"What's taking Orvar and Glendower so long?" Ceadda mutters.
"Have you tried to contact them?" an armed rebel asks.
"I have, but they don't answer their flying car's communicator. " Ceadda scratches his chin.
"Maybe they're still gathering intelligence on the terrain, sir." the rebel shrugs.
"You might be right..." Ceadda's eyes widen. "I'll wait a few more minutes before contacting them again.
"Yes?" Ceadda lifts his eyebrow.
"Can we really trust those 'Ninja Turtles'?"
"I damn hope so..." Ceadda anxiously taps his finger on the desk.
"By the way, sir." the rebel clears his throat. "Kallikrates would like to see you."
"Tell him to come in, then." Ceadda picks up a cigar.
The armed rebel nods and opens the door, letting Kallikrates enter Ceadda's office. Ceadda signals him that he wants to be alone with Kallikrates and the armed rebel salutes his general and then proceeds to leave the room. Kallikrates stares at a Ceadda who points his palm at the empty chair on the opposite sign of desk, asking Kallikrates to have a seat.
"I see your eyes are fully healed." Ceadda chuckles.
"About time!" Kallikrates cries. "That accursed reptilian almost blinded me for life."
"Well, you almost bit one's head off. What goes around..." Ceadda raises his hands defensively.
"Speaking of that... he asked me about the Neutrinos." Kallikrates scratches his chin.
"The naturals of your home planet?" Ceadda takes a puff on his cigar.
"Yes, that is correct." Kallikrates nods. "Just a few hours ago I have come into contact with his majesty of the Neutrino Kingdom and told him about my... 'encounter' with such creatures. And he told me they are indeed friends of our kingdom."
"The Neutrinos are one of Krang's biggest enemies. I guess that kills any chance of those creatures being spies sent by Krang." Ceadda sighs in relief.
"Indeed, my dear general." Kallikrates nods.
"Just call me 'general' or 'sir', for crisakes!" Ceadda fumes.
"Why is that, my dear friend?"
"This isn't a royal courtyard!" Ceadda slams his fist on the desk. "This is a military!"
"I shall never get used to such a lingo." Kallikrates sighs.
"You know, for a fancy fellow, you sure are scary in battle." Ceadda lifts his eyebrow.
"Only some are gentlemen in peacetime, but we're all barbarians in wartime." Kallikrates grabs a cigar from Ceadda's box.
"Well, your buddies, the ultra-pacifists Neutrinos have also seemed to start changing their attitude toward war lately." Ceadda's lends Kallikrates his lighter.
"We are all fighting for survival." Kallikrates gives a puff. The Neutrinos just want to get rid of Krang. After that, it doesn't really matter who rules Dimension X as long as they're left in peace."
"Who would want to attack the Neutrino Kingdom, anyway? That place has nothing interesting. Just a bunch of annoying immature teenagers partying all day. It's worse than a fucking college campus." Ceadda shudders. "Only a tyrant like Krang to get on their bad side."
"Pacifism eventually makes you an easy target, though. And the Neutrinos are finally realizing that."
"Well, as long as they don't get any funny ideas and get on with their bohemian lives after they help us fighting Krang, then fine." Ceadda folds his arms.
"Have you tried contacting the leaders of other factions, my dear friend?" Kallikrates inquires.
"Yes... and DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Ceadda slams his fist on the desk again.
"I see." Kallikrates clears his throat. "And what was their feedback?"
"They'd like to meet and hold possible negotiations. Since everyone knows that Krang is back, it ain't gonna be hard to make every faction join forces to fight him."
"Magnificent, I'll say!" Kallikrates smiles.
"Good." Ceadda picks up some papers. "Now teleport the hell outta my sight, you 2nd grade pianist!" he orders.
"Yes, dear general." Kallikrates bows and teleports out of Ceadda's office.
Ceadda decides to try to contact Orvar and Glendower again and still no answer. Something was definitely wrong there.
"Channel 6 news! What can I do for you?" Irma answers a call.
"Morning, ma'am. Why isn't miss O'Neil on the news anymore?" the caller asks. "That Fenwick fella is garbage!"
"H-huh..." Irma stutters. She'd LOVE to answer his question, but just couldn't. "I'm afraid we cannot reveal that, mister."
