “Great plan. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Leonardo managed a half-hearted grin. “Sorry, but it’s all we’ve got.”

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