My name is Leonardo. And right now my brothers and I are in a mess of trouble. Our backs are against the wall in some trash strewn alley as we face down members of the Purple Dragons, the toughest street gang on the east side. These guys have been known take down anyone that gets in their way.

They haven't met us.

I hold my katana in a relaxed, ready form. To my left are Donatello and Michelangelo, armed and ready with Bo Staff and Nunchucks respectively. Raphael stands to my right with twin Sai in hand. I can practically feel his energy surging off him. he's just waiting for an opportunity to attack.

"You're going down freaks." Their leader says, spinning a wooden stick. "No one messes with the Purple Dragons. Especially wearing stupid turtle costumes."

He's wrong. We're not wearing costumes.

This story begins underground in a well-crafted home carved into a small corner of the NYC sewer system. Here, a man sized rat with a sliced left ear sits, a jade stick in one hand, and a lit candle in the other. When he spoke, his voice resonated with wisdom and age.

"The greatest ally a ninja can have is the shadows." The rat explained to the darkness around him, "To stray from them and expose your position would spell doom. For today's exercise, try to extinguish this candle without being seen."

Nothing happened at first, but then, the rat heard footsteps quickly approaching. He ducked as a shadowed figure attempted to jump kick him. The figure stumbled as it landed, crashing into a wall.

"Too noisy, Donatello." the rat chastised.

Another figure landed near him, sprinting towards the rat. The rat then moved and tripped him with his stick, sending this new figure crashing into Donatello.

"Too clumsy, Michelangelo." He said as he resumed sitting.

A third one came up running, ready to swing a punch. The rat moved just in time, and the figure tripped into the other two.

"Poor choice, Raphael."

Suddenly, a fourth figure came down from above, kicking the candle out of the rat's hand. As soon as the figure caught it, they blew it out, plunging the room into darkness. Then, the lights came on, revealing the four figures. They were humanoid turtles, each the size of a teenager and each wearing elbow and knee pads, belts and individually colored mask. Each of them also differed physically as well. The one in red was the most muscular of the four, the purple one, the tallest, and the orange one the shortest with freckles across his face. The blue turtle, the one that put out the candle, seemed to be the most balanced of the four. The rat then went over to the blue turtle.

"Well done, Leonardo." The rat complimented.

"Thank you, Master Splinter." Leonardo replied.

The turtle in red, Raphael, walk up to Leonardo, not happy in the slightest.

"Teacher's pet." he insulted in a thick New York accent.

"Ninja dropout." Leo responded, tossing the remains of the now extinguished candle at his brother.

A chorus of ooh's came from Donatello in purple and Michelangelo in orange. Raph tried to get at Leo, wanting to knock the smug look off his face, but Splinter put his staff in the way.

"This is not a competition, Raphael," Splinter instructed. "it is about self-improvement."

"He's right Raph." Mikey said, placing his hands on his brother's shoulders. "But if it were I'd win."

Unbeknownst to the orange turtle, Splinter went behind him and put his finger under his neck causing him serious pain.

"Ah!" He squealed, speaking quickly."But what's really important is that we all did our best. Good job everyone!"

Splinter then released him, allowing him to drop to the ground. Mikey rubbed his neck in pain as Splinter just chuckled.

"Gather around my sons." He commanded, "I have something important to say."

The four turtles sat down, circling their rodent master.

"My sons, you have grown strong in your training and have made me proud. As such, you are ready for the next step in your journey."

"Does this mean-?" Leo started to ask.

"Yes," Splinter interrupted, a smile gracing his snout, "You will finally receive your weapons."

The four turtles all shouted with joy as Splinter walked over to a wall. Pressing a large red button, a lifting door slowly moved up, revealing shelves of all kinds of ninja weapons.

"The choice is yours, my sons." He told them. "Choose wisely."

He barely finished his sentence before they all rushed to see what their future weapons would be. Michelangelo saw many that sparked his interest, reminding him of the many kung-fu movies he watched as a kid. He stopped at one set of weapons in particular, a pair of nunchuks.

"Awesome…" he said, picking them up and holding them. "Just like Bruce Lee!"

