Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987

Logos, the Feared Pirate from Dimension X

By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: The characters are not mine! The story was suggested by Retro Mania and is loosely based on the DuckTales episode Time Teasers, but the final product is my idea. This is part of my Exit the Fly verse. Baxter is human again and an ally of the Turtles. His brother Barney no longer works for Shredder.

Krang smirked as he held up his latest invention. "There! It's finished!"

Shredder didn't look that impressed. "Another TV remote control, Krang?"

Krang scowled. "No! It's something even you can appreciate!" He pointed it at Bebop and Rocksteady, who were eating lunch. When he pressed the button, they froze in place.

"Intriguing," Shredder had to admit. "You've created something that stops time!"

"Well, more or less," Krang said. "Actually, it just slows it down tremendously. Or speeds us up, however you want to look at it." He walked over to Bebop, grabbed his sandwich out of his hand, took a bite, and handed it back. Then he pressed the button again.

Bebop leaned in, nearly chomping into the sandwich in the same location. "Hey!" he exclaimed then. "I don't remember taking this bite here!"

Rocksteady leaned over. "Gee, it looks different from all your other bites too."

"Morons," Krang said simply. "I took that bite!"

"Aww, that's impossible," Bebop objected. "We would've seen you!"

"Not with my new Time Teaser," Krang replied in a singsong voice. He waved it at them, then suddenly turned and pointed it at Shredder.

"Hey!" Shredder cried, but then he was frozen before he could continue.

"Oh, neat trick, Krang!" Bebop exclaimed.

"Yeah!" Rocksteady got up and went over to Shredder, waving a hand in front of his eyes. "The boss is really frozen!" He looked around, then grabbed Shredder's helmet and put it on. "Hey, look at me! I'm the boss!"

Krang gave a gurgling cackle as he pressed the button again.

"Krang, what do you think you're doing?!" Shredder boomed as if no time had passed at all. Then he took in the current sights. "Rocksteady, you moron! What are you doing with my helmet?! You know I don't allow anyone but me to wear it!"

Rocksteady stiffened. "Sorry, Boss." He tossed it to Shredder and retreated to Bebop.

Krang smirked. "I froze you and he took your helmet."

Shredder scowled. "Krang . . . !"

"So, as you can all see, it works!" Krang held it up. "With this we can freeze everyone at city hall and take it over! No muss, no fuss, and the city will be conquered in an hour!"

"Hmm. I like it." Shredder's eyes gleamed. "And if the Turtles and their pesky friends get in the way . . ."

"We'll freeze them all!" Krang grinned.

"We'll head for the surface at once!" Shredder marched over to the nearest transport module.

"Hey, can't we finish breakfast first?" Rocksteady whined.

"You can eat on the way," Shredder retorted. "Now come on!"

"But we'll get transport-sick if we eat goin' up," Bebop protested.

Krang's expression darkened. "I just had the interior cleaned. Finish eating and then go."

The mutants relaxed. "Oh, thanks, Krang!" Bebop said in relief.

"Yeah!" Rocksteady nodded. "We won't forget this!"

Krang met Shredder's displeased glower. "I'm doing it for the module, not for them," he insisted.

"I thought maybe you were still giving them preferential treatment," Shredder retorted.

"My generosity only goes so far," Krang countered.

xxxx

"There!" Donatello exclaimed. He leaned back at his workbench in satisfaction. "My Time Stopper is ready to go again. Only it's better than before!"

The other Turtles and Splinter exchanged a concerned look. "Uh, are you sure it's a good idea to bring that thing out again, amigo?" Michelangelo said.

"Yeah! Remember what happened last time." Raphael's hands went to his hips. "But even after that, you were determined to keep using it!"

"And it's taken me all this time to put it back together after you broke it!" Donatello countered. "There was always something else taking up my attention so I couldn't get back to it!"

"And I wish it'd stayed that way!" Raphael shot back. "What I did was a mercy killing!"

"Okay, that is not a good joke," Leonardo interjected.

"Turtles!" Splinter raised his hands and stepped in the midst of them. "I have taught you how to disagree calmly and maturely. There is no need for arguing and insults!"

"Totally true, Compadres," Michelangelo said.

Raphael heaved a sigh. "Okay, I'm sorry. I'm just worried about something going wrong again. Is that so terrible?"

"You don't have to worry, Raphael," Donatello insisted. "I've made improvements. Now it will only respond to very specific people: all of us, the Stockmans, Zach, and April and Irma. For anyone else, it will just lock up!"

"Hmm. That will certainly help," Splinter nodded.

"Right! No more mad scientists trying to take control of it," Donatello smiled.

"Okay, great." Raphael leaned on the edge of the table. "But exactly what is a Time Stopper even good for in the first place?! I never understood that!"

"I am sure Donatello will determine exactly the right time and place to use it," Splinter said.

Michelangelo's Turtle-Comm went off and he pulled it out. "Hey, Baxter!" he chirped.

"Good morning, Michelangelo," Baxter greeted.

"What's up?" Michelangelo asked.

"Nothing, really," Baxter said. "I just wanted to visit at a point when things are relatively calm for once."

"Oh, gnarly!" Michelangelo waved to the other Turtles and Splinter and headed out of the lab. "Are Barney and Vincent there?"

"They've already left for work," Baxter said. "They had to go to an early meeting before class. Honestly, this house always feels so lonely when there's only one person in it. I'm going to the apartment for the day."

"Sounds like a plan," Michelangelo said. "As long as nothing's happening, maybe we could hang out?"

Baxter smiled. "I'd like that. I'll come by and pick you up."

"Hey, I just had a weird thought," Michelangelo said as he jumped over the back of the couch to plop on it. "Have you even seen all the rooms in that mansion?"

