Raphael and Michelangelo joined Leonardo out in the sluice. Immediately, the din grew even louder.

"Michelangelo!"

"Raphael!"

"Cowabunga!"

"Hothead!"

"Party dude!"

"...find your center..."

"...I totally understand you..."

"...skateboarding contract..."

"...such commitment..."

"...Leo's a jerk..."

"...party of the year..."

"...Can I hold your katana?"

"...I feel your pain..."

Leonardo grabbed Raphael and Michelangelo and dragged them back into the lair. Donatello and Splinter looked up from the monitor. "What's going on out there?"

"It's a veritable love fest," said Raphael. "And no, not in a good way."

"You find anything yet?" asked Leonardo.

"So far, not much. I've only stumbled across one thing that these alternate-world turtle fans don't like."

"What is it?"

"Venus."

Michelangelo cocked his head. "The planet?"

"No. The mutant ninja turtle."

"Venus the mutant ninja turtle," repeated Michelangelo.

"Venus the female mutant ninja turtle," said Donatello.

Michelangelo's eyes got wide. "There's a girl turtle?"

Donatello shook his head. "Not here. There. Apparently, they added a female turtle to...the TV show, I think. But it looks like nobody liked her."

"Why not?" said Michelangelo, smiling. "I'm pretty sure I would've liked her."

"Yeah, but you're not one of these fans." Donatello scrolled down the page and frowned. "It's no good, though. It's not like we've got a female mutant ninja turtle handy."

"Hey!" Michelangelo's eyes got wide. "What if I..."

"No!" Splinter and all three turtles spoke as one.

"What?"

Leonardo said, "No, you're not going to put on a dress, and try to convince these Mary Sues that you're...this Venus woman."

"Well, why not?"

Folding his arms, Leonardo said, "Because it never works is why not."

"Besides," said Raphael slowly. "We've kinda been meaning to talk to you about that. You seem to be dressing in drag an awful lot lately. It's starting to get creepy."

"Later, my sons, later," said Splinter. "We have a more pressing issue at hand."

Donatello shrugged. "Well, let's see what else I can dig up."

The dull thud hit, louder this time. "Hurry," suggested Raphael unnecessarily.

"Hm. This might be something." Donatello clicked on a link, stared wide-eyed at the screen, then burst out laughing. Even Splinter put his hand to his mouth to keep from laughing.

"What? What's so funny?"

"Guys, you are not gonna believe this." Donatello turned the screen so they could see, and instantly all three were laughing.

"You have got to be kidding," said Leonardo. "It's a joke, right?"

Donatello turned the screen back around and scanned the page. "Nope, it's no joke. Apparently, it actually happened. Well, it did over there in that universe."

Raphael shook his head. "Next time I think things can't get any worse here..." He tapped the top of the monitor. "I'll just think of this."

"So..." said Donatello a bit reluctantly. "Do we give it a try?"

Another loud thud resonated throughout the lair. "I don't think we've got a choice," Michelangelo pointed out.

"All right. Let me just print this stuff out..."

Leonardo shook his head. "You're not honestly suggesting..."

"Oh, come on, Leo!" said Michelangelo, suddenly excited. "It'll be fun! Good thing Mondo stashes his stuff here between rehearsals..." He headed towards the back of the lair, with Raphael and Leonardo following. He walked all the way to the rear and pushed a curtain aside, revealing a small alcove. "Let's see," he said. "One guitar, one bass, one keyboard..." He stopped, suddenly confused. "What was the other one?"

"Saxophone," said Donatello, coming up behind them, holding his printouts.

"We don't got one of those. Which of us gets that?"

Donatello grinned. "You."

"Aw, man! Bummer!" Michelangelo stamped his foot.

Raphael said, "So, where are we gonna get a saxophone at this time of night?"

"Well, I'll just have to make do with what we got." He ran back to his room, and emerged a few seconds later, grinning and holding up a kazoo.

"Wonderful," said Raphael.

Splinter came up to join them. "Presumably, you will not be needing my services."

"Not so fast, Sensei," said Donatello. "Ends up that other-world Splinter did sing a song in the show."

"I did? Or, rather, he did?"

Donatello held up the paper. "Alterno-world Internet don't lie."

Michelangelo reached into the alcove once more, grabbed a tambourine, and handed it to Splinter. "Here ya go."

"What is this for, my son?"

"First rule of rock 'n' roll, sensei," said Michelangelo, grinning. "If you can't play anything else, you get the tambourine." He handed the guitar to Raphael, the bass to Leonardo, and the keyboard to Donatello. Then he grabbed a couple small practice amps, and said, "Come on. We've got a show to put on."

It took awhile to plug everything in, but a few minutes later, all five of them stood near the entrance to the lair, instruments at the ready. "Everyone set?" asked Michelangelo loudly, in an attempt to be heard over the drone of the Mary Sues just outside.

