Turning the Tables

Four mutant turtles lay on a roof, exhausted from their night's work. Already that evening, they had saved nineteen women from muggers, rapists, and random gang members perpetrating misogynistic violence for its own sake. And, from the multitude of screams still rising from every corner of the city, they knew their work was not yet done. Not by a long shot.

"I just," Mike panted, "don't - get it. Why - are there so many - helpless women - in New York?"

"Tell me about it." Raphael was facedown on the tarpaper, his sides heaving with every breath. "You know, if we really wanted to do some good for this city, we should start offering self-defense classes for all these dumb broads."

"An intriguing idea," Donatello said. "But obviously impossible."

"No," Leo said, from where he was lying prone. "That's - that's a really good idea. I'm going to do it."

"Leo," Don said severely, "how many times do I have to tell you, do not make major decisions when you are oxygen-deprived."

"I'm not oxygen-deprived," Leo said. He sat up to prove it. "It makes perfect sense."

"It makes no sense," Don returned. "What happened to secrecy?"

"Secrecy left here a long time ago, Donnie," Raph pointed out. "All these dames have already seen us."

Mike was nodding. "It's true. They've got the screaming out of their system and everything."

Leo looked to Don. "You see? It won't be any problem at all."

Don threw up his hands. "You're all insane."

"Not insane," Leo said. A smile curled across his face. "Brilliant."

One year later...

Four mutant turtles lay on a roof, exhausted from their night's work. Already that evening, they had saved an even dozen petty criminals from the vengeful actions of women who had been assaulted one time too many, and who had then learned to fight back. And, from the terrified shouts echoing from every dark alley, they knew their work was far from finished.

"Guys." Raph was doubled over, clutching his stomach. "You know I ain't usually one to back down from a fight. But I am voting we get the hell out of here."

"Okay." Don recentered his oversized pad of paper on the easel, then stepped back to face his audience. He thrust his arm sideways to point at the color-coded graph. "As you can see, gang violence in the city has decreased sharply, starting several months after we opened the academy. As you can also see, several months after that, violence perpetrated by roving bands of women spiked massively." He turned to his chart again, and leaned close to it, peering at the thin green line that lay along the x-axis. "Interestingly, since we started living openly, there has been no increase in human-on-turtle violence."

"Told you," Raph said.

Don favored him with a withering glare. "Be that as it may," he said, "the fact remains that the city's overall crime problem is just as bad as it was a year ago."

"I'm sure it's only temporary," Mike said, with typical optimism. "Right? The girls will get even, and then they'll stop attacking people."

Don pivoted and flipped the page on his pad, revealing another chart. "By my calculations, at the current rate of revenge, it will take eighty-nine years for things to even out." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "On the other hand, if our academy keeps producing a steady stream of graduates, then female violence should increase geometrically, and the balance point will be reached in only fifty-two years."

Leo put his head in his hands. "What have I done?" he moaned into his palms. Then he threw his head back and beseeched the ceiling. "What have I done?"

"Hey, it's not all bad," Raph put in. "I kinda like having a bunch of ninja babes jump in to save us every time we get surrounded by Foot."

"Yeah," Mike agreed. "You gotta admit, bro, your students are pretty hot."

Leo turned to him with a gaze that would melt steel.

"Or not," Mike muttered.

"Sexual attractiveness of Leonardo's disciples aside," Don said, regaining everyone's attention, "the fact remains that we are responsible for breeding a new class of criminal. And -" he rubbed his sore shoulder "- one that's quite difficult to keep under control."

"I'm sorry!" Leo shouted. He twisted to bury his face in the arm of the couch. "Why do they learn the lessons of martial arts so well, and understand the concept of self-defense so poorly?"

"Yes, of course," Don sighed. "The monster turning on its creator. Who could have foreseen it."

"Here's what I don't get, though," Raph said. "The creator ain't us, it's every jerkoff who ever victimized one of these chicks. So I can see them takin' out their frustration on Dragons. I can even understand them usin' their new skills to beat up Foot soldiers, who, despite bein' less-than-upstandin' members of society, ain't really big on mugging and raping women. But –" he held up a finger "- what I don't get, is why, after all the Foot and Dragons are down, they turn on us."

There was a long pause.

"Well?" Raph prompted.

"There are some things," Don said gravely, "even charts cannot explain."

"You mean you can't explain it," Raph said.

"I'm an engineer, not a sociologist."

Raph muttered something that sounded unflattering.

"But enough about charts!" Mike said brightly, to defuse the encroaching bad mood. "How are we going to kick butt and restore order?"

Raph muttered something that sounded violent. Don flipped through his notes. Leo moaned into the arm of the couch.

"Anybody?" Mike said, in a much smaller voice.

"Well..." Don said slowly. "I could build some robots that would -"

"NO!" the others shouted.

Don frowned. "Oh, come on. There would be failsafes..."

"There's always failsafes," Mike said. "And the robot always goes on a murderous rampage anyway."

"Don't worry." Don smiled reassuringly. "It will be fine."

Six months later...

Four mutant turtles stood on a roof, watching the city burn around them. Already that evening, they had nearly gotten killed by two pissed-off groups of Purple Dragons, five of Leo's protégées, and eight robots armed to the teeth with every weapon Donatello's imagination could devise. And, from the sounds of battle erupting from every street, they knew their lives were in severe danger.

"Famous last words, Donnie," Raph griped.

Don whirled on him. "You have no right to complain, Raphael! This is all your fault!"

Raph stepped back, totally taken by surprise. "How is this my fault?"

"Teach self-defense to women!" Don echoed those fateful words from so long ago. "Yes, Raph, great idea!"

"I'm not the one who actually did it!" Raph protested.

"I'm not the one who built the robots!" Leo put in.

"I didn't do anything," Mike said, "and I'm gonna die anyway!"

"We're not going to die!" Don said. "We're going to -"

Whatever they were going to do was lost under the roar of a huge gout of flame, as another robot set the neighboring building alight.

One hundred years later... ?

Raph closed the journal.

"Cody," he said. "You have got way too much imagination."