Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time Novelization

Interpreted from the SNES video game version by Vilsy

A/N because I always include one:

Yes, so I was listless during my previous TMNT obsession phase (which has all but died down before you ask about my other, other TMNT fic, No Longer Responsible) and I wondered if anyone had written specifically about any of the TMNT video games. I'm sure they have, but at a quick glance (i.e. searching with Google) I hadn't readily found any. So I thought I might give it a shot and novelize the SNES version of Turtles in Time since it's my favorite, and also because the story MAKES VERY LITTLE SENSE. I thought it would be a challenge to try to make sensible prose out of it. Despite this, I may not actually get all the way through it since I have very little time to devote to writing fan fiction anymore, but I thought it a waste not to share what I had come up with so far. I hope you enjoy what little there is at the moment. Ciao.

Scene 0: The News Report

April O'Neil gazed absently into the mirror of her compact. Far be it from her to become lost in the thralls of vanity; she was far more interested in reporting the hottest stories than worrying about how stunning she looked on camera. However, this evening she would be sharing the screen with one of New York's (or arguably New Jersey's) biggest celebrities. Tallest, even. She should at least gussy up a trifle.

April rubbed softly at her bottom lip to shape a stray smudge of lipstick and combed at her fiery red hair with her fingertips. Good enough, she thought as she inspected herself with minimal scrutiny. She was certain that her five biggest fans would think so, anyway.

April tucked away her compact into one of the many pockets of her jumpsuit. She lifted a hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the retreating afternoon sun. They sky burned in a cascade of warm colors that resembled a vibrant oil painting. Time would be of the essence during her upcoming news report. There would be sufficient daylight to cover the live segment, but the interviews that would follow for that night's pre-recorded broadcast might drag on until after sunset. She shifted her vision down again to observe the scores of people who bustled around her. The Channel 6 crew that had accompanied her was in somewhat poor spirits. Transporting the necessary equipment to the site had been rather daunting, and they were aware that they might be there for the best part of the evening.

April smiled reflexively as the cameraman angled the television camera on her. He fidgeted with it for several minutes, asking her to step back, step forward, move a little to her right and whatnot. Finally he gave her a thumbs-up and declared, "Looking good, April."

The reporter nodded and remained stationary as another coworker trotted over and handed her a microphone. He retreated to his position behind the cameraman at his sound equipment station. He pulled on a headset, turned some knobs, pressed a few buttons, and then lifted a finger skyward. "Check, one, two," April murmured with the microphone close to her lips.

The sound technician rewarded her with a thumbs-up. April gave another nod of affirmation and checked her watch. It was nearly time to start. Her eyes wandered to crowds of protesters that had gathered not far from the news crew's setup. They were future interviewees. They bounced their signs up and down, chanting out in a dull roar behind a line of docile police officers and bright yellow police tape. Beyond the police blockade was the beginnings of an expansive construction site. The construction workers were still hard at work and could potentially be caught for an interview before they wrapped up for the evening. Today was one of the final days that the public would have access to the island. April smiled in spite of herself. This story would prove to have phenomenal longevity and her boss had given her the exclusive privilege of being the on-site reporter. Her crew may not have been thrilled to be there, but she certainly was.

"Five minutes, April," a coworker announced.

"Thanks," she replied curtly, gripping the microphone in anticipation. She mentally reviewed her memorized speech and once she felt confident that she had it down, she turned her head to gaze at her co-star. "It's just you and me, Lady Liberty."

"Hurry up, Michelangelo! April's going to be on soon!"

"Chill out, bro! I'm coming, I'm coming!"

The orange-clad turtle stumbled into the lair's designated living room with an arm-full of plastic bags. It was a veritable bounty of junk food and Michelangelo bore it with pride. He adeptly leapt over the back of the moth-eaten loveseat and dumped his payload of snacks onto the salvaged coffee table. He looked positively proud as a peacock as he stood with his hands placed on his hips and an enormous grin splattered across his face. "Tada! Primo snackage, bros!"

His brother Donatello diligently inspected the cornucopia from his position on the couch. His mouth set in an expression of disappointment. "What, no pork rinds?"

Michelangelo's metaphorical tail feathers drooped and he plopped down onto the floor next to the coffee table. He dug through the pile of goodies, quite certain that he had not forgotten the pork rinds. He flung a bag of pretzels out of the way which unceremoniously hit Raphael in the arm. "Hey! Watch it, meat-head!" Raphael growled, picking up the bag and chucking it back at Michelangelo's head with unwarranted force.