He spun the weapons around, mimicking the moves of the actor and laughing as he did.

"Ah, the nunchaku." Splinter said from behind him. "They are the weapons of a showman; agile, versatile, and usually underestimated. I think you will use them well."

Mikey looked down at his new weapons and smiled. Meanwhile, Donatello was also searching for his ideal weapon. Some were more interesting than others, especially the sheer number of staff related weapons. He stopped at a plain Bo staff. For some reason, he picked it up and spun it a little. Splinter walked toward him as Donnie stopped.

"I see you have an interest in the Bo staff." He commented, stroking his goatee with a single paw. "Sturdy, strong, and adaptable. A fitting tool for one such as yourself."

Donnie smiled at his sensei's words, looking at the staff with an analytical eye.

"I can see potential for improvements." He noted.

Leonardo skimmed through many weapons as well, both bladed and blunt. He couldn't find one that suited him, until he saw two flat, slightly angled swords.

"Wow." He said in awe, taking the weapons off the wall.

"Ah yes, the Katana swords." Splinter mused, approaching his son, "Their beauty in unmatched and their ferocity in battle, unequaled. They will prove useful to you."

Leo continued studying the sword, twirling them in his hands to get a feel for them. Raph noted Leo's choice and growled. He had wanted the swords, but he knew he wouldn't be able to take them from Leo. Disappointed, he started looking for a different weapon, angrily growling about his brother. Splinter noticed this, and pulled twin sai off the wall.

"Raphael." He called.

The red turtle looked over, just in time to catch the two sai now flying at his face. He looked at the weapons, adjusting his grip so he was holding them properly.

"These twin sai are a common close-quarters weapon. While they do not have the reach of a sword, they are a well-used weapon to counter long range attacks"

Raph felt how well these small weapons fit in his hands. He then spun them around by the prongs, smiling as he did. They weren't swords, but they would certainly do.

"I trust you will use these gifts well. And remember, confrontation must always be a last resort. A true warrior never goes seeking danger, but must be prepared for it."

"Hai Sensei." They all say at once.

Splinter then turned to leave, until Leonardo spoke up.

"Um, Sensei?" Leonardo started.

Splinter turned around to face his sons.

"We were talking..." Leo continued, wringing his hands a bit. "And we thought that maybe... you know, since we've come so far in our training... and now that were all 15... that you'd be willing to let us go to the surface."

Splinter stroked his chin at this notion. He had seen them grow in their training but this was an unexpected request.

"Hmm, the surface eh?" Splinter asked.

"Yeah." Mikey answered quickly.

"Indeed you have come far," Splinter allowed. "But this is an undertaking that would take much more time and training."

"But haven't we trained and worked hard already?" Donatello asked.

"Yes, but an undertaking like this takes a great amount of wisdom that you four do not yet possess."

"But Sensei, doesn't wisdom come from experience?" Leonardo asked.

"Yes."

"And doesn't experience come from making mistakes?" Leonardo continued.

"Yes" Splinter responded again.

"So, we can't gain the wisdom unless we make the mistakes." Leo rationalized. "So, going up may be a good idea after all."

"Yes, and no." Splinter answered causing the turtles to moan. "The mistakes you make up there may not be the greatest to learn from."

"Translation, he's afraid someone might see us." Raphael said sarcastically.

This caused Splinter to snap.

"Of course I am!" He shouted, slamming his stick on the ground. "I have often said the surface world is a dangerous place. Even those who would be our allies would never understand us. What people don't understand, they fear. And what they fear, they destroy."

This made all the turtles look at each other nervously, except Leonardo.

"We know Sensei," he started. "And were very grateful for all that you've done to protect us, but you said yourself. We have grown in our training, and well, we can't spend the rest of our lives down here.

Splinter looked at the innocence in his sons. Finally, he responded.

"You may go, tonight."

The turtles cheered and high five'd, or rather, high three'd each other in excitement.

Later that night, they assembled in front of Splinter, each with their respective weapons stored on their person.

"You are going up to a strange and hostile world." Splinter warned. "Remember maintain awareness at all times."

"Hai Sensei!" They all responded at once.

"Always stay together." He interjected as they were about to leave.