"As far as I know, I have," Baxter said. "I'm sure Barney would be happy to give you a tour sometime."

"That would be totally radical!" Michelangelo exclaimed. "I've never been all through a mansion before. I've just seen some rooms here and there."

"I'll let him know you'd like to see everything," Baxter chuckled. He pulled the front door shut. "I'm leaving now. I should be there in a few minutes."

"I'll be waiting!" Michelangelo hung up and leaned back on the couch. "Ahh, this is the life. Everything quiet and peaceful, nothing more hazardous than Donatello's latest inventions, no Shredder and Krang causing trouble. . . ." He smiled, placing his arms behind his head.

The others observed from the doorway.

"It is kind of strange that we haven't heard from Shredder and Krang in a while," Leonardo said. "They've been quiet now for a couple of weeks or more!"

"That probably means we're in for it before long," Raphael sighed. "Unless there's any conceivable chance that they offed each other back on the Technodrome."

"Unlikely," Leonardo said. "They apparently wanted to get back together."

"Maybe my Time Stopper can help with that," Donatello said. "The moment we see them starting to try something insidious, I'll just freeze them in place!"

"I guess it's worth a try," Raphael said. "But I'm still skeptical of a gadget that caused us nothing but trouble."

"Hey, it saved my life when I was falling!" Donatello said.

"And you wouldn't have even been falling if that mad scientist hadn't run off with the Time Stopper in the first place," Raphael pointed out.

"I hate to say it, but that is technically true," Leonardo said.

"Perhaps the device will yet prove its worth," Splinter said. "Donatello's improvements sound very useful."

"Oh, they are, Master Splinter," Donatello nodded.

Raphael headed into the living room. "So, Michelangelo, what are you and Baxter planning to do today?"

"Huh? Oh. I guess we haven't made any plans yet." Michelangelo sat up straight. "I was thinking of suggesting the arcade, for starters. He's had fun when we've gone before."

"Funny picturing a guy like Baxter in an arcade," Raphael remarked.

"I guess he never did things like that before," Leonardo said.

"Yes," Splinter nodded. "Over the last year, he has been finding some simple joys in unusual places such as arcades. But I believe what he enjoys most is the company he keeps."

"I sure enjoy his company," Michelangelo said.

"You know, I just realized something," Donatello remarked. "Almost all of our friends are older than we are, to varying extents. Then Zach and Caitlyn are both younger. I think aside from Mondo Gecko, we don't even have any teenage friends!"

"That is a really weird revelation, Donatello," Raphael said. "I wonder why we never think much about that?"

"Hey, a good friend is a good friend," Michelangelo said. "Who cares about ages?!"

"Michelangelo is right," Splinter nodded. "What matters is the sincerity of the friend. Anyway, for the most part all of you are wise and mature beyond your years. It makes sense that the majority of your friends are older. You choose friends with whom you can relate mentally if not chronologically."

The Turtles looked to each other.

"Makes sense to me," Raphael said at last. "Only sometimes I wonder why all these people want to hang out with mutant teenagers."

"Because they know where it's at?" Michelangelo suggested.

"Maybe because we endeared ourselves to them?" Raphael mused.

"Maybe because at least some of them are or have been outcasts too," Leonardo said. "Baxter, Barney, and Vincent all were. Irma too, to an extent."

"And April's usually all caught up in work," Donatello said. "Even without us around, you can't say she leads a particularly normal life."

"I believe all of you are correct, my Turtles," Splinter said. "They recognize that you are more mature than most teenagers. And they also recognize something infinitely more valuable: that you are all true friends. Genuine friends are treasures wherever they are found."

"I'll go along with that," Raphael said.

"Totally bodacious!" Michelangelo agreed.

Footsteps echoed through the tunnel and Baxter soon appeared in the living room doorway. "Good morning, all," he greeted.

Everyone echoed a return greeting.

Michelangelo hopped off the couch. "Hey, Baxter! We'll check you guys later, alright?"

"See you!" Leonardo waved.

xxxx

Bebop and Rocksteady looked to each other as they headed to Manhattan in the module. "Boy, I sure wish we could use Krang's gizmo just for a little bit," Rocksteady sighed.

"No kidding," Bebop agreed. "We could go play at the arcade, or make sure our favorite baseball team won a game, and no one would even know we'd been gone."

"Well," said Rocksteady, "it's not like we'll get any chance to use it like that. We can have fun freezing everybody at city hall, if the boss lets us do some of it."

"That'll be nice," Bebop said.

xxxx

Baxter was receptive to visiting the arcade, so Michelangelo introduced him to some new games that had quickly become favorites.

"It's strange," he mused as he played. "I never did anything like this before I met you."

"Too busy and not interested?" Michelangelo assumed.

"A little bit," Baxter said. "But I think it was more that I couldn't see myself playing video games alone and I didn't have anyone else to play with."

"Video games can be fun alone," Michelangelo said. "But they're totally gnarly with an amigo."

Baxter smiled a bit. "And of course, there are some games I still wouldn't dare try regardless." He nodded to the Dance Dance Revolution game. "I know I'd just embarrass myself on that."

Michelangelo winced. It certainly wasn't a secret that Baxter wasn't very well-coordinated when he tried to move fast. He could picture Baxter not only falling, but perhaps hurting himself.

"Aww, I've seen a lot of people stumble around on that," he said anyway, not wanting Baxter to feel like the only one who couldn't hack it.

"While I imagine you and the other Turtles are champions of that game," Baxter chuckled.

"We're pretty good," Michelangelo had to admit. "Me and Leonardo are the best at it."