"Well, you're losing a viewer until miss O'Neil is back on air, then!" he cries and finishes the call.
This has not been an easy day for Irma. She works as a receptionist most of the time, although sometimes she works as a cameramen. Channel 6 was well known for being short on staff due to Burne being a big cheapskate.
The truth was, Channel 6 has lost ratings in the past few days, which was when Vernon replaced April on the news. Burne kept sweeping it under the carpet despite the significant ratings loss. Vernon better up his game fast, though.
Meanwhile, April was doing camerawork for one of Channel 6's crappy talk shows for housewives. Humiliating to say the least. She was quickly becoming the laughing stock of the station. Naturally, Vernon loved to remind her of it every time they crossed paths, whether at lunch or in the halls.
Due to there still being no contact by the Turtles, there wasn't much April, Splinter, Zack or Casey Jones could do. Splinter kept meditating to keep calm. April was concerned about not getting fired while she was also concerned about the Turtles and Earth at the same time. Zach was in school but being unable to concentrate since his mind was occupied with the Turtles. An unpleasant encounter with his High School bullies didn't make his day better either. Zach had one friend only, Caitlin. She was also a big TMNT fan, which led to their classmates taunting Zach about his 'girlfriend'. Naturally, they were just friends. As for Casey Jones, he just kept doing his typical vigilante routine and chasing ordinary folk who he mistook as criminals. There was even an urban legend in NYC that one better think twice before crossing the street with the red light. Not because of the cars, but because of someone emerging out of the shadows and beating them up.
At the Technodrome, the Turtles were locked in a cell alongside with Orvar and Glendower.
"Boy, what a colossal failure." Donatello sighs in defeat.
"Major bummer, amigo." Michelangelo feels discouraged as well.
"And all because of that dumb lizard queen!" Raphael pointes angrily at Glendower.
"I was doing fine until you shellbacks got in my way!" Glendower cries.
"Oh, please!" Donatello stands up. "If it wasn't for your hastiness, we wouldn't be here now!"
"Oh yeah?" Glendower widens his eyes. "I thought you were supposed to be oh so amazing warriors. What a joke!" he chuckles.
"Alright, I've had enough with Mondo Gecko's evil twin here." Raphael clenches his teeth and raises his fists.
"Knock it off!" Leonardo cries. Everyone stops and turns their heads to him. He knew how to use the perfect tone to command respect in these kind of situations.
"Arguing isn't going to get us anywhere." Leonardo reprehends everyone. "There's no point in putting the blame solely on someone. We gotta figure out how to break free." he slams his fist on his palm.
"Leonardo is right." Donatello nods. "I don't see how we can leave this cell, though. These cell's bars are laser, so if we touch them we'll just get 2nd and 3rd degree burns." he scratches his chin.
"Face it, guys. We've gotten ourselves in a real mess this time." Raphael falls on a bench with his chin on his palms. "Only a miracle of some sort can save us now."
"Ceadda knows where we are." Leonardo reminds him. "He'll call some back up soon."
"Yeah, right." Raphael rolls his eyes. "The losers who were never able to beat Krang are gonna save us. Seems legit." he folds his arms.
"Ya haven't proved jackshit yet either, stuffed toy!" Glendower cries.
"Please, Glendower..:" Orvar pleads from the back of the cell, lying on the bench with stomach pain from his battle wounds.
"You want proof?" Raphael smirks. "Our leader fucked up yours badly." he smugly points at Orvar.
"Raphael, shut up!" Leonardo orders. "Let us hear Orvar."
Orvar slowly sits up on the bench and looks at the Turtles for a few moments before opening his mouth again.
"I know Krang quite well." he clears his throat. "I used to serve in his army." he says.
"Woah." Michelangelo is taken aback.
"Why did you serve under someone like him?" Donatello asks.
"Before Krang took over Dimension X" he begins his long explanation. "Dimension X was in a similar situation to what it is today. Not as bad with factions fighting each others for power, but in the sense that it was an unstable and unsafe place for travelers and residents alike. Each planet had its own rulers, of course, but they were always under the imminent threat of getting invaded or attacked by aliens from other galaxies. each other. Also, the League of Planets was a complete failure since each planet could not get on the same page about most issues regarding the territorial disputes in the Dimension and what measures to take to get rid of the aliens from other galaxies who kept trying to conquer every planet in our dimension."