"Hai Sensei!" They respond straightening back up.

"Stay in the shadows." He interrupted again.

"Hai Sensei!"

"Don't talk to strangers."

"Hai Sensei!" They responded slightly annoyed.

"Everyone is a stranger."

"Hai Sensei." They responded slightly more annoyed.

Splinter exhaled and said, "Be careful, and good luck."

The turtles headed to the exit and out of the lair.

"And look both ways before crossing the street!" Splinter called out.

After a while, the four made their way to a manhole cover. Leo slowly lifted it out of the way. Once fully moved, he peered out to make sure it was safe to go up.

"Hurry up, Leo." Mikey called up. "I don't want to stare at your shell any more than I have to."

Leo just rolled his eyes and climbed out. The others followed after. Once up top, they look around and marveled at the world above.

"Wow."

"This is incredible."

"Sweet."

"Nice."

They continued walking down the street, gazing at the wonders this new world had to offer.

"Wow ." Donatello exclaimed peering into an electronic shop. "Look at all the computers. Wait, is that a next-gen X-23 handheld processor?"

"I don't know, Donatello?" Raph responded in a cynical tone. "Is it?"

Donnie took a closer look.

"It is!" he exclaimed.

Just then, the four turtles heard a commotion from inside the store.

"Someone's coming." Mikey shouted.

"Quick to the alley!" Leo ordered.

The four bolted into the alley. Just as they finally got out of sight, a man carrying a pizza shouting at someone inside the store.

"Come on man, I drove for an hour to find this place." The pizza guy shouted.

"I ain't paying for late pizza!" Someone from inside the store shouted.

Frustrated the man threw the pizza in a nearby trash can, then got in his car and drove off. Once he was gone, the four turtles emerged from the alley.

"That was close." Donnie exclaimed.

"We're too exposed out here." Leo noted, turning up to the rooftop. "Come on let's move."

Leo, Donnie, and Raph bolted back into the alley, making their way up to the roof. Mikey, however, stayed behind and grabbed the pizza box the guy threw away. Once the turtles made it to the roof, they were quick to notice that Michelangelo was missing.

"Where's Mikey?" Leo questioned.

Just as he asked that, their brother joined them on the roof carrying a pizza box in his hands.

"Where were you?" Leo asked.

"What are you holding" Donnie inquired as well.

"It's something that guy threw out." Mikey answered. "I think it's called 'Pi-pizza."

Mikey then proceeded to open the box, revealing a pepperoni pizza inside. The four turtles looked at it in amazement.

"What is it?" Leo asked.

"I think it's… food." Donnie answered with the slightest uncertainty.

"Doesn't look like any food I've ever seen." Raph commented.

"Maybe we should try it." Donnie suggested.

"I'm not eating it." Raph interjected.

"I'll eat it." Mikey said grabbing a slice.

Slowly, carefully, he brought the slice to his mouth. Then, he took a tiny bite out of it. The second the bite hit his tongue, his mind exploded. Or at least that's what it felt like. The flavor of the pizza was beyond compare. He quickly scarfed down the rest of the pizza, leaving his brothers in a confused state.

"So?" Raph asked. Is it good?"

"Uh," Mikey responded hesitantly. "No. you guys wouldn't like it. I'll take the rest."

"Hey!" Leo interjected.

"No way!" Donnie responded as well as all four grabbed slices of the pizza until there was nothing left.

"Amazing!" Leo commented.

"Incredible!" Donnie marveled.

"I never thought there'd be anything better the food we had at home, but this is amazing!" Raph added.

"I love it up here!" Mikey shouted.

Meanwhile, not too far away, two women were out for a walk in the city. One of them, a young woman in her early 20's with red hair was just finishing up a phone call she'd suddenly received from her father.

"Alright," She conversed. "Gotta go dad. Love ya. Bye."

"It sounds like your dad's pretty happy for you April." The other girl, Irma noted as she hung up the phone.

"Yeah," April responded, putting up the phone. "Though I can't help but think he wishes I got into the family business."

"The store or the science?" Irma asked.

"Pick one." she responded.

"Well you can't blame him for wanting to spend more time with you." Irma responded.