Baxter smiled. "I'd like to see that sometime."

"Maybe you can come along on one of our all-night video game binges," Michelangelo suggested.

"Maybe." Baxter looked amused. "It would have to be when I wouldn't be working the next day."

"Sure!" Michelangelo chirped. "We could work with that."

"So don't you ever come out to the arcade together when it isn't the middle of the night?" Baxter wondered. "I mean, you're not in disguise now and no one is bothering you."

"Oh, sometimes we do," Michelangelo agreed. "But sometimes it's just kinda fun to have the place all to ourselves, you know?"

"Hmm. Perhaps." Baxter wasn't fully sure he understood the appeal, since as long as they weren't being tormented he felt it would be nicer to be around people. But on the other hand, he pondered, maybe they enjoyed being there alone just to have some quality time together. Now that he was truly a family with Barney and Vincent, he could understand that.

"Yes," he amended then. "That does sound nice."

They moved to another game and Michelangelo instructed him on how to play before the conversation continued. "So do Barney and Vincent like to play video games?" he wondered.

"Vincent does," Baxter said. "You might think he'd only enjoy the most highly advanced ones, but he also likes what he calls 'old-school' games from the 1980s and 1990s. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor. Although the graphics for some of those old games are more impressive than I would have thought, especially the early Sonic the Hedgehog installments."

"Sonic is awesome!" Michelangelo beamed. "Maybe I could play with Vincent sometime."

"He'd love that," Baxter smiled. "I've played with him now and then, and once or twice Barney has agreed just to share in something Vincent enjoys, but I know Vincent would thrill at playing with a complete video game enthusiast. As a matter of fact, he wanted me to tell you today that he's just acquired the old video game systems Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis."

"Wow. Totally gnarly!" Michelangelo's eyes gleamed. "How'd he get those?!"

"I believe he found the Super Nintendo himself, but Barney got him the Sega Genesis," Baxter smiled. "They were both new in the box too. I don't know how either of them managed that, but I know it must have been expensive."

"No duh," Michelangelo said in amazement.

"And he has newer systems as well," Baxter continued. "I believe he has a Nintendo Wii. But even with all of those systems, sometimes I'll still walk in and find him randomly playing something like Minesweeper on the laptop screen." He chuckled.

"Hey, simple games can be mondo fun too," Michelangelo said.

"Sometimes I play Tetris on my phone if I'm standing in a long line," Baxter confessed. "Although usually I try to plan for new inventions."

"Yeah, you haven't been inventing much lately," Michelangelo acknowledged. "Although I guess not even Donatello has. There's been so much going on."

"That, and my job keeps me quite busy," Baxter said. "But actually, I have come up with plenty of ideas. I just haven't taken many of them past the designing stage."

"At least you've been inventing," Michelangelo said. "I'd feel kinda sad if you weren't. It felt good to see Donatello working on something again, although I'm not sure what he came up with is a good idea. He decided to get out his Time Stopper thingie again and upgrade it."

"Time Stopper?" Baxter raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah! It like, stops time. Or actually, it stops people. You point it at people and they freeze."

"Fascinating," Baxter had to admit. "But it sounds like something that could be easily misused."

"It sure was before," Michelangelo shuddered. "But he says that he's locked it so only us good guys can use it now."

"I'd be interested in seeing it," Baxter said. "But I'd hope he wouldn't demonstate it on me."

"Nah, he wouldn't," Michelangelo assured him. "Especially since I guess when you get right down to it, it's a form of suspended animation." Discomfort passed through his eyes. Suspended animation would be the last thing Donatello would want to test on Baxter.

"That's true." Baxter turned his attention back to the game, not wanting to admit to how much that thought unsettled him.

"And he figured we'd only use it to stop the bad guys and stuff," Michelangelo added. "Who knows, maybe it'll actually be a gnarly concept."

"Maybe," Baxter said, although he looked doubtful.

Michelangelo's Turtle-Comm went off a moment later. "We've got big trouble, Michelangelo," Leonardo greeted him. "April's broadcasting from city hall. Or she was trying to. Shredder, Krang, and the mutants are all over there and they have a device that they're using to freeze people in place!"

Michelangelo's mouth dropped open. "Just like Donatello's!" he gasped.

"Exactly. They got April with it. Apparently they're planning to take over the city after all the government officials are frozen. We're going over there with Donatello's device to try to stop them," Leonardo said.

Baxter stopped playing and looked over. "We'll be there to help," he promised.

"Yeah, like, totally," Michelangelo said. He swallowed hard as he hung up. "Major bummer. Are you sure you wanna go down there, Baxter?"

Baxter cringed. "No, I'm not. Quite frankly, I don't want to go down there at all." He smiled sincerely. "But I won't abandon you and the others, Michelangelo. I want to help."

Michelangelo gave a weak smile. "Okay, Dude." He laid a hand on Baxter's shoulder. "Let's go."

xxxx

The scene at city hall was one of eerie stillness. Everyone was standing in place, or bending over, or in the middle of talking or screaming. April held her microphone, while her blond camera operator still had his camera. No one moved or even breathed.

"Whoa. Mondo bizarro," Michelangelo gulped.

Baxter shuddered as he turned off the car and got out. "I hope no one else we know and love has been affected," he said softly. Seeing April like that was horrible. She had become a dear friend to him and she was family to the Turtles.

Michelangelo hurried over to April, waving his hand in front of her face. "She really is frozen in time," he shivered.

"We'll save her, Michelangelo," Baxter promised.

The sound of another vehicle spun them around. The Cadillac was pulling up. Barney and Vincent leaped out, worried, but they relaxed to see Baxter and Michelangelo safe. "We thought maybe you'd got it, Pal," Vincent said.