"Boy, this is scarily similar to Earth." Raphael gulps.
"Anyway" Orvar continues. "Krang appears and makes a lot of speeches and convincing promises. He promised he'd defeat the outsiders who kept attacking us and thus bring peace and stability to Dimension X. Not to mention he brought in advanced technology that wasn't known in our galaxy. And then he also promised he'd grant every planet and every alien race equal rights."
"So, what happened?" Michelangelo asks.
"Take a wild guess, Michelangelo." Raphael rolls his eyes.
"Krang did defeat the outsiders who kept attacking the planets in our dimension. So he did fulfill that promise of his. But then his personal army of Rock Warriors began attacking everyone and spreading fear. And since he was too powerful, every planet eventually fell under his rule."
"Ceadda has told us that Krang instituted slavery and genocide throughout the dimension." Donatello says.
"And it's true." Orvar nods. "Krang was a tyrant. He would enslave a big portion of the male population of each planet. As for genocide, he targeted a few planets, mainly those who he perceived as the biggest threat in terms of resistance. 80% of Glendower's race was massacred, per example."
The Turtles turn their heads at Glendower who is keeping his head low and has tears in his eyes at the moment. Maybe the temperamental lizard had a reason for his anger after all.
"As for me serving in Krang's army at some point." Orvar carried on. "As I've said, Krang seemed like a light of hope for a bright future. So I quickly joined his army in order to fight the invaders from other galaxies. I got promoted pretty quickly and was even awarded a few medals. All of them by Tragg, Krang's 2nd in command. But as I realized that I had made a big mistake and that Krang was actually a tyrant, I defected, which cost me the lives of people of my village, including my father and sister. Krang showed no mercy."
Orvar kept his calm and collected composure. Unlike Glendower, he didn't feel like crying as he recalled painful memories. This surprised the Turtles to some extent.
"What about Krang's banishment and his former body?" Donatello asks.
"Well, you see." Orvar stood up. "The current existing factions in Dimension X aren't exactly new. After Krang put into practice his ruthless dictatorship, resistance movements got formed slowly. Eventually, each faction thought it would be best just to join forces and fight Krang together. I defected from Krang's army fairly late, even though I quickly became a critic of his policies. But I just could not make such a quick decision and had to protect my family and my friends. As the rebel factions got more powerful and formed alliances, I decided to defect and join them. Being a former colonel, I had a lot of inside info about Krang that they were eager to hear about. After a long battle we were able to siege Krang's fortress at the time and take him over to war court, which is where war criminals from the galaxy are judged at. Result: Krang got his body removed, since he couldn't move around without it, and was banished to another dimension."
"Ours." Raphael says dryly.
"Some wanted Krang dead, while others like me thought that would have made us a monster just like him. That being said, I apologize for Krang getting banished to your galaxy and also causing you pain and suffering." Orvar kneels before the Turtles and lays his hands and his head on the ground. The Turtles simply start laughing, which makes Orvar stand up quickly again and staring at them perplexed. Glendower cant' tell what's so funny about it either.
"Suffering?" Raphael gasps for air. "Krang's lucky if he even managed to kill a single person on Earth!" he wipes a tear from his eye.
"Yea, he's a laughing stock for us, alongside shred-head!" Michelangelo chuckles.
Glendower and Orvar still couldn't believe the mere idea of someone finding Krang a "joke". Just what were these strangers who called themselves the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" made of?
"Don't worry, Orvar." Leonardo places his hand on Orvar's shoulder. "We're gonna get out of here and defeat Krang!" he smiles.
"One second." Michelangelo breaks in the conversation. "What about the Neutrinos?"
"The Neutrinos?" Orvar blinks. "They're a peaceful race who lives in the outskirts of the Dimension. What about them?"
"That 4 eyed dude we've faced yesterday was from their planet!" Michelangelo cries.
"Oh Kallikrates. Yes, he lived there for a long time. He has connections with the Neutrino royal family, if I'm not mistaken. Orvar scratches his chin.
