Dawn in two hours. Donatello desperately wanted to push up his breather mask and wipe the sweat off his face, but that would mean a face full of caustic Kraang air, and they had enough difficulties already. So he just blinked the sweat out of his eyes and concentrated on the final connections. The network of wires and plates and scavenged Kraang equipment hummed with energy. Almost ready. Around him the ruins of New York thrust dark fingers into the putrid sky.
A hand rested on his shoulder and he looked up. April's face was tense behind the mask, the skin around the green eyes tight with worry. But the curl of red hair on her forehead was as bright as ever. Sixteen years, five months and twenty-seven days since they had first met and she still looked fantastic. Twenty-eight days, actually, since midnight.
She leaned down until their masks touched. "I'm sending everyone else home. Casey and I will stay for the transfer." Engines burred and three of their four vans peeled away through the ruined streets, taking the rest of the rebel group back to the relative safety of the compound.
He smiled at her and she smiled back, though the lines of worry stayed. He wanted to pull her down for a kiss, but that last kiss had already been shared, hours ago. Now there was only the portal and the journey, possibly his last. He wouldn't think about that.
Instead he concentrated on his hands, on wires and leads and pins that must go together in the right combination. Another hour passed before everything came online and then it was time. He stood and stepped into the clear space in the middle of his creation. Glass crunched under his feet. In the pre-dawn light he could see Casey leaning against the van in studied nonchalance. No need to tell him to look after her. They shared a nod.
In a few quick steps April was by his side, her gloved hand gripping his. He leaned down until their breathers touched.
"Good luck," she said.
He squeezed her hand. "This could be forever, April."
She stepped over to the control panel, her hand on the toggle that would fire up the portal and either send him back, as planned, or tear him to atoms. Which was a possibility, though the probability was low. Fairly low. His skin crawled in anticipation. April's hand hovered over the toggle, unmoving.
"Press it, Red," he said, knowing she would see him speak but not hear what he was saying. He felt again for the plasma blaster on his back. April's hand moved and the world shimmered around him.
Here we go.