"We just arrived," Baxter said. "But poor April . . ."

The Turtle Van also pulled in. "Well, Shredder and company have certainly been at work," Raphael remarked.

"Let's give them a taste of their own medicine," Donatello said. "In a minute." First he reversed his device and pointed it at April.

She stumbled forward. "Whoa. Hey!"

Michelangelo caught her. "Welcome back, Dudette!"

"Michelangelo . . ." She looked to him in surprise and relief. "Have you already stopped Shredder?"

"We're going to do that now," Donatello said. "I have a Time Stopper device too. I rescued you with it. I'll freeze them and then I'll come back out and rescue these other people."

"Alright, everyone!" Leonardo said. "Let's go!"

The group trouped into city hall, where most of the same situation existed. People were frozen in all manner of positions. Some looked frightened, while others didn't appear to know what was happening and were continuing to engage in their usual activities.

"They must be in the mayor's office," April said. "Or they're heading there anyway."

"Makes sense," said Donatello.

They burst through the doors of the mayor's office just as Shredder was freezing the mayor in place. "Ah! Welcome, Turtles, Stockmans. And Miss O'Neil. Wait a minute. You're supposed to be frozen! How did you get free?!"

"Your invention isn't so original, Shredder," Donatello declared. "Mine came first!" He held it up. "And now you're going to get a taste of your own medicine!"

"No fair!" Rocksteady whined. "We don't wanna get frozen!"

"Oh, it's fair," Donatello said smoothly.

"But you won't have a chance to use that!" Shredder powered up his Time Teaser.

Donatello turned on his Time Stopper. "We'll see about that!"

The blasts collided in mid-air and a bright light eclipsed the room. As it started to fade, an annoyed voice gurgled, "What's going on? What am I doing here?"

Slowly everyone straightened and looked up.

"It's Krang!" Raphael said in disbelief. "Only he's got an eyepatch!"

"Foolish Turtle! I'm over here!" Krang countered.

"Then what . . ." Raphael gawked at the newcomer, who was in what appeared to be an older model of a bubble walker.

"I'm Logos," the strange creature announced. "Why have I been brought here?!"

"Logos?!" heroes and villains chorused in unison.

"Who the heck is Logos?!" Raphael cried.

"Um, what the heck is Logos?" Michelangelo countered. "I thought Krang was kind of . . . you know . . . unique in his situation. . . ."

Logos waved his tentacles, revealing one of them was mostly made of wood. "I am the most feared space pirate in Dimension X! How dare you question my existence!"

Krang's eyes widened in excitement. "You didn't bring your treasure with you, did you?!"

Logos spun around to face him. "Do I look like I brought it?!" He started to smirk. "I was wondering how I was going to celebrate my birthday without a crew to join in the festivities. Now that problem is solved. All of you will help me celebrate!"

"Um, seriously, what?" Raphael snorted. "We're going to celebrate an alien pirate brain's birthday?"

"This is preposterous!" Shredder burst out. "I have better things to do than celebrate your birthday!"

"Oh really?" Logos sneered and fired a laser blast from his bubble walker. The door erupted in flames and burned out. Several more laser blasts blew holes in the walls, floor, and ceiling. Everyone yelped and hit the floor until the barrage stopped.

"On second thought . . ." Shredder looked helplessly to Krang.

"It doesn't seem like you give us much choice," Krang said. "What, exactly, do you want for your birthday celebration?"

"Entertainment," Logos grinned. "What do you people do?"

"Uh . . . Raphael tells jokes," Michelangelo volunteered. "And all of us do martial arts. . . ."

"So does the boss," said Rocksteady.

"Sparring sounds delightful," Logos purred.

Baxter and Barney exchanged a bewildered look. "We sing," Baxter said slowly.

"Excellent! This will be a most fulfilling birthday celebration," Logos smiled.

"Donatello, are we really going to have to go through with this?!" Raphael hissed.

"I'm afraid so," Donatello hissed back. "If we can just distract him long enough, we can set both devices up to send him back to his own time. But it will take a while to get them both properly aligned again. Entertaining him is probably the best way to distract him."

"Donatello's right," Leonardo said. "We're just going to have to give him what he wants-a birthday celebration."

"Well, I guess it could be worse," Michelangelo said. "He could want to plunder the whole planet!"

"I'm sure that will come if he stays here," Barney retorted.

Logos walked over to the window and looked out. "What a strange planet," he commented. "What is it?"

"Earth, Dude," Michelangelo said.

"Primitive compared to most other planets I've seen, and yet it has a certain charm," Logos smirked. "I may want to stay here. It could be my home base between plunderings. No one would think to look for me here."

Heroes and villains exchanged horrified looks.

"Well," Leonardo said, "let's celebrate your birthday and then you can decide."

"Yes. Let's." Logos turned and headed for the stairs. "I say that this building's front steps will make a good stage. How soon can you be ready to perform?"

"Like, we can go now," Michelangelo said.

"Then come!" Logos marched out of the room and towards the stairs.

"This is so weird," Rocksteady commented. "Krang, did you know that guy looks like you?"

"Of course I knew," Krang retorted. "He's a legendary pirate from over 1,000 years ago."

"Are we gonna do the birthday stuff too?" Rocksteady wondered.

"We don't have any choice," Krang growled. "As much as I hate to say it, we're going to have to work with the . . ." He grimaced. "Good guys for once."

"This is appalling!" Shredder cried. "Why do we have to bow down to another blob of brains?!"

"Because he's got laser cannons on his bubble walker," Krang said flatly. "And a bunch of other stuff."

"Not to worry," Donatello said. "It was a blast from both machines at once that brought him here. We just have to recreate those conditions to send him back."

