Author's Note: This is a short piece, Raphael-centric, focusing on something I wish had made its way in to the show.
Raph hates the future.
He hates toilets that ask his permission before flushing, sinks that gently remind him not to leave the water running while he brushes his teeth, chairs that wake him from a nap to ask if they're comfy enough. He hates mossy udon balls, robotic peacekeepers and the fact that you need a permit to drink alcohol. He hates that baseball's gone out of style and wrestling got sissified and that no one makes a good shoot 'em up movie anymore. He's absolutely unnerved by the idea of Bishop leading the free world. And he really can't stand a society that lets an orphan be raised by a robot – even if that robot is apparently capable of some semblance of human emotion – and despite all its apparent glories, still turns a blind eye to the crimes of a wealthy, famous man.
Raph also hates O'Neil Tech.
Oh, it's impressive as far as giant corporate monopolies go, and Raph's not even going to try to deny that O'Neil Tech's scientists have made some pretty cool stuff – though, considering that every damned thing they've seen so far seems to be either something Donnie created, based on something Donnie created, or something Cody created, Raph wonders what they hell these guys get paid for – but that doesn't change the fact that Raph wouldn't shed a tear if they woke up tomorrow morning and the whole damned thing had vanished off the face of the earth.
The twenty-first century was full of corrupt corporations. You couldn't turn on the TV without hearing all about how some bigwig CEO screwed over his employees, sold weapons to terrorists, drove some elderly couple out of their family home or poisoned someone's drinking water. It was practically old hat. You couldn't even get outraged because tomorrow you'd turn the TV on again and hear the same damn story. The fact that nothing's changed in the twenty-second century just makes the whole thing seem sort of… sordid.
Everyone celebrated because they took down Darius Dunne and revealed him for the crook he was. Raph kept waiting for someone, a Peacekeeper, Cody, Splinter, someone to mention the obvious.
No way Darius did all that on his own.
Oh, sure, he had the psycho clones to help him, and the Inuwashi Gunjin before that. But the clones had been useless, and the Gunjin had been fighting Dunne tooth and nail. None of them would have been trustworthy to get too close to his operations. And most importantly, none of them could have been on the inside.
Raph's no genius but even he knows that giant multi-billion dollar corporations have things like accountants and inventories. There's no way the Peacekeepers handed Darius enough weaponry to conquer a small planet and never once asked for a receipt. There's no way Darius could sell off that kind of weaponry without some corporate bean counter noticing the tallies on his inventory sheets were coming up wrong. Darius had help – at the very least he had some one inside O'Neil Tech, probably several someones and a contact inside the Peacekeepers.
Cody's young and sheltered, so it doesn't surprise Raph that Cody never thinks of it – besides, Cody treats O'Neil Tech like it's half his favorite toy and half a prized heirloom. He doesn't want to think that it could be corrupt. Donnie, too – Donnie's not sheltered, but he can be a little naïve sometimes. Don's a bit weird that way; sometimes he can cut through the world's bullshit with a razor-sharp cynicism that puts even Raph to shame and sometimes he's just too damned happy to trust things and people at face value. But O'Neil Tech – well, it's kind of Don's baby. Something huge and powerful and amazing and Don helped build it – or will help, if they ever get home – so Raph can understand the blind spot. Mikey's naïve year-round, it's practically a full-time job for him.
The Peacekeepers certainly aren't going to volunteer the idea that one of their guys might be dirty, and the fawning robot who seems to be in charge acts like he'd blow a circuit if he ever had to do something that might reflect badly on him – no way he's going to insist on a full investigation of O'Neil Tech's books and personnel.
But Raph's a little surprised Leo and Splinter never came to the same conclusion he did. Neither one could be called naïve, not with a straight face anyway, and neither one had the personal connection to the business that Don and Cody did. Maybe they just didn't want to see it. Or maybe they just didn't want to drag Cody into another investigation. Raph doesn't know. He figures they've got some time to figure it out. It'll take time before any lingering crooks get the chance to pick up where Darius left off – if only because Cody invited the Peacekeepers to add their own guards to the confiscated weapons until the whole matter was settled.
But that's only the half of it.
What Raph hates the most about the future is that there's almost nothing of him and his brothers left in it. There's the Turtle Titan – and of all the things they did for the world, it's Mikey's delusional playtime that gets picked up and carried on, Raph can't believe it – but other than that? Yeah, the future's a great place – too bad no one in it will ever know he and his brothers ever existed.
Well, there's Cody, yeah. But a shut-in kid with a healthy fantasy life and limited social skills? Raph loves the kid, but really. Even if Cody woke up one morning and decided to hold a press conference, revealing the truth of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Raph thinks half the world would think they were just something Cody dreamed up.
They've saved the freaking world a half dozen times over, and the only hint of them that survives is a really lame super-hero team-up?
And it comes back to O'Neil Tech again. Because it isn't right. Donnie built – will build, whatever, Raph also hates time travel because he can never figure out if he should be talking in the present or past tense – O'Neil Tech just as much as April or Casey did, but there's no statue of him in the front lawn, no pictures of him hanging in the lobby, and Darius Dunne's big speech to honor the company's illustrious founders had only mentioned two names.
Donnie doesn't seem to care. Raph doesn't even think it's occurred to the others. But it rubs at him, one more way the world just isn't fair.
Raph hates the future, because if he ignores Cody's creepy trophy room, there's no sign he ever existed. There's no sign he or his brothers made any impact on the world.
Raph's always known they weren't going to have much of a legacy. There was a time when living to be fifteen was the major accomplishments of their lives. They never had any delusions about marriage or kids or going to med school and curing cancer – though if the stupid, ignorant humans would get over themselves, Donnie could do it, Raph bets – but Raph had always kind of hoped. Especially after the last couple years. How many times do you have to save the whole of humanity before someone throws you a freaking bone?
There's no mention of them. No notation in the history books – not even a headline in old issues of the New York Times. Raph knows. He's looked. They exist in Casey's journal, and in the bedtime stories Cody's parents told him before they died. And that's it.
And it's like all the tentative hopes of the last two years are worthless now. Their world has expanded so much – and when they die, it'll all be forgotten. He'd finally worked up the nerve to hope there might be something more than the four of them dying alone and un-mourned in the sewers one by one.
Raph hates the future for taking that away.
c&c always appreciated