It pegged the orange-banded turtle squarely in the nose as he turned to see what Raphael was griping about. "Ow!" he groaned as he rubbed where the bag had struck him. He gave his red-clad brother a rather dirty look and lifted a bag of pork rinds from the pile. "Found 'em..."

"Prodigious!" Donatello chimed, rubbing his hands together expectantly.

But much to the purple-banded turtle's dismay, Michelangelo lobbed the bag of pork rinds at Raphael. It harmlessly bounced off of his plastron and a smirk drew over his face. "OK, dead-eye. This means war!" He grabbed the bag and aimed another lightning-fast throw at Michelangelo's face.

"Not the pork rinds!" Donatello whimpered.

Leonardo's lithe reflexes intercepted the bag before it could make contact with his orange-banded brother's cranium. "Cool it, you guys," he demanded in a dry voice. "Can't we ever just watch April in peace?"

"He started it!" both Raphael and Michelangelo bleated in unison, fingers pointed at one another.

Leonardo heaved a sigh and handed the bag of snacks to Donatello whose mood brightened immediately. He pointed the remote control at the television and flipped to channel 6. An anchor was already announcing April's report. "Here we go."

Raphael continued to sneer at Michelangelo and leaned back into the couch cushions. He crossed his arms over his plastron and attempted to look as disinterested as possible. "What's the big deal anyway? It's not like we don't watch April's reports like every single day." In reality, watching April's reports was one of Raphael's favorite pastimes.

Donatello grimaced at the double negative that rolled so nonchalantly off of his brother's uncouth tongue. He peeled apart the bag of pork rinds and cleared his throat audibly. "It is a big deal, actually," he replied matter-of-factly. "There's a lot of controversy with this story she's covering. I find it very interesting and I'm curious if history will repeat itself."

Michelangelo had torn into the tortilla chips and was going to town on them. Raphael braced himself for the irritating crunch fest that would soon follow. "Yeah, sure. It's just the Statue of Liberty. It's been there for like 500 years. Who cares?"

"500 years, Raph?" Donatello groaned, placing his hand over his face in frustration.

Raphael shrugged and continued without a hitch. "All I'm sayin' is it ain't got nothin' to do with us. April should be reportin' on gang activity or bank heists or somethin'. Somethin' we can do somethin' about, ya know?"

He had something of a point, but Leonardo waggled the remote at Raphael in a reprimanding manner. "April's not our personal crime detector, Raphael. This is a big story for her."

"Dude, I like watching April," Michelangelo said plainly with a child-like grin on his face, alongside the tortilla chip crumbs.

"You would." Raphael rolled his eyes at his "little brother" but in truth, he enjoyed watching April just as much. He did enjoy her just a little bit more when she was reporting on something slightly more dangerous than a tourist attraction. All that history mumbo-jumbo was more Donatello's thing, so Raphael was not surprised when Donatello began lecturing between bites of pork rind.

"First of all, the Statue of Liberty is not 500 years old."

"Yeah yeah, I know that-"

"Secondly, what's compelling is what they are planning to do to her," Donatello interrupted.

"Her?" Raphael snapped, just to do some interrupting of his own. "It's a statue. Ain't it an 'it'?"

"You know what I mean," Donatello replied, clinging desperately to his usual patience. "Now what's most fascinating is that decades ago-"

"I mean, hell. It kinda looks like a dude to me," Raphael interjected, rubbing his chin with feigned thoughtfulness.

"It's freakin' neoclassical sculpture!" Donatello blurted out loudly, making all of his brothers jump in their shells. He cleared his throat again sheepishly. "Well, anyway, I'm sure April will explain everything in her report."

Donatello stuffed a few more pork rinds into his mouth and chewed on them noisily. He was clearly aggravated by Raphael's subtle heckling. A moment later, their father emerged from the adjacent room and strolled toward the couch with the aid of his wooden walking stick. Leonardo reactively stood from the couch and bowed majestically. "Master Splinter."

Splinter waved a paw at his son and smiled as the others acknowledged him in their own way. Raphael grunted and nodded ever so slightly. Michelangelo wiped his hand off on his plastron and wiggled his fingers. Donatello scooted over on the cushions to offer him a seat. Splinter bowed his head gratefully to his son, and then shook it. "Thank you, Donatello, but I shall find comfort in my usual spot." Without further ado, he lowered himself to the floor and sat lotus-style behind the coffee table. His whiskers twitched at the sight of all the unhealthy food items strewn about, but he decided to ignore them for the time being. "Am I in time for Miss O'Neil's report, my sons?" he asked cordially as he eyed Michelangelo's familiar eating etiquette.