"And probably point both machines at him," Baxter said worriedly. "How will we get them into position without him noticing?"

"Leave that to me," Donatello smiled. "Of course, we have to man our own time device. It's set not to allow anyone but us to operate it." He gestured to his comrades. "Now, let's get down there and give him his program before he wanders off somewhere!" He took his Time Stopper and headed for the door. Everyone else began to follow.

Vincent looked to his brothers in concern. "Are you two really going to sing?"

Barney looked overwhelmed. "I don't know what else we can do. I doubt we can lug a piano all the way over here in order to give a recital. Nor do we have the proper equipment to perform chemistry experiments." His voice dripped with sarcasm. "Only I don't know what we can sing, either."

Baxter bit his lip. "Remember the song our music teacher had us sing together in our last year of high school?"

Barney made a face. "Oh no."

"What song is it?" Michelangelo asked, his eyes wide with curiosity.

Baxter rubbed the back of his neck, looking awkward and sheepish. "Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah."

"Oh! The song from Shrek!" Michelangelo blurted.

"Why does it not surprise me that you know it from that?" Barney grunted.

"You sung that in high school?" Leonardo asked.

"Well, not in high school," Baxter said. "But when we were 17. With our, er, changed verse."

"Our parents got bent out of shape when they realized the fourth verse was rather . . . suggestive, to say the least," Barney explained. "They insisted it be altered or we couldn't sing it. Our music teacher agreed to allow the change, if we came up with it. I don't recall that either of us objected to that."

"I certainly wasn't comfortable singing the original fourth verse, at least," Baxter said.

"I thought you said you'd never sung outside of singing in church with the congregation, Buddy," Vincent said in surprise to Barney.

"That was in church with the congregation," Barney said. "Which was also part of the reason why the verse had to be altered."

"Whoa, no kidding," Michelangelo blinked.

"Isn't that kind of an odd song to be singing in church?" April wondered. They were heading down the stairs now, and to everyone's relief, Logos was still in sight.

"It was a progressive church," Barney shrugged. "The pastor said something about Leonard Cohen having said the song was about praising God in all situations, happy and sad, et cetera, and he would allow it based on that explanation."

"So, what's your altered verse?" Michelangelo asked, interested.

"It looks like you'll be hearing it firsthand," Baxter said, turning a bit red. "I hope we still remember the lyrics. . . ."

"I hope a slow song doesn't bore an interdimensional pirate," Barney flatly countered.

"How did you two change the verse and sing the song together when you didn't get along back then?" Raphael blinked.

"Because we had to," Barney grunted.

Baxter nodded. "It will be different now," he said. "We'll sing it because we want to."

"We still 'have' to," Barney said. "If we don't want that pirate rampaging the city. But . . ." He looked to Baxter and gave a slight nod. "Now, the song will have more meaning because we've both accepted how much we care about each other. It will be strange to sing it under these circumstances, but yes, I like the thought of performing with you now."

Baxter smiled.

xxxx

Irma and Vernon were just pulling up in a news van when the group got outside.

"Oh my gosh! Look at all these frozen people!" Irma gasped. "And we saw Shredder freezing April on national television! Where is she?!"

"Charlie's right there," Vernon frowned, pointing to the cameraman. "April should be in front of him."

"I'm over here, guys." April waved to them and hurried over. "Donatello rescued me. He was going to set all these other people free when they stopped Shredder, but . . . um, now we've got more problems. . . ."

"What now, April?" Vernon sighed in exasperation.

Irma hugged her friend, relieved to see she was alright. "Is that Krang?" she asked in surprise, catching sight of a bizarre creature over April's shoulder. "What happened to his eye? And his arm . . . tentacle . . . thing?"

"That's not Krang," April sighed. "That's our new problem. His name is Logos and he's a pirate from Dimension X."

"A pirate?!" Vernon wailed.

"And he wants us to give him a birthday party with entertainment," April winced. "We have to do it or he'll run amock in the city!" She lowered her voice. "But if we can distract him long enough, we can get him sent back."

"How did he even get here?!" Irma exclaimed.

"That's a long story," April sighed. "Two time-stopping devices clashed and for some reason, that caused Logos to time-travel over here. Oh, I forgot to mention, he's from the past."

"Of course." Vernon frowned. "Where else?"

"Anyway, at least we have to get this filmed," April exclaimed. "This is news!"

"You're welcome to it!" Vernon shuddered. "I don't want anything to do with a pirate!"

"Oh, Vernon, don't be such a big baby," Irma scolded. She went over to the news van and took out a video camera. "A story this big could win an award!"

"Well . . . that's true," Vernon said slowly.

Logos came down the steps and turned to face them. "Well?" he called impatiently.

April took the camera from Irma and began to film as Bebop and Rocksteady decided to go first.

"Um . . ." Rocksteady looked around, suddenly incredibly awkward and confused. "We will now perform . . . uh, excerpts from Hamlet. Yeah."

Raphael snorted. "Oh brother!"

Krang shot Shredder a Look. "Do they even know anything from Hamlet?"

Shredder shrugged. "I didn't teach them anything."

Bebop came and stood looking out. He snorted, then said, "To be or not to be. That is . . . uh, the question." He looked to Rocksteady. "You know, I never got that. To be or not to be what?!"

Raphael slapped his forehead. "This is already a disaster."

Rocksteady reached down and picked up a large rock. "Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well. I think." He turned the rock over and over, peering at it.

"I know nothing!" Logos cried. "What is this?! Is this really Earth entertainment?!"

"Uh, no!" Raphael exclaimed, hurrying up the stairs and planting himself in front of the other mutants. "No, they've got it all wrong. I promise it gets better!"