"Like living in the same building isn't enough?"

"Fair point, but still."

"I know." April admitted. "He's always pushed for us to work together since Mom died. And I love him for it. It's just…"

Before she could finish that sentence, the sound of breaking glass rang out from an alley way from across the street.

"Just what?" Irma asked.

April just ignored her before bolting across the street, leaving Irma in the dust.

"April!" Irma called out. "Where ya going?"

"There might be a story over there!" April called about. "Can't pass this up."

"Um…" Irma replied just standing there. "OK! See ya tomorrow!"

The turtles were having the time of their lives, racing across the rooftops and leaping from building to building. It was an exhilarating experience for all of them. After being stuck in the sewers all their lives, to have this mobility, this freedom, it was the greatest feeling they ever had. Mikey leaped off one rooftop, doing a triple flip through the air, then making a perfect landing on the ground.

"Ha! Top that bros!" Mikey called back.

"You're on!" Don called back, running towards the edge.

He pulled out his staff and used it to vault over the gap between buildings, sliding on the rooftop as he landed. With one more quick spin of the staff, he holstered his weapon.

"How's that?" Donnie asked, high three-ing his brother.

Leo then followed suit, jumping off the roof, flipping as he goes. He then landed on the roof on his hands, then flips off onto his feet, throwing his hands in the air. The two turtles applauded their brothers feat.

"Nice." Mikey complimented.

"Very well executed." Donnie agreed.

"Thanks boys." Leo responded graciously before calling back to Raphael. "Whatcha got, Raph?"

"Just watch." Raph called back before going to the other side of the roof to get a running start.

Once he was far back enough, he bolted forward. As he reached the edge of the roof, he jumped off and plunged into his brother's shoulder first. Before the others could react, he plowed into them, forcing them all to the ground.

"What was that?" Leo asked getting himself up.

"Yeah! You didn't do any flips or anything." Donnie noted.

"So?" Raph asked, standing up.

Before any of the other turtles could answer, the sound of breaking glass rang out. On impulse, the turtles looked over the ledge. Down on the streets below, a group of eight street punks were breaking into a store.

"Looks like a couple of late shoppers." Raph observed before he pulled out his sai. "What do you say we test out how well these weapons really work?"

"Sweet." Mikey remarked, pulling out one of his nunchucks.

"Hold it guys." Leo said before anyone could do anything. "Master Splinter told us to stay away from people."

"I don't think Master Splinter would approve of letting street punks walk away with countless dollars of stolen money either." Raph retorted.

"True," Leo admitted. "But we have to be smart about this."

"Whatever we do, we better do it soon." Donnie advised.

"What do you mean, Don?" Leo asked.

Donnie pointed down to the alley, where a young girl with red hair was ducking behind some trash cans pulling out her phone.

"What the shell is she doing?" Raph exclaimed.

"I don't know," Leo remarked. "But we gotta move. Now."

Down below, April was making sure to stay out of sight so she could get good footage of the robbery without being seen by the crooks.

"That's it boys. Keep on thieving." April remarked to herself as the crooks made their way out of the store.

"Easiest score we ever made." One of the punks said in enjoyment.

"Yeah. Did you see that guy squirm?" One guy asked, chuckling.

"Shut it!" another one of them, presumably the leader, ordered. "Come on. The boss is waiting for us."

"The boss?" April asked, leaning forward to get a little closer.

Unfortunately, she leaned over a bit too far and knocked over one of the trash can she was hiding behind. The crooks turned around to see her crouched over, a phone in hand.

"Well what do we have here?" the leader asked pulling out a staff. "Someone snooping around where she doesn't belong?"

"Let's teach her a lesson." A punk with a purple Mohawk and 80's visor goggles suggested, pulling out a chain.

They all started to walk over to her, cracking their knuckles and preparing their weapons. Before they could get close enough to hurt her, several throwing stars were tossed at the street lamps above, drowning the alley in darkness.

"Didn't your mothers tell you it's not nice to pick on girls?" a voice rang out.

The punks and April turned to see the turtles, cloaked in shadow standing in a line at the back of the alley.

