Disclaimer: I do not own any past, present, or future Ninja Turtles.
I never thought I'd be writing a Fast Forward fic, but when a great story idea pops into your head you need to follow it wherever it may go, even into the distant future.
Blast From the Future Past
In a plush New York penthouse 100 stories above the ground and 99 years into the future, three mutant turtles and one mutant rat sat in the living room looking at a blank giant plasma screen TV. Actually, two turtles and a rat sat and looked; the third turtle was jumping up and down on the couch in a public display of enthusiasm that would have embarrassed Tom Cruise.
"WhatstakingthemsolongwhensitgonnasartIwannaseeitnowletsstartnownownow…" Mike babbled.
"Patience, Michelangelo," Splinter said. Just watching his young son's antics was wearing him out. "Good things come to those who wait."
"So it should come even faster than those who can't wait, right, Sensei?" Mike slowed down just long enough to ask before resuming his hyperactive couch dance. "Letsgoletsgoletsgolets…"
Leo shook his head and touched a button on his wrist communicator. "Don, are you and Cody done yet? Mike's about to explode and Master Splinter is...well, how soon will you be done?"
"Tell Mike to hold his water for ten more seconds, we're on our way up now," Don replied.
In truth, Don could hardly blame his brother for being so excited, especially since he could barely contain his own. That morning Cody had been clearing out some old files from his PC's hard dive when he made an amazing discovery: an animated series called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! There were dozens upon dozens of full half-hour episodes, and pages of production notes written by none other than April and Casey's grandson: Cody's father! Upon further investigation, Cody learned that 20 years earlier his father had created the show as a tribute to the turtles and all of their heroic deeds. However, he had presented it as pure fiction; even in a future occupied by aliens, artificially intelligent robots and highly advanced technology, the turtles' adventures seemed too far-fetched to be believed.
For the last hour, Cody and Don had been cleaning up the digital quality of each episode and then downloading them onto a disc. They had just finished their task when Leo called. Ten seconds later, the door to the living room slid open and Don and Cody entered. Don held up the disc. "Okay, who's ready for…" was all he got out before Mike snatched it from his hand and stuck it into the CD player.
"Start!" Mike cried. Instantly the TV screen lit up and displayed the menu. "Wow!" Mike cried again. "There's almost 200 episodes here! We must have been superstars!"
"Invalid command. Please try again." The TV said.
"How about we let Cody do the honors?" Leo said, turning to his human friend. "Care to say a few words first?"
"How about the words that start the show!" Mike snapped.
"Relax, Mikey, we're all dying to see this," Cody said. "So without further ado, I proudly present…you guys! Start Episode One!"
Immediately the show's theme song began to play, and everyone settled down to watch the very first episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Twenty-two minutes later, everyone sat in silence as the closing credits rolled, digesting what they had just seen.
"No offense, Cody, but what the heck happened?" Mike suddenly blurted out. "How could they get so many things wrong right off the bat?"
"Relax, Mike, we're talking about a second-hand account of events that happened one hundred years ago," Leo said. "We can't expect it to be completely accurate."
"Oh come on!" Mike snorted. "April's a reporter? Where did that come from? And Master Splinter's back story has been totally messed up!"
"Well, according to dad's notes, the show's producers changed Master Splinter's origin because they thought the kids watching the show would find his real origin too confusing," Cody said.
"Please, what's so confusing about it?" Mike fumed. "Producers must think kids are complete idiots!"
"To be fair, Mike, the idea of an ordinary rat learning ninjitsu from imitating his owner is pretty hard to believe," Don said before quickly adding, "No offense, Sensei."
"Oh, and a bunch of turtles mutated by alien ooze isn't?" Mike snapped. "Or a nerdy high school student getting super powers from a spider? Or an old guy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator…okay, even I have trouble believing that one, but the point is…"
"You'll have to forgive him, Cody, Mike's a real purist about this sort of thing," Don said. "You should have heard him rant when the Justice Force movie came out."
"Oh, do not get me started on the Justice Force movie!" Mike exclaimed. "First, there's the costumes; whoever designed them obviously never read a comic book in his or her life. Second…"
"Look, this was only the pilot episode," Leo said. "Why don't we watch a few more episodes before we start over analyzing them?"
"Fine, but I'll need some popcorn," Mike said, getting up from the couch. "And soda. And potato chips. And maybe some ice cream. I wonder if the robo-cook will whip up some of those fried thingies we had for dinner last night…"
"Um, Mike? Those fried 'thingies' were actually parts of a giant alien cockroach, remember?" Leo called after him right before clapping his hand over his mouth; the mere memory had triggered his gag reflex.
