Note: This story uses Ninjara, a character from the Archie comics. If you haven't read them, all you need to know is that Ninjara is a member of a race of fox-people and used to be the greatest thief in Japan while working for Chien Khan. When the Turtles battled Chien Khan and Ninjara realized how insane her master was, she left him and joined the Turtles. Since then, she has become a part of the group and has started a romantic relationship with Raphael.

The Genastone: Chapter 1
By Cere

Dr. Robert Thompson stepped out of his Jeep into the hot Egyptian sun. He pulled his hat down over his eyes and hurried toward the inviting cave. Once inside, he paused to take a deep breath before walking down the corridor.

This discovery had been his first big break. He had been searching for months with no success and was ready to quit when he heard a story in a bar from a nomad. Apparently, while traveling through the desert, the person had stumbled upon a cave with strange writing on the walls. Even though it seemed unlikely, since the location he was given was out in the middle of nowhere, Robert had no other choice. However, when he checked it out, he found that it was an entrance to a tomb! It had been the big discovery he had been waiting for.

For several months, he and his team had been working on excavating the site. So far, all they had found was this corridor covered in hieroglyphics. The writing told of a strange power locked in here, and whoever released it would be responsible for the destruction of the world. But Robert didn't believe any of that stuff. It just made him more excited, that this might be a religious site!

He was getting closer to the lights and despite himself his breathing quickened. He had been called from a meeting and told that his crew had made an important discovery. He had made quick apologies, left the meeting, and driven out here as fast as he could.

Now he could finally see what was so important. The workers were brushing the dust from a large stone door! This could be the entrance into a temple! Robert gasped and immediately started looking at the figures carved into the door.

"We thought you'd like to see it," his assistant said.

He was interrupted by the sound of gunfire. "What's that?" Robert asked.

The workers shifted nervously as heavy footsteps came closer. Robert backed against the door, though he wasn't sure how much it would help. He held his breath as armed terrorists came around a bend in the corridor. "Nobody move," the leader said from behind his mask, "and you won't get hurt."

"What do you want?" Robert asked, his back pressed against the door.

"We heard you were finding some interesting stuff out here," the leader said. "Things like that are worth a lot on the black market."

"But I haven't found anything yet!"

"We'll speed things up for you, then." The terrorist turned to address everyone. "Move back!"

Robert reluctantly moved away from the door. Once everyone was pressed against the wall, the terrorists opened fire on the door. Robert wailed as the door dissolved under the barrage of bullets. "You can't do this!" he yelled.

"Shut up," the leader ordered, "or I'll shut you up myself." Robert kept his mouth closed as the terrorists walked into the chamber.

"Kinda small, isn't it," one of them commented. He was punched for his remark.

Robert peeked around the corner. It really was a small room, with more hieroglyphics covering the walls. But the main thing that caught his eye was the jewel.

It was huge, almost as big as his head! It was resting on a table near the back wall of the room. He could see that its color was a dark red. It was the largest gem that he had ever seen!

"At least this wasn't a total waste," the leader said, and reached to grab the jewel. "This should bring us a lot of aaaaaaaahhh!"

As soon as his fingers touched the stone, his body tensed up and he started screaming. Then bolts of electricity started streaming through his body. The terrorists, and many of the workers, started running away as fast as they could. Robert stayed behind, trying to figure out what was going on. The crackle of electricity filled the air, and the leader's hair stood on end. Finally, the electricity stopped and he slumped to the floor.

Robert walked forward and bent his ear near the leader's mouth. He was still breathing, barely. Robert looked up at the jewel and saw that it was now glowing and a crimson energy field surrounded it.

"How much longer are we going to do this?" Raph asked impatiently, pulling his trenchcoat tighter around him.

Don looked up from the Egyptian writings. "What, aren't you interested?"

"Only a geek could be interested in this," Raph said.

"C'mon, Raph, we're in Ancient Egypt!" Mike said. "The land of mystery and adventure!"

"Mike, you've been taking the travel brochures too seriously," Raph said.

"But Raph," Mike pleaded, "you have to admit that some of this stuff is cool.

"Half of it is older than Splinter," Raph said.

"Actually, these ancient Egyptian artifacts are over four thousand years old," Don explained.

"So excuse me for exaggerating," Raph said.

"Lighten up," Ninjara said. "It's not often we get to take a vacation."

"Without needing to save the world or something," Leo added.

"True, but couldn't we go somewhere more exciting," Raph said.

"The point of a vacation is to relax," Ninjara said.