Donatello held the small practice keyboard in his left hand, and turned it on. "As ready as I'll ever be, I guess."

"Wait a sec," said Raphael, tapping a couple strings on his guitar, and turning the keys at the end of the neck. "I don't think this thing is tuned."

Leonardo looked exasperated. "Raph, who cares? We want them to hate us, remember?"

"Oh, right. Right."

Splinter held up his tambourine and shook it a bit to get everyone's attention. "My sons, please remember. Do not look at the Mary Sues. Keep your eyes down and your mind on the task at hand. If this does not work after one song, we must fall back and come up with another plan."

"Agreed," said Leonardo.

"Very well, then," said Splinter, smiling. "Let us rock and roll."

The five mutants marched out into the sluice, and the drone from the Mary Sues became a deafening roar. Michelangelo grinned but kept his eyes on the floor. He extended both his arms up in the air and held his hands out to the crowd. Once the uproar died down a bit, he said, "Ladies...and a couple gentlemen...we're pleased to announce our return to the stage!"

Donatello added, "The Coming Back Out of Our Shells Tour!"

Raphael screamed, "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!" then slammed his hand down on the guitar strings, wincing a bit at the loud discordant sound it made. Instantly, the other mutants leapt into the cacophony. Leonardo kept his head down and concentrated on trying to make the bass sound as horrible as he could. Splinter began slapping the tambourine against his open palm, and occasionally against his hip. Michelangelo began dancing around the sluice, tooting pieces of his favorite songs into his kazoo. Raphael made a futile attempt to play a recognizable tune, but soon gave up and just started shredding his hand across the strings, banging his head up and down. Donatello's fingers were far too large to play the keyboard with any skill, so he just randomly slapped his hand along its keys. While doing so, he yelled out the few lines from the songs that he remembered from the website.

Out of our shells!
We're coming out of our shells!
You gotta fight to be free!

We're the turtles, you can count on us!
No treaties after the war!

After a couple minutes, Donatello heard the din lessening, and he glanced up at his brothers. They all slowly stopped playing and stared at each other. The sluice was eerily quiet, but none of them dared glance over at the grate.

"Did it work?" asked Michelangelo quietly.

Suddenly, a yell shot out from behind the grate. "I play concert piano! I can teach you, Donatello!"

Immediately, the first yell was joined by others.

"...that song was great!..."

"...needs a lot more guitar..."

"...get it on the radio..."

"...Raph, you rocked the place!..."

"...I think Leo should sing lead..."

"...rock-and-roll kazoo! Yeah!..."

"...we'll get you into the studio..."

"…get a video filmed…"

"...I didn't know Splinter knew how to play the tambourine!..."

"...I know that guy from the Fray - they need an opening act..."

Dejected, the turtles made their way back into the lair. Raphael unslung the guitar from around his neck. "I broke a string - Mondo's gonna kill me."

"Man, I thought we were on to something," said Michelangelo. "What went wrong?"

"Well, I don't like to point fingers," said Raphael. "But Leonardo was about half a beat off through most of that number."

Leonardo flung the bass strap over his head and snapped, "That was on purpose!" He stopped when he noticed Splinter, who was walking as if in a daze over to the couch. Splinter sat down and stared at the tambourine in his hands with an odd look on his face.

"Sensei?" asked Leonardo. "What is it?"

Slowly, Splinter looked up, a slight twinkle in his eye. "A ninja is one who has excelled in the martial arts. Who can defeat a ninja?"

"Only another ninja," said all four turtles, who had heard this lesson before.

Splinter nodded. "A Mary Sue is, by their very definition, perfect in almost every way. Who can defeat a Mary Sue?"

"Only another Mary Sue?" hazarded Leonardo.

"Precisely, my son."

"But where are we gonna get our own Mary Sues?" asked Michelangelo.

Splinter didn't answer, but instead simply extended his arm out towards the lair exit.

"Those ones?" asked Leonardo. Suddenly his eyes got wide. "Oh! So, instead of trying to turn them against us, we should turn them against each other?"

Splinter nodded. "I believe that may be our best hope."

Raphael scratched his head. "So how do we do that?"

"It would appear that these Mary Sues would like nothing more than to be...with us, in one way or another," said Splinter, somewhat uncomfortably. "What if we were to make it clear that we would be pleased to allow one...and only oneMary Sue to join our ranks?"

"So you want them to...fight over us?" said Donatello, somewhat incredulously. "Don't you think that sounds kinda...far-fetched?"

Raphael, smirking, said, "Well, admittedly, it's not a normal suggestion like - and I'm picking an example completely at random here, Donatello - attempting to defeat them by forming a band."

It grew quiet, other than the continuing yells from the Mary Sues outside. Leonardo finally said, "So, should we try this?"