"Maybe it's you that needs to be taught a lesson." Leonardo finished pulling out one of his swords.

The other turtles followed suit at the sight of the punks walking towards them.

"You're going down freaks." The leader declared twirling his staff. "No one messes with the Purple Dragons. Especially wearing stupid turtle costumes."

With that, the four jumped into the air, crying out. The Purple Dragons look up in terror as the turtles descended on them. Leonardo struck one of them with the hilt of his sword, and another with a kick to the head on the way down.

Once he landed, Donatello struck a third in the stomach with his staff before spinning around and striking him on the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.

Two dragons came charging at Raph backing him into a corner. Just as the two reached him, Raph, flipped right over them. As the two turned to face him, Raph tossed his sai at their hands, pinning them to the wall. Before they could pull themselves free, Raph ran towards them and struck them both in the stomach, knocking them out cold. Raph then just pulled out his sai, letting the two goons fall to the ground.

"I'm liking these sai more and more." Raph said, giving them a spin.

One other Purple Dragon dressed in a yellow shirt, brown vest and matching pants, came towards Mikey. As the Purple Dragon swung at him, Mikey jumped out of the way. Once Mikey landed, he spun his chucks around and continually struck the dragon across the face. Once Mikey stopped spinning his weapon, the punk was so disoriented that just one breath of air from Mikey caused him to fall to the ground unconscious.

"What are these freaks?" one Purple Dragon asked, back to back with the leader.

"Doesn't matter. Freaks bleed right?" The leader retorted, charging towards Raph.

The leader swung at Raph with his staff. Raph caught it with his sai and delivered a side kick to the stomach, causing him to crash into the other Purple Dragon. They both fell to the ground in a groaning heap. The leader was about to get up when he saw Leo's sword pointing at his face.

"Yes, we can bleed." Leo answered. "And so will you if you don't beat it. Now!"

The leader then clambered to his feet and bolted. The rest of the Purple Dragons followed suit.

"Yeah, beat it ya punks." Mikey called out as he joined up with his other brothers.

"Come on." Leo ordered. "Let's book."

With that, the four turtles made their way up a nearby fire escape, complimenting themselves along the way. Unbeknownst to them, April had been hiding behind the remaining trash cans during the fight, unable to see who the four 'people' who saved her.

"What was that?" she asked, following them up the fire escape.

"We were awesome!" Leo said, coming up onto the roof.

"Righteous!" Mikey added, joining him.

"Wicked!" Raph continued.

"Bossa nova!" Donnie exclaimed, coming onto the roof as well.

This caused all the turtles to turn to him.

"Bossa nova?" Mikey asked. "Really Donnie?"

"Chevy nova?" Donnie suggested, raising his arms.

The turtles just shook their heads.

"Ummmm…" Donnie pondered for a second. "Excellent!"

That got the approval from the others.

"Did you see the look on that guy's face when Leo told him to scram?" Raph asked.

"Yeah, I thought he was gonna pee himself." Mikey commented.

"And not a sole to hear their cries." Donnie noted.

"Like shadow in the night," Leo began to brag. "We move completely unseen."

Just as the four high-three'd, they saw a bright light go off near the fire escape.

"What was that?" Leo hissed, the four still frozen in high-three mode.

"It's a camera flash." Mikey answered slowly

On the fire escape, April tried to take a look at the photograph she had just taken. She couldn't believe her eyes as the image showed what appeared to be four large turtles.

"What on earth…?" she started to ask.

Before she could finish, she felt something grab her by the shirt and pull her onto the roof. She landed hard, then regained her composure in time to see a giant turtle in a red mask standing over her.

"Hand. Over. The camera." He demanded through gritted teeth.

April's eyes were as big as dinner plates, her palms sweaty as the camera slid from her grasp, clattering to the ground. Her legs felt like jelly as her brain seemingly short circuited.

"I…" she tried to say.

Before she could utter another syllable, her eyes rolled back in her head and she crumbled to the ground unconscious. The four turtles stared at the now unconscious woman before Mikey swatted Raph on the arm.

"Nice going Raph." The orange turtle chastised.

"How was I supposed to know she'd pass out?" Raph argued.