"All I remember is that it was fried," Mike shrugged before disappearing into the kitchen.
"If only I could harness the power of his stomach lining," Cody said. "I could make the most impenetrable armor in the universe!"
For the next several hours they watched the show, taking a sampling of episodes from every season right up to the series finale. Then, after taking several minutes to decompress and allow their eyes to focus, Cody spoke.
"So what do you guys think?" He asked nervously. "Bearing in mind the show was aimed at kids ages 5 to 11, so they had to make a few changes."
"It is a fine program, Cody, and a wonderful tribute," Master Splinter said. "Right, my sons?" He asked, eyeing Michelangelo in particular.
The turtles hastily murmured their agreement. "Of course, Sensei," Leo said. "It's just that…well…there were an awful lot of changes, and I can't help but wonder about some of them. I mean, I can see why they'd have to tone down Shredder, but why make him human with an Utrom partner?"
"I like how they made Shredder into two separate villains," Mike said. "It's like we got to kick his butt twice in every episode!"
"Then there's the time period," Don said. "It's off by about 20 years. The clothes, the hair, the cars, it all looks so…'80's. The 1980s, not the 2080s."
"Oh, they never get the costumes right," Mike said. "May I present Exhibit A, the Justice Force Movie."
"And why did they add a bunch of made up villains but left out some of our worst enemies, like Hun and Bishop?" Leo asked.
"Actually, Rocksteady reminded me a lot of Hun," Mike said.
"Really? I thought Bebop was more like Hun," Don said. "Although when you think about it, the two are pretty much interchangeable."
"Well, it's pretty obvious that Lotus Blossom is modeled after Karai," Leo said. "But I want to make one thing clear, Cody, we never had a 'thing.' We were just friends, no matter what this TV show says, or what my brothers told you, or what you may or may not have read in the journal…"
"Yeah right, Leo, you loudly denying it every chance you get makes us believe it even more," Mike smirked.
"You've been awfully quiet, Raph," Cody said, turning to the red-masked turtle. He had a pretty good idea of what Raph was thinking and dreaded asking him, but the stony silence had become more than he could bear. Besides, he couldn't stand another 'Leo loves Karai' argument. He took a deep breath and said, "What did you think?"
"Well Cody, I must say that it's not what I expected," Raph replied. "Still, it was a good show."
Silence filled the room. "Is that all?" Cody asked.
"Yep," Raph said.
"There's nothing else?" Cody prompted.
"Nope," Raph said, getting up from the couch. ""I think I'll turn in."
"Turn into what? A bar? Someone who doesn't suck? Don't leave us hanging, Mr. Comedian!" His brother called after him.
Raph instantly launched himself into Michelangelo and proceeded to beat the stuffing out of him. "Um, Raph?" Cody said. "I hate to interrupt, but Leo was the one who said it."
"Sorry, couldn't resist," Leo shrugged.
Raph let go of Mike, who dropped to the floor in a heap. "Sorry, Mikey, force of habit."
"No problem," Mike groaned.
"You have to admit, Raph, it is pretty funny that out of the four of us, they would make you the joker," Don said.
"Oh, yeah, it's freakin' hilarious! I'm just a clown, here to amuse you! Everyone laugh at the funny clown! Go on, I dare you!" Raph said, making a fist.
"Calm down Raph, you're not the only character they changed," Leo said. "Just look at Shredder, Leatherhead, Baxter Stockman..."
"And Casey Jones," Mike added. "They made him a genius!"
"Shredder's the bad guy, who cares about him? And the others only showed up in a few episodes!" Raph fumed. "We were the stars, and they managed to get all of you guys right! Leo's the boring uptight leader, Don's the science geek, and Mikey's the doofus! Nothing in that show even came close to resembling the real me, not even my voice! In ten freakin' seasons they couldn't even get my voice right!"
"Excuse me, but they didn't get my voice right either," Mike huffed. "I mean, 'cowabunga dude?' I've never said that in my life! They made me sound so dumb!"
"Oh yeah, it's a real stretch," Raph said, rolling his eyes.
"I'm sorry, Raph, but like I said, this show was aimed at kids so they had to tone down a lot of things, including you," Cody said. "You can be a little…intense."
"And at least you got to keep your weapons," Mike added. "Halfway through the series they stuck me with that lame grappling hook! What's the deal with that!"
Cody pulled up his father's notes on his wrist communicator and skimmed them. "Well, it seems the show's producers thought nunchucks were too violent."