"Hey, this is our performance!" Rocksteady snapped. "You'll get your turn in a minute!"

"This pirate will be turning Earth upsidedown in a minute if you don't give him something better!" Raphael shot back.

Bebop dramatically fell backwards and Rocksteady caught him. "Goodnight, sweet prince!" he cried in a dramatic tone. "May flights of . . . um . . . oh yeah! angels bear thee to thy rest!" He turned and bowed to the audience. "Thank you, thank you. You've been a great audience." Bebop hopped up and waved and they both exited the stairs.

"I've got the Time Teaser in place," Krang said under his breath.

"I want to see fighting!" Logos yelled.

"But I had a great comedy routine all planned out," Raphael protested.

"Fight! Fight! Fight!" Logos bounced up and down in his bubble walker as he chanted.

"Okay, okay! Sheesh." Raphael shook his head.

Donatello swallowed hard. "I'll have to go up there," he said to Baxter and Barney. "Can you guys get this set up during the fight?" He indicated his Time Stopper.

"We can," Barney nodded. "Just try to hurry."

"Oh, I will," Donatello promised.

All four Turtles hurried up the steps. Shredder joined them.

"Shredder?!" Donatello exclaimed.

"You didn't really think I could resist this chance to have it out with you?" Shredder sneered. "I couldn't care less if we have an audience. Maybe Logos would like to see a little blood anyway."

"Shredder, be careful," Krang said through clenched teeth. "Don't get carried away. Not now."

Leonardo's eyes narrowed. "Alright, Shredder. If that's the way you want it." He drew his katanas.

Baxter stared in alarm as the fight commenced. "I wasn't expecting something like this!" he gasped. "I thought the Turtles were just going to have some harmless sparring!"

"Of course Shredder would take any opportunity he could to hurt them," Barney frowned. "Let's hurry with this thing." But he growled in dismay as he started to lift the Time Stopper. "Something short-circuited, probably when it helped bring Logos here!"

Baxter cringed. "I'll have to open it up and see what's missing."

Barney didn't protest. He knew Baxter could probably figure it out quicker. He handed it over and stepped back.

"I can go get the missing part if there's one around here," Vincent offered. "Such as maybe in the news van."

Michelangelo yelped and Baxter looked up with a horrified start as his friend tumbled down the stairs. But the Turtle was quickly on his feet and charging up again. Baxter sighed in relief and turned his attention back to the problem at hand.

"Aha!" he exclaimed in a moment. "I know what's wrong. Maybe the news van would have the part. Let's all go over and look." He handed the Time Stopper to Barney and led the way to the news van.

Luckily, Logos was too involved in the fight to pay them any attention. He waved his tentacles and chanted and yelled. This was indeed the perfect entertainment for a battle-scarred old pirate.

"Do you see anything?" Barney demanded impatiently while Baxter and Vincent searched through the van.

"I've got it!" Vincent held up a small part.

"Good." Baxter took it from him and carefully set it in place, then rescrewed the cover on the Time Stopper. "We can go set it up now."

But as they went over to where the device needed to be placed, the fight seemed to be winding down. The Turtles had gotten the better of Shredder. As they surrounded him, coming at him from three angles, he swiped out at them in desperation and lost his balance. He tripped, rolling down the stairs with his trademark scream. The Turtles immediately closed in, Leonardo holding a blade to Shredder's throat.

"Kill him! Kill him!" Logos cried.

Leonardo pulled his sword back. "We're not gladiators in ancient Rome," he said. "We're not going to kill anyone for the sake of entertainment."

"Bah! You're mortal enemies. That's obvious in how you fight!" Logos retorted. "You should end his life and be done with him!"

Leonardo sheathed his katana. "Sorry."

Shredder scrambled up and stumbled back over to Krang. "They have humiliated me again, and in front of an audience!" he snarled.

"Oh shut up," Krang scowled.

"Anyway, there's still more entertainment in store," Raphael said. "If comedy isn't your forte, how about a nice soothing duet between our lovable Stockman twins?"

Baxter and Barney looked up with a start.

"I guess you're on," Vincent said.

Donatello slipped over to them. "Go on," he whispered. "I'll finish getting this set up."

"It would be ready now if it hadn't blown a gasket," Barney growled.

"It's been fixed now," Baxter assured Donatello. "It's ready to be put into position."

"Great." Donatello took the device from them. "Can you help me, Vincent? It has to be perfectly aligned across from the other device."

"Of course," Vincent said. "I'm excellent at aligning things."

"I figured you were," Donatello acknowledged.

Vincent smiled at Baxter and Barney. "Good luck."

"Thank you, Vincent," Baxter smiled.

"That goes double for you," Barney countered.

They hurried up the stairs and stood for a moment, looking at each other awkwardly. "I guess we'll do this the way we did back then?" Baxter said.

Barney nodded. "I'll go ahead and start."

At first he was clearly awkward. But as he continued to sing, his voice strengthened. By the end of the first verse, he felt much more confident.

They traded off verses as the song went on, singing together on the chorus. Baxter was the one singing the altered fourth verse. He looked slightly embarrassed as he arrived at the changed line, which went "And remember when the stars above rejoiced with us in our love . . ."

"Hey, that's not a bad save," Michelangelo said.

"Cheesy, but I guess it works," Raphael commented.

"I'll bet Baxter came up with it," Michelangelo said.

"And is embarrassed anyway because he remembers the original line, and maybe because either way, he just can't relate if it's romantic," Raphael mused.

Irma certainly wasn't having that problem. She looked very dreamy as she listened.