"Well threatening her like a corrupt cop doesn't exactly an ideal strategy." Donnie snapped, snagging her fallen phone off the ground and pressing a few buttons.

"Eh you're just saying that cause you think she's cute Donnie." Raph retorted.

"Do not!" Donnie say in his defense, then he got a good look at April and turned a bit red. "Well…"

April slowly stirred, regaining consciousness. She could sort of make out the voices of the four turtles, though they were slightly blurry and distant.

"Oh hey, she's coming around." Donnie observed. "Ma'am, I'd like to apologize for my brothers' abrasiveness."

"Yeah, no manners this one." Mikey commented before Raph smacked him upside the head.

"What are you?" she asked as she sat up, still a little dazed.

"Well Miss," the blue one started. "We're ninjas."

"We're mutants." The red one added.

"Well, technically we're turtles." The purple one tried to correct.

"Oh, and we're teenagers." The orange one added on. "Don't know why I said that. Just thought I'd add that."

"Wait," she started, slowly getting up. "You're… Ninja… Mutant… Turtle… Teenagers?"

"Well when you put it like that it sounds ridiculous." Donnie commented while April reached for her phone, but couldn't find it.

"Looking for this?" she heard Raph ask as he snatched the phone from Donnie, approaching her.

"No no no." she pleaded, hesitantly reaching for her phone. "Please don't break it."

He just tossed it to her. She fumbled a bit, but managed to keep a hold on it.

"Relax." Leo reassured walking up to her. "We already erased the photo. But, I will ask that you do not say a word of this to anyone."

She looked up at him in a bit of fear.

"If you do, we will find you." Donnie added. "April O'Neil."

With that, Leo backed off and walked over to his brothers.

"Let's go guys." He ordered.

His brothers followed, except Raph turned. who back to April.

"Remember, talk and we'll find you." He said.

"Yeah," the orange one said, trying to sound intimidating. "We'll find you. O'Neil."

With that they walked off, until the orange one came running back.

"I'm sorry, that came across super creepy," he apologized. "We will find you though."

With that, he ran to catch up with his brothers, who had already made it clear to the next roof top. April ran to the ledge in shock of what she had seen. She remembered that her phone was still in her hands and tried to take another picture. It was a bit fuzzy, but she got it. However, this still left a lot of questions. Who were these turtle creatures? Where did they come from? And why did they fight those Purple Dragons?

She thought she'd never know, but little did she know, she'd be seeing those turtles again. Real soon.

Later that night, in another part of town, a lone man stood in a traditional japanese dojo, practicing with a sword. He felt at peace. Tranquil. Like nothing else existed, except him and the blade. This peace of mind was interrupted when the door was flung open. The man lowered the sword to see the Purple Dragon leader enter. With him was a large, muscular man in a sleeveless shirt, a dragon tattoo decorating his left arm and a tattoo of a dragon's foot on the other.

"Hun." The man greeted aggravated. "I thought I gave orders not to be disturbed."

"My apologies Nakumo," Hun started. "But this one has something to confess to you."

He nudged the leader forward. Slowly the unfortunate punk walked toward Nakumo.

"The… the job tonight," the leader began. "It was a bust."

Nakumo raised an eyebrow in irritation.

"How is this possible?" Nakumo asked. "How could you screw up a simple smash and grab?"

"We were attacked." The leader answered.

"By whom?"

"Some punks in weird turtle costumes."

Nakumo paused for a moment, raising his sword to look at it.

"Look," the leader started to apologize. "I'm… I'm sorry."

"I know." Nakumo simply said.

In the blink of an eye, Nakumo thrusted his sword into the leader's chest. The punk let out a gargled scream, one that quickly cut off when Nakumo twisted the blade. Once he pulled it out, the leader fell to the floor, dead.

"Have someone come and clean that up on your way out." Nakumo ordered Hun.

"Right," Hun said about to go out, but he turned back to Nakumo. "What about these freaks? Should we tell… him?"

Nakumo hesitated for a minute, not sure what 'he' would do.

"No." he finally answered. "This was just one instance. If these 'turtles' become a reoccurring annoyance, then we will take the proper steps to destroy them."