"No harm in trying," said Michelangelo. "Let's give it a whirl."

Splinter once more led them out of the lair, head bowed. Once into the tunnel, he held up his hands to appeal for quiet. "Please, please, all of you! Listen!" Once it grew quiet, Splinter smiled, eyes still closed. "Thank you," he began. "We greatly appreciate all of you coming here to offer your assistance in our lives. My sons and I have been discussing the current situation, and we have come to the conclusion that we should no longer refuse aid when it is so kindly offered. However, as you know, we live simply, in rather close quarters here. For this reason, we have decided that there is only room here for one of you. We will leave it to you to decide which of you would be the best candidate to aid us in our quest. We will leave you alone to discuss it amongst yourselves, and we will return soon to hear of your decision." Splinter then stepped back into the lair, followed by all the turtles, except for Michelangelo.

"Let's face it, girls," Michelangelo said, striking a muscleman pose. "There's only so much Michelangelo to go around." He put his hands behind his head, and thrust his hips towards the crowd. "So who's it gonna be? Who will claim this prize as their very own? Who will get to...yipe!" Michelangelo's pitch was cut short when Leonardo reached out and yanked him back into the lair.

"Are you insane?" asked Leonardo.

Michelangelo grinned, a bit embarrassedly. "Just trying to whoop them into a frenzy. Y'all know I'm the cute one."

"That's not what I heard," said Raphael, smirking.

"From who?" challenged Michelangelo. The rest of his rejoinder was drowned out by the growing din from outside. The murmurs had turned to conversation, which had become an argument, which was now sounding like an out-and-out screamfest. Within moments, the screams and shouts were joined by the sounds of battle - punches landing, sharp cries of pain. These were soon joined by yet another, more unfamiliar sound - a bizarre squishing sound. The turtles looked at each other in confusion, until suddenly Leonardo's eyes got wide.

"That's them...reverting..." he said lamely. Raphael blinked once, then took one step towards the exit. "No!" Leonardo grabbed his brother by the arm. "Don't go out there. Let them...finish."

It was a strange sensation for all five of them, standing still, letting a battle take place without participating. The sounds grew to an almost unbearable pitch, but then began diminishing, and eventually died away completely. After a moment's pause, Leonardo strode out into the sluice. A few seconds later, they heard him yelling.

"Donatello, open the grate!"

Donatello ran back to his control panel and shut off the security system. There were a few more sloshy sounds, and then Leonardo re-emerged from the sluice. Blue goo covered his legs up to his knees, and there was more on his katana.

"A few stragglers, but they didn't put up much resistance," he said simply.

"So...that's it?" asked Michelangelo. "It's over?"

"Looks that way," said Raphael.

Donatello walked over to his computer and began typing. "There. I just shorted out Shredder's computer. That should break the connection to that other internet."

Michelangelo looked hurt. "Aw, I wanted to see that movie!"

Splinter shook his head. "I understand, my son. But to leave this portal open would not have been worth the risk."

Leonardo stared down at his katana, then at his legs. "I'm gonna go hit the shower."

As he walked off, Raphael said, "I wish there was a way to get Shred-head back for this one."

Splinter smiled a bit. "Do not be vindictive, my son. Oftentimes, evil is its own punishment."

-----

"No! Leave me alone!" yelled the Shredder to the crowd gathering around him.

"…a third-degree black belt in four martial arts..."

"...took three straight championships..."

"...I understand your pain..."

"...well-versed in the biology of reptiles and amphibians..."

"...can I wear your mask?"

"...always wanted a Foot uniform..."

"...look great in black..."

Helplessly, Shredder turned to Krang. "This was all your doing!" he accused. "Why didn't you filter out the evil Mary Sues?"

Krang's body helplessly held up its hands, then turned back to the throng surrounding him.

"I can build you a much better body..."

"...working on a pan-dimensional portal..."

"...evil schemes are my specialty..."

"...I love John and Marsha..."

"...pink's my favorite color..."

"...always loved a man with a brain..."

From across the room, Rocksteady watched the hullabaloo, scratching his head. He hadn't been involved in this plan at all, and wasn't really sure who all these people were who wanted to help them so much. But he decided it wasn't his concern. He turned and headed down the corridor, hoping to get some headway on his chores for the day. Rocksteady stopped when he heard footsteps behind him. Turning around, he spied a short skinny guy who had followed him out.

"Whadda you want?" asked Rocksteady suspiciously.

The guy shrugged. "Thought you might want to talk or something."

Rocksteady was about to snap at him when he had a thought. "Ya wanna help me power-wash th' Technodrome?"

"Sure. That sounds like fun."

Rocksteady grinned. "Cool!"

-----

I do need to give props to Rick, who came up with the great title "TMNT II - The Secret of the Sues". I finally decided that that gave too much away, and so, with heavy heart, rejected it. Still, killer title.