"Yes, Master Splinter," Leonardo replied as he nestled back down into the old, worn cushions. "She is just about to come on."

"There she is!" Michelangelo chirped, pointing at the television unnecessarily. He grabbed his bag of tortillas and the bag of pretzels and scooted across the cold floor towards the TV set.

As her dutiful fans, the five of them sat attentively and watched as April flashed her well-practiced smile at them. The scene was framed beautifully. April's vibrant visage graced the left side of the screen and the colossal national monument stood proudly in the background to her right. Even Raphael had to admire the care that was taken to fit them both perfectly together. He let out a sigh of resignation. April really could make anything entertaining, even if it was boring and pointless in his eyes. Maybe watching this report would not be so bad after all.

"This is April O'Neil reporting-"

And then suddenly it happened. An intense, high-pitched screaming sound flooded the speakers and became progressively louder. Donatello leaned forward in his seat and gripped his knees in his palms. "What in the world is that awful feedback?"

They watched as April whirled around and a look of terror spread over her facial profile. People in the background were panicking and sprinting in every direction. Michelangelo crawled closer to the television and put his hands on either side as if grabbing someone's shoulders. "Whoa dude, everybody's buggin' out..."

"Down in front, Mikey!" Raphael barked as he too leaned forward. As he instinctively sensed danger, his hand absently reached for the handle of one of his sais and rested there warily.

Michelangelo shrunk out of the way in time for everyone to witness the unpleasant spectacle. A massive red and yellow humanoid machine flew down from the heavens, firing retro jets to slow its descent. The camera began to shake violently, but it was still an all too recognizable sight. The robot spread its limbs and shook the island with its deafening roar.

"It's Krang!" Donatello yelped, and before he could even finish that short sentence, the robot had made its move. In one swift motion, Krang's enormous mech suit bear-hugged Lady Liberty. With an abrupt explosion of its rockets, the machine thrust upwards and began to rip the statue from its foundation. A gut-wrenching squeal erupted from the speakers as the statue finally detached from the pedestal.

"No!" they heard April shriek as she fought wildly to maintain her balance. The vibration caused by the robot's jet engines was mercilessly tossing people to the ground. The screen movements were dizzying; the cameraman was desperately trying to follow the horrifying action.

The bottom of the statue rained scattered metal down onto the vacant pedestal. In the next instant, Krang's robot blasted off into the sky, knocking everyone else over with a piercing sonic-boom.

All was still and peaceful again, save for the wails of distressed tourists and the commanding shouts of confused police officers. "April!" Raphael bellowed, leaping to his feet and drawing both weapons as if he might jump through the television to save her. The others in the room seemed to be paralyzed with shock as they gaped at the faltering image on the television. The chaos on Liberty Island stretched and morphed into loud, crackling static as the television camera suddenly failed. Another warped image took its place. A man's face shielded by jagged metal. His dark eyes flashed as a haunting dirge of laughter filled the room. In the next moment, the image was blackened and the sound muted. Snowy static once again graced the screen.

"Saki..." Splinter hissed, ears pressed back against his head.

Leonardo shook with anger that had been waiting to burst forth. "Krang!" he growled, clenching his fists and drawing to his feet. "Bring that statue back you... bloated... beanbag!"

The awkward beat of silence that followed lasted perhaps longer than it should have, as Leonardo had time enough to regret his outburst. Raphael glared particularly hard at his blue-clad brother. "The heck was that, Leo? Bloated beanbag?"

Leonardo's serious expression foundered and he waved a fist at Raphael vaguely. "I don't know! It was the first thing to come to mind! Michelangelo's impressionable!" he fired, hoping to redirect the embarrassment.

"H'yeah, I totally am," Michelangelo chuckled. "Wait, what?"

Donatello was already on his feet, seemingly the only one besides Splinter who was still focused on the crisis at hand. He swiped an electronic device from his belt and circled around the couch, pushing past Raphael. "Well, whatta we waitin' for?" Raphael implored. "Let's get movin'!"

Michelangelo jumped up from the floor and whipped out his nunchaku. "Yeah dudes, we gotta save April!"