"Perfect!" Donatello snaps his fingers. "Maybe we can get the Neutrinos to help us somehow."
But suddenly, the Technodrome starts moving and everyone loses their balance and falls on the ground. What was going on?
"Where is the portal going to take us, Krang?" Shredder asks.
"Why, to the Big Apple, of course!" Krang smiles.
"Also, why haven't we killed the Turtles yet?" he complains.
"I want them to see their friends succumb first, Shredder!" Krang lets out his trademark laugh.
"Fine." Shredder smirks. "That way I can kill Splinter in front of their very eyes and them kill them right after I'm done with him." Shredder lets out an evil laugh as well.
It's night. Another successful day at work for Vernon. Sure, he wasn't topping ratings yet, but he was not concerned. Vernon was not only infamous for his cowardice but also for his overconfidence and narcissism. April was falling lower and lower in the ladder while he was on his way to become Channel 6's top reporter. Tomorrow he's going to interview the mayor. And not just an ordinary interview, but in a face-to-face hour long interview on Channel 6's studios. Not even April has gotten such honor before.
It's 10pm now. Vernon decides it's time to go to bed since tomorrow is going to be a full day. Vernon brushes his teeth and puts on his teddy bear pattern pink pajamas afterwards.
Vernon lays in bed and quickly falls asleep. Anyone who'd be watching him would call the expression on his face "a stupid smile" and figure he'd be having an amazing wet dream at the time. But no, he was just overtly happy with his professional life as of late. But a few minutes in the sleep, Vernon suddenly wakes up due to outside noise. He sits on his bed startled wondering what's going on and quickly rushes up to his window. He opens the curtains and his jaw drops on the floor as he sees the Technodrome rolling through the streets of Manhattan. Vernon definitely recognized the impenetrable fortress instantly. In fact, he had even been inside it before and had also been to the Dimension X alongside the Turtles, April and Irma. And if it wasn't for them, he'd have been left to rot and die in that hellhole. Vernon was now seriously concerned and scared. The Technodrome always meant bad news. A younger Vernon would have rushed out of his apartment with a camera on his hands and film the Technodrome slowly driving down the streets in the night, but bad experiences with Shredder and his gang wised him up a bit. Vernon was now unsure what to do. He couldn't sleep now since he was afraid of what might happen now with Shredder and Krang being back on Earth. Would the Turtles be able to stop them as usual? Although Vernon really hasn't heard from the Turtles in a while now...
On the other side of Manhattan, April can't even fall asleep due to being stressed out over the recent happenings. She had worked so hard since she left college all to end up becoming a nobody after some years of spotlight. What else was coming? Unemployment? And who'd want to hire her afterwards. Did she have to stop being a reporter and stick to write columns in low reputed magazines? All of these thoughts rushed to her mind, She had never hated her job and her life so much before. She was beginning to suffer from insomnia and looked worse and more tired at the workplace every day. And little did she know that things were about to get worse and that Splinter was right about Shredder and Krang planning to conquer Earth again. And still no signs of the Turtles. When would this nightmare finally come to an end? And unlike Vernon, April doesn't know that the Technodrome is on Earth yet due to being far from the place it landed on. But she wouldn't remain ignorant of its presence on Earth for much longer.
However, at the same time, Splinter was having very bad vibes whilst meditating at the same time. And a brief moment later he'd feel the Lair trembling due to a very heavy vehicle driving over it on the surface. He was almost a hundred percent sure that it was the Technodrome. What else could it be? And then his turtlecom rang.
"Splinter." it was Casey Jones on the receiving end.
"Casey!" Splinter replied.
"I just saw that big fortress where brain and tin-head usually roll in driving down the streets." he warned.
"Just as I feared." Splinter's eyes widen.
"Man, those bozos come over to Earth and the Turtles get stuck in space instead." Casey complains.
"No, Casey." Splinter shakes his head. "I suspect the Turtles are a lot closer than we think.
Casey Jones didn't say anything more and decided to abruptly end the call. Splinter just faceplamed. Knowing Casey, this impulsive attitude could only mean one thing:
He was going to break into the Technodrome and look for the Turtles.
TO BE CONTINUED...