Leonardo had other things on his mind. He looked over his shoulder at Donatello and Vincent, who still weren't ready. Then he looked to Logos. To his surprise, the pirate actually seemed moved by the song, or perhaps by the singing. He relaxed and smiled as the twins continued.

"Aww, he likes it," Michelangelo grinned. "You know, I feel kind of sad to send him back."

"Are you kidding?! We have to, Michelangelo!" Raphael hissed.

"Hey, I know," Michelangelo frowned. "But I'm entitled to feel bad about it."

"I just want this nutcase gone," Raphael grunted. "I most definitely don't feel bad in the least about tricking him and sending him back."

Baxter and Barney were coming up on the seventh verse now. They had each sung three of the prior verses; now they sung the last one together. As they launched into the final chorus, Krang caught Donatello's eye.

"Now!" Krang exclaimed.

They switched the machines on at once. Once again there was a bright light. Before it faded, there was the sound of tripping, Krang yelping, and Bebop's meek, "Ooops."

Then the light was gone. Logos had vanished. But so had Krang.

"Well, talk about getting rid of two birds with one stone," Raphael commented. "It looks like old Krang went into the past with Logos."

"Bebop, you moron!" Shredder roared. "You knocked Krang into the path of the portal!"

"Uh . . . gee, I'm sorry, Boss." Bebop knelt up in chagrin.

"Are you gonna leave him there?" Rocksteady wondered. "You've always wanted to get rid of him. . . ."

Shredder didn't answer. He looked around wildly from one device to another. Without warning he lunged for his nearest enemy, who happened to be Baxter. He held the small man close, teasing the spikes on his left hand under Baxter's jaw. "Make your device operational again or he dies," he snarled.

"Baxter!" The Turtles and the other Stockmans stared in helpless horror.

Baxter looked terrified. But before anyone could do anything, he slammed his foot down on top of Shredder's.

"OW!" Shredder roared. His grip loosened.

Baxter slipped out, shaking, and ran for cover.

Shredder was undaunted. His eyes flashing, he ran at Vernon and tackled him before he could get away. The news director shrieked, desperately fighting, but Shredder was too strong. He held Vernon down, this time holding the spikes to the back of his neck. "Let's try this again," he said coldly. "Turn that device on!"

"Vernon!" April cried.

Vernon went completely stiff in fear. "Oh please, sir! Don't hurt me!"

Bebop and Rocksteady hurried to their Time Teaser. "You heard the boss," Bebop commanded.

The Turtles looked at each other. "What are we going to do?!" Raphael exclaimed. "We can't let that pirate get back here!"

"We can't let Vernon get shish-kabobbed!" Michelangelo gasped.

Baxter stared at the scene, his heart pounding. "There's no choice," he said in horror. "Turn it on, for Heaven's sake!"

"And if you won't, I will!" Irma screamed, running forward to the Time Stopper.

"Irma, you can't turn it on!" April protested.

"Actually, she can," Donatello said. "I gave access to her too."

Irma pulled the lever down at the same moment Bebop and Rocksteady pulled theirs. Again came the light. When it faded, Krang was stumbling out of the beam, looking both dazed and bewildered. "Shredder . . . ?"

Shredder relaxed and leaped off of Vernon. "Let's get our Time Teaser and go back to our original plan," he said. "We can still conquer this city!"

"Oh no you don't, Tin Head," Raphael snapped. He leaped in the way with both sais bared. "You're just going to have to be satisfied with all four of you being back together again!"

All the Turtles lunged. Vincent followed close behind, electricity sparking in his hands.

"Let's get back to the module!" Krang exclaimed. He led the charge, flying over the lawn to the module at the side of the building. He and the other villains swiftly climbed aboard and the door slammed shut. The module dove under the ground.

Everyone else stood and stared at the new hole. "Well, they got away again," Leonardo sighed.

"Yeah, but who here was actually expecting Shred-Head to get Krang back?" Raphael remarked. "He's wanted to get rid of the guy for years and he was finally gone."

"And not only did Shredder want him back, he was willing to do desperate and horrible things to do it," Donatello shuddered.

They turned to look at the rest of the scene. Irma had rushed over to Vernon, who was still shaking. "Vern? Vernon, it's alright now. Shredder's gone."

Finally Vernon looked up at her. "Gone?" He tried to relax.

"Yeah." Irma laid a hand on his shoulder.

Vernon rose now and pulled her into a hug. "Oh thank you!" he exclaimed. "You saved my life!"

Irma hugged him close. "You don't have to thank me, Vernon," she said softly, so low that no one was quite sure if they heard right. "I couldn't stand seeing Shredder about to kill you. I had to do it. I had to. . . ." She blinked back tears as she buried her face in his shoulder.

Barney, meanwhile, was looking Baxter over for injuries. "You weren't cut at all?" he demanded, tilting Baxter's head back to look at the underside of his jaw.

"No," Baxter assured him. "I'm fine, Barney."

Vincent hugged him from behind. "Then everything's okay."

Michelangelo beamed. "Everything truly is okay," he proclaimed. "Now we just need to free all these poor frozen people."

"And with two devices, we can do it in half the time," Donatello smiled. He took the Time Teaser. "Of course, personally I think mine is better."

"They work exactly the same, Donatello," Raphael objected.

"Maybe," Donatello said. "But mine's better because I invented it."

"Whoa, what an ego," Michelangelo winced. "Although maybe he does have a point."

"Well, anyway, now we have a new mystery to ponder," Raphael said as he watched Baxter take the Time Stopper to use. "Why in the world did Shredder bring Krang back? Mutual necessity?"

"Like, does it matter?" Michelangelo retorted.

"No, only don't you have to wonder if there really is some weird, warped, twisted love there?" Raphael said.