The familiar electronic chime of a turtlecom rang out suddenly and all eyes were shifted to Donatello. "April, come in. This is Donatello, do you copy?"

Raphael snorted and stormed towards the exit. "Forget that! Stop wastin' time, and let's just get down there!"

"Raphael!" Splinter shouted, picking up his walking stick to aid him in standing. His son stopped in his tracks and looked back with an unmistakably annoyed gaze. "Your brother Donatello has made a wise first decision. All of this chaos has occurred most quickly; it would be prudent to contact Miss O'Neil remotely if possible before running blindly into the unknown."

"Unknown?" Raphael fired back, raising a sai in a dramatic fashion. "I think we pretty much just saw everything we need to know! April's in trouble and that creep Shredder and the beanbag just flew off with the statue!" Leonardo grimaced at the obvious potshot. "I ain't seein' the unknown part here."

"Master Splinter's right, Raphael," Leonardo cut in, swallowing his embarrassment. "It's not practical for us to act yet. Ellis or Liberty Island aren't exactly easily accessible destinations."

"What're you moanin' about, Leo?" Raphael sneered. "Just fire up the blimp and we can get there in no time!"

"I'm not so sure the people on that island care to see anymore unidentified flying objects heading in their direction, Raphael. We may be perceived as a threat."

Michelangelo blinked a few times and scratched his temple with the handle of a nunchaku. "UFO? You mean like aliens? Far out!"

Raphael and Leonardo shot Michelangelo irritated glares when Donatello finally received a response on the turtlecom. "G-guys? This is April can you hear me?"

"Aha, success! Yes April, we can hear you perfectly," Donatello replied, clutching the device close to his face. The others quickly closed in and surrounded the purple-clad turtle with their attention transfixed on the communications device. April's spooked face appeared on the video screen. "April, are you hurt?" Donatello inquired urgently, making out a fresh bruise on the woman's forehead.

"I'm all right, Donnie," she assured him, looking dazed all the same. "I just smacked myself in the head with the microphone when I fell." She let out a chuckle and touched her fingertips to her forehead. "I guess I literally can't let a good story slip through my fingers."

Donatello glanced up at his brothers and father and shared their profound bewilderment at April's ability to make light of the situation. "April," Leonardo beseeched as he leaned over Donatello's shoulder. "We saw what happened on the TV but your cameras cut out. Can you tell us what's happening now?"

"Well," April began. She turned her head and surveyed her surroundings before continuing her account. "As you can imagine, things are in an uproar. People are running all over the place and the police are trying to get them under control." A demoralized expression melted over her delicate features. "I can just hear my boss' infuriated voice now." She grimaced and angled her eyebrows into a serious scowl. "April! How could you just let a scoop like that fly off?" she bellowed in a gruff voice.

"Speaking of flying away," Leonardo continued urgently, "did you see which way Krang escaped?"

April recalled the severity of the situation and immediately focused her attention skyward. After a moment of squinting, she turned back to her turtlecom and shook her head in defeat. "Sorry guys. It all happened so fast. When I got my bearings after falling down, he was long gone. All I can say is that crazy robot flew up and flew fast."

Raphael made a distinctive sound of disappointment and paced away from the others. "Wondaful."

"Dude, maybe he took it to the moon," Michelangelo offered. "Like maybe he's opening a lunar theme park or somethin' and needs it as an attraction." He looked dead serious. "Man, that's evil." Raphael hastily returned to the group to slap Michelangelo across the back of his head.

"Sheesh, that thing must be doing Mach 4," Donatello mused with partial fascination. He gazed up to the brick ceiling and scratched idly at his cheek with his free hand. "No, that can't be possible. Not with its size and structural makeup. It couldn't withstand the G-force. Or could it? I wish I knew how Krang-"

Leonardo snatched the turtlecom from Donatello before he could lose himself in techno-geek mode. "That's all right, April. We'll figure out what's going on. Do you perceive any immediate danger in the area? Do you need us to come and help you?"

April smiled and smoothed out her disheveled hair. "I'll be fine. There are plenty of police officers on the island to get things back in order. It looks like it was a hit and run, but I'll call you if I see anything suspicious. Maybe I can get you guys a lead."

"That would be great, April, but don't put yourself in danger," Leonardo insisted curtly.

April erupted with laughter. "Danger? When do I ever? Besides, the only danger I'll be in is if we don't get these camera's rolling again. My boss... will... definitely... me... and..."