"Are you kidding me?" Mike cried. "They let Leo and Raph run around with 'let's-disembowel-someone' weapons, but my 'let's-bonk-someone-on-the-head-three-stooges-style' weapon is too violent?"
"Three Stooges? What's that?" Cody asked.
"Only what I live with every day," Raph groaned.
"Cody, do your dad's notes ever mention if producers are good for anything besides taking totally cool stuff and completely ruining it for everyone??" Mike asked.
"To be fair, Mike, they did try to make the show edgier in the last couple of seasons," Leo said.
"Yeah, the last seasons," Mike said. "The show starts getting really cool and then WHAM! Canceled. Coincidence? I think not!"
Cody checked the notes. "According to dad, the producers were…um…let's just say he felt the same way you do, Mikey, only with a lot more swearing. Long story short, most of the changes were their idea, including making the Foot ninjas robots instead of people, and turning Baxter Stockman into a fly…"
"Well, I think Stockman as a fly works better, since he's such a big pest," Mike said. "Oh, sorry, Raph, am I stepping on your lines?" he added, earning himself a smack upside the head.
"Go ahead and joke!" Raph snapped. "Why not? Everyone who ever saw that show will remember me as a joke. No one will ever know what I was really like."
"Oh, really?" Master Splinter said, putting his hand on Raph's shoulder. "From what I saw, the show portrayed you as a brave warrior fighting evil against all odds, and a loyal friend and brother. They captured your true essence, and next to that, all of the changes are insignificant."
"Yeah, all Dad ever wanted was to give you guys your due, since you never got it in your own time," Cody added. "He wanted the whole world to see you as heroes, and in the end, I think he succeeded."
"Yeah…I guess he did," Raph said. "And there was plenty of butt-kicking action! All complaining aside, Cody, the show was really good."
"It sure was," Leo nodded. "I think I speak for everyone when I say we are truly honored."
"Yeah, it was really cool seeing ourselves as cartoons," Mike said. "And the show did get a few things right…like the pizza!"
"Yeah, we loved pizza when we were kids! We ate it all the time!" Don laughed.
Cody looked puzzled. "You like pizza? But you guys haven't had pizza once since you've been here."
All of the turtles froze and looked at Cody. "You have…pizza?" Mike said slowly.
"Here? In the future?" Leo added.
"You don't have tacos, Kentucky fried chicken, double cheeseburgers, onion rings, nachos, or Chinese take-out…but you have pizza?" Raph said.
"Of course," Cody said. "But…"
"Wait a minute, are we talking about the same thing here?" Don interrupted. "In our time, pizza was a circle of baked bread with tomato sauce and cheese, topped with just about any kind of animal or vegetable you could imagine."
"Yup, that's a pizza all right," Cody said. "But I'm curious…how could you ever afford pizza back in your time? It's a delicacy, available in only the best restaurants."
The turtles looked at him in disbelief. "Well…we used to just order out," Leo said.
Now it was Cody's turn to look at them in disbelief. "You used to order out pizza?" He asked. "As in you call them on the phone with your order, they make it and bring it to you? No way! And it was amazingly delicious?"
"Yeah, but this is New York! 99 percent of all pizza places were amazingly delicious!" Raph said.
"Well, I don't know what happened between now and then, but now you need a special license to make pizza," Cody said. "Pizza is far too awesome to let just anybody sell it!"
"Gentlemen, I believe we must investigate this matter further," Mike said, jumping up from the couch. "To the pizza parlor! Um…wherever it is."
"You're in luck," Cody said. "New York has the highest number of certified pizza makers in the country! Let me just put the disc away and I'll meet you out front!"
"Okay, we'll be waiting in the limo," Mike said cheerfully. "Oh, Serling…" he chirped.
Disk in hand, Cody hurried downstairs to his PC, the one he'd used since he was old enough to operate a computer. It was easily the oldest piece of technology in the penthouse, but he could not bring himself to get rid of it because it had once belonged to his father; although Cody never knew his father, using his computer somehow made Cody feel close to him.
That feeling had doubled when he found the Ninja Turtles cartoon show; it was as if the two of them now shared a common bond. Once again Cody's life had changed for the better, thanks to the turtles. Cody knew they deserved so much more thanks than just a cartoon show, and vowed that someday they would get it.
He put away the disk and was about to shut down the computer when he noticed another file titled "Full Length Movies." He clicked on it and saw three titles:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Cody smiled; it looked as though his father also felt that a TV show wasn't enough. We'll save those for another day, he thought. He shut down the computer and went to join his friends on their latest adventure.