"And just how do you plan to relax him?" Mike asked, then yelped when Ninjara kicked him in the leg.

"You all need to be quiet," Leo whispered. "We don't want to attract attention to ourselves."

"Yeah," Don agreed. "Go find something to do. Enjoy this while we can." Raph grumbled, but reluctantly set off with Ninjara to find something.

Mike also wandered off, searching for the mummies. He passed a door labeled "Employees Only" and was startled to hear a crash. He paused and pressed his ear to the door.

"Be careful with that!" he heard a voice shout.

"It's not my fault!" someone else said. "The crate moved."

"What do you mean the crate moved?" a third voice sneered. "Crates don't move!"

"Be quiet," the first man said, his voice nervous. "I don't know what to think about that jewel."

"Dr. Thompson," the sneering voice said, "do you mean to tell me you believe him?"

"It doesn't matter. The important thing is we get it to my lab so I can study it!"

"What are you doing?" a voice said right behind Mike.

Mike turned to see a museum guard staring at him. "Uh, nothing," he stammered and started to move away.

Another crash sounded behind the door, like the sound of wood breaking. Mike hesitated, but the security guard kept staring at him. Mike turned and started walking towards the mummy exhibit, wondering about the conversation that he had overheard, when he heard the scream.

He turned to hear cries of help coming from behind the door. The security guard rushed and opened the door, stopping right in the doorway. Mike ran up behind him and looked inside.

There was a crate lying shattered on the floor. A few feet away, a dark crimson jewel was on the floor. It was suspended above the ground by an energy field surrounding it. A man was touching the energy field, and bolts of electricity were streaming through his body. Mike didn't stop to think; he grabbed a board from the broken crate and knocked the man's hand away from the jewel. He stopped screaming and fell silent.

Mike stepped back and leaned against the wall, trying to comprehend what had just happened. People gathered around the guy lying on the floor. One man broke away from the group and walked up to Mike. "You're one of the Ninja Turtles, right?" the man asked.

Mike paused. "Who wants to know?"

The man extended his hand. "I am Dr. Robert Thompson," he said. "I've heard stories about you, but I didn't believe they were true."

Mike shook his hand and shrugged. "We try to keep a low profile."

"I hear you have great martial arts skills," Dr. Thompson said.

Mike's cheeks grew red. "Well, I'm not one to brag…"

"Perhaps you would be interested in helping me."

Mike perked up at this. "What's the problem?"

"That's the problem," Dr. Thompson said, pointing at the scarlet gem. "Someone has tried to steal it once already, and with a jewel that size, I'm not surprised. However, my budget doesn't allow enough for guards to protect it on the flight to New York tomorrow. Would you and the others be interested in helping? I can't offer much in the way of money, but…"

"Don't worry, Doc," Mike said. "The Ninja Turtles are on the job!"

"Thank you," Dr. Thompson said, enthusiastically shaking Mike's arm. "I'll see you tomorrow morning at eight o'clock at the museum."

"We'll be there!" said Mike. Dr. Thompson left to see how the injured man was faring, and Mike slipped away to talk to his brothers.

"Are you crazy?" Raph shouted back in the hotel room. "Didn't it cross your mind to ask us first if we agreed?"

Mike suddenly became very interested in what was on the hotel TV.

"Leave him alone, Raph," Leo said. "I thought that you didn't like this vacation."

"Yeah, but still…" Raph trailed off.

"Well," Don interrupted, "I for one don't agree with this sudden change in plans. We still have two more days of stuff to do!"

"But the dude needed our help," Mike argued. "When have we ever refused a call for help?"

None of the Turtles responded. Raph could do nothing but growl.

"Besides," Mike said, "it was weird. You'd probably be interested in it, Don. It's surrounded by an force field or something."

"What?" Don asked in disbelief.

"Yeah, and the guy who touched it got shocked," Mike continued.

Don lowered his eyebrows in thought. "But that's impossible," he said. "Jewels don't project electric fields."

"This reminds me of a story I heard once," Ninjara spoke up, "a legend passed around by thieves. They say that the Egyptians once possessed an enormous jewel that had fallen from the sky. Unfortunately, the jewel was inhabited by a demon that could drain the life out of any man it wished. Therefore, it was sealed away from the rest of the world, hopefully forever."

"Fallen from the sky?" Don asked. "Then perhaps it was alien in origin."

"You can't believe all the stories you hear," Raph argued.

"No," Leo said, "but we've seen a lot of interesting stuff in our adventures. Whatever this stone is, we should probably keep an eye on it. Just in case."