"April?" Leonardo held the device closer to his face as their friend was engulfed in static. "April? Can you hear me?" He thrust the turtlecom back towards his brainy brother. "Donatello, what's wrong with this thing?"

"Uh oh..." Michelangelo drawled, at risk of inviting another attack from Raphael. "Somebody didn't pay the phone bill..." Raphael settled for an intimidating scowl.

Donatello ignored the silly comment and took the turtlecom from Leonardo. "I don't know what's wrong; it shouldn't be malfunctioning. I replaced the batteries in it yesterday so-"

Before Donatello could finish his explanation a raspy, digitized voice cut him off. "Meet... me... construction..."

The five of them huddled closely around Donatello who donned a perplexed expression. The turtlecom obstinately displayed black and white static and choked out the voice that was attempting to communicate with them. "April?" Donatello asked hopefully. Upon further observation, the voice was definitely not April's.

"Have... information... Meet... site."

"Who is this?" Leonardo demanded, practically shouting at the communication device. Donatello cradled it away from him as though his brother might frighten the delicate piece of technology. "You're breaking up."

"Take it easy," Donatello implored, turning the turtlecom upside down and back again, trying to quickly assess what the issue might be. "There's just some sort of interference-"

"Have you tried smackin' it?" Raphael suggested in an impatient tone. Donatello ignored him, assuming Raphael was being facetious. To his dismay, his brother was dead serious and he unceremoniously reached in and snatched the device from Donatello. "Here, gimme that. I'll fix it," he grumbled and irreverently proceeded to bash the turtlecom against Michelangelo's shell.

"Hey! I'm not a workbench, Raph, quit it!" Michelangelo wailed, side stepping closer to Donatello who was having a fit at the entire scene.

"Guys," Leonardo breathed in a warning tone, lifting a hand towards Raphael who was now slamming the turtlecom gracefully against his knuckles.

Splinter closed his eyes and heaved a sigh. He gently tapped the end of his walking stick against the cold cement floor, collecting his thoughts on how to diffuse the situation once Donatello lost his cool. That would be happening at any moment, he presumed.

Miraculously, the digitized voice suddenly erupted clearly from the turtlecom's speaker. "Ah ha!" Raphael grinned, holding the battered device up to his ear. Donatello's lip quivered and he appeared to have lost his first born child. A smirk slid over Raphael's face and he tossed the device back to his purple-clad brother. "Told ya. Just needed a good smack is all."

Donatello nearly fumbled the turtlecom but recovered elegantly. He cupped the thing in his hands and gave Raphael the stink-eye.

Michelangelo rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Gees, if that's all it takes to fix stuff, I think I can be as handy and Donnie!"

"We rather you didn't," Leonardo declared abruptly. "Now be quiet and let's figure out who is messaging us." He moved closer to Donatello who seemed a little spooked for a moment but finally held the turtlecom up again.

"I have information regarding the theft of the statue. Meet me at the large construction site by the East River at 3 AM. Do not alert the authorities or you will regret it. End transmission."

There was a brief pause before the short message was repeated in the same, monotone, robotic manner. Splinter and the other turtles glared at Donatello expectantly. The purple-clad turtle seemed perplexed for a beat before needlessly stating the obvious. "That's strange. It's a recording."

"Yeah, we got that, Poindexter," Raphael scoffed as he spun his sais around his fingers idly. "Who the heck's it from?"

Donatello was already clicking buttons diligently, his eye ridges furrowed in concentration. "I can't say. The transmission is encrypted so I'd need time to decipher the source."

"I'm not liking this," Leonardo declared, crossing his arms over his plastron.

"Maybe if we wiggle the rabbit ears on the TV," Michelangelo began thoughtfully as his scratched his cheek with a finger. Everyone glared at him pointedly and he shrugged. "What? I'm just tryin' to be helpful."

Raphael looked like he could take the idle chatter of his brothers no longer and once again turned toward the exit. "Wait, someone's coming in!" Donatello announced as the recorded voice faded back to static. Someone's face rematerialized on the screen. Everyone crowded around again to see who the mysterious voice may have belonged to.

"Um... guys?" a feminine voice came. "Is this thing still on?"

The five of them heaved an exasperated sigh as April's befuddled face reappeared on the screen. Leonardo held his hand out to more politely acquire the turtlecom. Donatello obliged and press the device into his brother's waiting palm. "April, we're here. No one just happened to, I don't know, take your turtlecom just now, did they?" It was a shot in the dark, the kind Leonardo did not usually take, but sometimes the simplest explanations were the most likely.