Michelangelo just shrugged. "Seems obvious that there's something. Probably nothing good. And I wanna say it's touching that Shred-Head really wanted Krang back like that, but I'm just mondo mad that he tried to hurt innocent people. Especially Baxter!" He looked to his friend. "That was a totally gnarly move, though, Bud."

Baxter managed a weak smile. "I'm just glad it worked."

"So are we," Barney said firmly. There was a haunted look in his eyes; he no doubt remembered when Shredder had tried the same thing on Baxter the night Barney had discovered he was human again.

Baxter did too. He smiled more and laid a hand on Barney's shoulder. Barney had saved his life back then. Baxter was focused on that, not on the cold and untrue reason Barney had given for saving him.

Barney acknowledged Baxter with a nod. They had discussed that night before; he knew Baxter was only thinking of the good.

They looked around as the frozen people came back to life, blinking and looking bewildered over what had happened. But most did not require in-depth explanations and simply returned to what they were doing, confused over the mysterious passage of time.

"Well, all in a day's work," Raphael remarked. "What's on the schedule for the rest of the day?"

"How about relaxation?" Michelangelo suggested. "We could all go check out Vincent's video games!"

Vincent blinked. "I'd be happy to . . . but only if Baxter feels up to it." He laid a hand on Baxter's shoulder. He could tell his friend was still shaken by Shredder assaulting him.

Baxter nodded. "I'd like to get my mind on something else."

Vincent smiled. "Let's go then."

"Oh, and Donatello?" Raphael looked over at the purple-masked Turtle. "Won't you please concede that a Time Stopper is not a good idea?!"

Donatello sighed. "Well, I have to admit that even locking its access to certain people didn't stop the bad guys from finding a way to use it."

"Maybe it even made things worse, since it prompted Shred-Head to start using people against us to force us to turn the thing on," Raphael said.

"Maybe it really would be better if you put that device to rest," Leonardo said.

"I have to destroy so many of my inventions," Donatello lamented. "And now knowing that they're probably aware on some level . . ." He shuddered.

"Well, don't destroy it then. Just . . . find something new to do with the parts," Raphael countered.

"Yeah. . . ." Donatello started to smile. "I can work with that."

"I'm sure," Raphael grunted. Suddenly he brightened. "Hey! I never got to perform my comedy routine. How about I do that at Barney's place?"

Leonardo cringed. "Raphael . . ."

"I've never heard him perform," Baxter said. "I'd like to."

"I've heard him," Barney said. "He isn't bad, honestly." He glanced at the other Turtles. "They're just harsh critics."

"Hey! We are not!" Donatello said indignantly. "We just don't think Raphael is very funny."

"Never?" Barney quirked an eyebrow.

"Well . . ." Michelangelo pondered. "Maybe when he's not insulting certain parties, he's not too bad. Sometimes."

"There's no insults in my new routine," Raphael said. "Except a few digs at Shred-Head and his crew."

"Why don't you try it, guys?" April encouraged. "I thought Raphael was good too."

Finally the other Turtles shrugged. "Okay," Leonardo consented. "But I hope we won't regret it."

"Hey, at least it can't be worse than hearing Bebop and Rocksteady murder Hamlet!" Michelangelo said. "Oh, mondo disaster."

"We were just lucky Logos didn't give up on the whole thing then and there, that's for sure," Leonardo shuddered.

"I bet he's sure mad now," Michelangelo said.

Leonardo sighed. "Well, hopefully we've heard the last from him."

"I wonder if it's wise to fully believe that," Baxter shuddered.

Everyone exchanged an uncomfortable look.

"Well, let's not worry about it now," Raphael said.

"Totally, Dude," Michelangelo agreed. "It's time to party hardy!"

Baxter chuckled.

xxxx

Krang still seemed shaken when they arrived back at the Technodrome. He stumbled out of the module and leaned against the console.

"So what was it like in Dimension X's past, Krang?" Bebop asked.

"There wasn't much to see," Krang retorted abruptly.

"Were you on Logos's ship?" Shredder asked.

"Yes," Krang admitted.

"Was he mad?" Rocksteady wanted to know.

Krang glowered at him. "What do you think?"

Shredder frowned. Now he could see that Krang looked rather beat-up. "The two of you had a fight?"

Krang finally smirked a bit. "You should see him. And at least I didn't leave empty-handed." He reached into his compartment and pulled out several jewels. "I know it's not the whole treasure, sadly, but at least it's something."

"Boy, is it ever!" Rocksteady exclaimed. "Just think of all the comic books we could buy with these!"

"Moron," Krang retorted. "They're not going to be spent on comic books! I'm sure I'll think of an appropriately evil scheme to use them for." He smiled, then turned away. "But right now I'm going to go lie down."

"Oh yeah," Bebop nodded. "You should rest, Krang. He really got you good."

Krang clomped to the doorway but paused, clearly wanting to say something yet struggling with it. At last, speaking more to the wall, he gruffly blurted, "Shredder . . . thank you." And disappeared before Shredder could reply.

"Why did you get Krang back, Boss?" Rocksteady asked. "You wanted him gone."

"We need him, don't we?!" Shredder snapped. He turned away, adjusting several dials and knobs on the console.

"Well, yeah, but . . ." Bebop shifted. "That never stopped you from wanting to betray him before."

"Must I explain everything?!" Shredder roared. "Go to your room and play video games or something!"

The mutants scrambled to the doorway. "Really, Boss?! Gee, thanks a lot!" Rocksteady gushed.

"Yeah!" Bebop added. "Thanks!"

Shredder muttered under his breath as they fled. But when he was alone at last, he relaxed and smiled a bit behind his mask, where no one could see.