The next morning, the Turtles checked out of the hotel and journeyed to the museum. Once there, Dr. Thompson greeted them at the entrance. "Follow me," he said, and led them to where the jewel was held. They helped load the crate into an armored van and stayed with it during the drive to the Cairo Airport. There they loaded the box into the cargo hold of an airliner. "Stay here during the flight," Dr. Thompson ordered before closing the door.

Don turned on the lights in the hold. "Aw, man," Mike said. "No movie or anything?"

"Mike," Leo said, "we have a job to do."

Several hours passed. Mike had fallen asleep against the wall, Raph was staring blankly out a window, Leo was practicing his exercises, and Don was trying to build a house out of a deck of cards he had brought. "See anything?" Ninjara asked Raph.

"Nothing but ocean," Raph responded, "and ocean and ocean and ocean and ocean and ocean and those dark storm clouds heading towards us."

Don looked up from his cards. Leo stopped in the middle of a stretch. Raph seemed to realize what he had just said and gave a jerk. "How far away?" Don asked.

The airplane shook as a gust of wind hit it. "What's happening?" Mike asked groggily.

"We're entering a storm, Sleeping Beauty," Raph said.

"Don't worry," said Don. "The pilot will get us through this."

"Uh, guys?" Ninjara asked with a shaky voice.

"What?" asked Raph. He turned and froze.

Something inside the crate was glowing. Streams of red light peeked out through the cracks. "What's going on?" asked Mike.

The plane suddenly dipped. In that moment, the box exploded open. The Turtles ducked as bits of wood went flying across the cargo hold. Don looked up to see the jewel, its energy field glowing and rapidly spinning around. Lightening flashed outside.

"Now what do we do?" Raph asked.

As if in response, a sphere of energy shot out of the jewel towards Raph. He quickly dodged, and the sphere burned a hole in a box behind him. He threw one of his sais at the gem, but it bounced off the energy field.

"It's a force field or something," Don thought outloud.

"Stop theorizing and tell us how to stop it," Raph shouted.

The jewel shot out another energy sphere toward Leo. He drew his swords and reflected it back at the jewel. It passed through the field and hit the jewel. Instantly, the force field stopped spinning and returned to normal. The Turtles watched warily, not sure of what to do next. There was another flash of lightening outside, followed by a deep roll of thunder.

"Is it done?" Mike asked.

"I think so," Leo said. "What do you make of it, Don?"

Don just shook his head. "I don't know, Leo. I honestly don't know."

The rest of the flight went without incident, though the Turtles were much more alert, fearing something else would happen. When they had landed, they told Dr. Thompson what had happened.

He appeared very worried. "Oh, my," he said. "This is very strange. I don't know what to think of it."

"Neither do I," said Don, "except that it's the strangest jewel I've ever heard of."

"We'll keep in touch," said Leo. "But right now, we need to return home."

Dr. Thompson absentmindedly muttered his agreement, shaking his head about these strange events. The Turtles left to find a sewer cover.

Ninjara walked close to Raph. "Well," she said, "you have your excitement now." Raph couldn't think of a response.

Shredder hurried through the halls of their underground hideout. Krang had called and said that he had found something important. So Shredder had had to drop whatever he was doing and come to see what Krang had come up with now.

He entered the control room and saw Krang in front of the computer. "Krang," he shouted, "I was in the middle of programming the latest foot soldiers!"

"Oh, stop complaining," Krang ordered. "We may not need foot soldiers anymore if this works out."

"What have you found now?"

"This," Krang said, and tapped a computer key. The screen showed a large red jewel surrounded by an energy field.

"What is it?"

"The Genastone," Krang said. "It was part of a computer built by Betovians a long time ago. At the heart of the computer was its artificial intelligence, housed inside a jewel."

"What's so great about it?"

"Well, the Genastone was structured so that it could create its own energy, eliminating the need for an external power source. But it was so intellectually advanced that it decided to rebel against its creators."

"What happened to the Betovians?"

"The planet still hasn't recovered."

"Interesting," Shredder commented. He was intrigued by this idea.

"Anyway," Krang continued, "for punishment of its crime, it was launched off into deep space. By strange coincidence, its path must have caused it to collide with Earth."

"So, what use is it to us?" Shredder asked.

"Well," Krang said, "we could find a way to tap that energy housed inside it and use it to power our weapons. We could have unlimited energy!"

"The power could be directed into force field generators," Shredder added. "Our troops could be invincible!"

Shredder and Krang both cackled with excitement. With this Genastone in their hands, nothing could stop them. Nothing!

to be continued...