"What? No, of course not," April replied in a perplexed tone. "There was just some static and I lost you for a minute. Is everything OK?"

"Everything's fine, April," Leonardo assured her while exchanging uncertain glances at his brothers and Splinter.

April made a face that denoted she knew everything was not fine. "What are you boys going to do?"

"We're not sure right now," Leonardo said in a loud voice as he watched Raphael take some decisive steps towards the door again.

April was obviously distracted and she quickly cut in. "Guys, I have to get going. My crew is recuperating and the police are heading over here. I'll probably be stuck here for a while, but come over to my apartment in... I don't know... three or four hours. Maybe I'll have some leads for you then. Just let yourselves in. Bye!"

The turtlecom emitted a short chirp indicating that April had disconnected. Leonardo stared at the blank screen for a moment before handing the device back to Donatello. He placed his fingers against his temple and there was silent tension for a few seconds. "OK, Donatello."

"Yes?" the purple-clad turtle asked expectantly.

"Can you try to get a trace on that message?"

"Sure thing, Leo, I'm on it." Donatello turned and leaped over the couch and darted towards his work area with uncanny zeal.

"Michelangelo," Leonardo continued.

The orange-banded turtle stood up straight and saluted dramatically. "Aye, captain! What be ye orders?"

"Go get Raph and bring him back here."

"Aye aye, cap- wait what? Raph? But he's right-" Michelangelo turned and expected to see his surly brother standing right behind him, but there was no one. "Aw man!"

"I don't know where he thinks he's running off to but we need a game plan first," Leonardo sighed.

"10-4, Bravo Leader," Michelangelo drawled with less enthusiasm than suited him. "I'll go get him." He stowed his nunchaku securely into his waist belt and shuffled toward the exit. Chase-after-hot-headed-Raph-duty was the last thing he was interested in getting dumped with at the moment. The unfolding events were getting too strange to miss any potential new developments. But someone had to keep Raphael on his leash.

"Be careful, my son," Splinter offered to Michelangelo, finally breaking his long silence.

Michelangelo peeked around the corner and gave his father a thumbs-up. "No sweat, sensei. Be back inna jiff." With that, he disappeared into the shadows.

Splinter hobbled a few paces with the aid of his walking stick before planting it firmly on the floor and leaning delicately on it. He twitched his whiskers thoughtfully and scratched at his nose with a clawed finger. Leonardo strode over to him and cleared his throat lightly enough to not be considered rude. "Sensei? May I have your counsel on this?" Splinter turned and gave his blue-banded son his attention. Leonardo hesitated, waiting for Splinter to speak, but the wizened rat merely gazed silently at him. "What I meant to ask is what do you think we should do? I know we should be out there searching for clues, but that transmission we received troubles me greatly."

A pertinent smile drew over Splinter's muzzle and he nodded slowly, hoping his continued silence would elicit further thoughts from his son.

Leonardo grimaced and began to pace back and forth along a small path in front of his father. "I mean honestly... not two minutes after the statue is stolen, we receive what sounds like a recording claiming to have information about it? It's got to be a trap."

"Yes, my son," Splinter breathed, adjusting his grip on his walking stick. "It does seem suspicious."

"April is our only reliable lead, but she'll be tied up for hours before we can meet with her. Keeping Raphael still for that long won't be easy."

Splinter let out a noise that briefly sounded like a snicker but evolved into a short cough.

"But maybe he's right. Maybe we should hurry up and try to figure out where Krang flew off to before-"

"Leonardo," Splinter interrupted softly. "You have my full confidence that you will successfully make the right choices in these matters. But I implore you, look to the shared wisdom of not only myself, but your brothers as well. They are willing and capable of aiding you in the conceivably difficult tasks that lie ahead."

Leonardo stopped pacing and faced Splinter, taking in the speech. He bowed his head slightly and nodded. "Yes, Master Splinter."

Splinter moved closer and reached up a paw to place on his son's shoulder. "Band together and you shall see this through, as you have in the past. I believe in you all."

Splinter drew his hand away, lifting a finger poignantly. "I do recommend, however, that you take Miss O'Neil up on her offer. She has always been very resourceful in gathering information and did indeed witness things first hand. Perhaps there is a vital clue she can provide us."

"Thank you, sensei," Leonardo replied humbly. "We won't fail."