The Ninja Turtle Hunter

By Kali Gargoyle

***

I don't own the Ninja Turtles or any related characters. I also don't own Steve Irwin or his camera guy. I did this to help cheer myself up, and it worked, so I hope it has a similar effect on you.

***

Tall buildings dominate the landscape, reaching to the sky, nearly blocking it out. Cars travel on the streets, passing the pedestrians and storefronts on their way to wherever they're going. Shouts and car horns are constant although most pay them no mind they're so used to them.

"New York City, a bustling urban landscape, a concrete jungle, and the perfect environment to find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

The camera guy shifted from the buildings to Steve Irwin, AKA The Crocodile Hunter, clad in his standard khaki, and a helmet light, standing in the middle of an alley with cars zooming by on the street behind him. "G'day! Here we are in New York, searching for the rare and elusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But we won't find them up here on these busy streets. To do that, we have to travel through their natural environment." He points down to an open manhole at his feet.

***

Steve adjusted the light on his helmet and looked down the dark tunnel. The camera guy kept in step as he traveled slowly on. "Well, here we are. Somewhere in these tunnels we'll find Ninja Turtles. Of course, they aren't the only ones who live down here. Many other creatures make this their home and survive quite well, considering the environment. Like that!"

There was a commotion as the camera guy tried to get into position. Somehow, he lost track of Steve, but spotted him over by a sewer pipe.

Steve's got his light focused on a rat sitting on the pipe. "Here, we have an excellent example of the type of wildlife that lives down here. These rats are actually common down here, but, like many of its fellow creatures, aren't too wild about humans, and tend to run and hide if any happen to come down here."

Steve jumped to the other side of the rat to try and keep her from escaping. She started hissing and squeaking at him. "Ain't she a beaut? She has to be this aggressive, it's a dog eat dog world down here. Or should I say rat eat rat? Either way, it's not an easy life."

The rat suddenly jumped at Steve, who instinctively jumped back out of reach. "Whoa!" The rat hissed and snapped at Steve. "That is one ticked off rodent. She's doing a fantastic job at defending herself, and her territory. I sure don't want to mess with her."

Steve and his camera guy looked around as rats slowly surrounded them on all sides, even crawling along the wall ledges and the pipes above their heads. Steve looked straight into the camera. "Looks like we've out stayed our welcome, mate. We better go before we become just another link in the New York sewer food chain."

"Yes..." a voice echoed from the darkness. "Leave..."

Steve raised his eyebrows. "Crikey! We better do as the bloke says and get. We need to get a move on if we're going to track down those Ninja Turtles."

***

Steve appeared hunkered down beside something. He's discarded his helmet and seems very, very excited. "Well, we've made it. We're in the lair of the elusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Steve whispered. He shifted his position and looked straight into the camera. "Now, we have to be careful, because while they aren't timid, they're wary of human contact. And these blokes are dangerous if we get on their bad side." He gestured for the camera to move into position as he circled around the other way.

The camera guy positioned the camera on the arm of the sofa, giving him a good view of the Turtle sitting there eating popcorn. At this point, the Turtle, Michaelangelo, noticed that something weird was going on. He noticed the camera and was giving it a strange look. Steve slowly rose up from behind the other arm of the couch, behind Mikey's field of vision.

"Aw, isn't he just gorgeous!"

Mike nearly jumped out of his shell. The popcorn bowl flew up and landed upside down on Steve's head. Mike jumped off the couch and turned to get into a fighting position but hit the coffee table and fell backwards instead.

Steve pushed the bowl up but didn't remove it. "Uh oh, I think we startled him. We better try and not do that again."

Mike sat up from amongst the rubble of the former coffee table and rubbed his head. "Okay, what's the big idea?" He glared up at Steve, then blinked. "Dude, do you know who you are?!?"

Steve looked back at the camera. "Ooh, a fan!"

"What are you doing here?" Mike asked, standing up and dusting himself off.

"Doing a documentary," Steve said cheerfully, pushing the bowl up again.

"On us?"

"Too right!"

Mike just stood there for a few seconds. "We're gonna be on TV! Too cool!"

Steve grinned at the camera. "Looks like we won't have as much trouble as I thought, they seem almost eager to take part in this."

"Hey, Mikey," another voice called out. "Can you keep it down in there? I can hear that stupid TV show from all the way in here."

"Dude, Donnie, get in here, you'll never guess who's here!" Mike turned to Steve. "Hey, is Terri with you?"

Reluctantly, Donatello left his lab and entered the lair's main room. He surveyed the scene carefully. There was Michaelangelo, looking like he'd had too much sugar, a broken coffee table, a guy with a video camera, and a guy in khakis with a bowl over his head.

"This is going to be one of those days, isn't it?"

Steve jogged over to Donnie and pointed him out to the camera. "This is another fine specimen of the species. I mean, look at this muscle." He held up Don's arm. "You won't find muscle tone like that on your run of the mill pond turtle!"

Don pulled his arm away. "Okay, we just crossed the comfort line. I'm getting Leo." He stalked off camera.

Steve frowned. "Aw, that was unfortunate."

"Ooh! Ooh! I wanna be on TV!"

Steve jumped back to Mike, who was more than happy to show off for the camera. "Like all turtle species, Ninja Turtles have a shell, which consists of a plastron." He knocked on the front of Mike's shell. "And a carapace." He thumped Mikey on the back.

"What's most interesting about this species, is that while turtles and reptiles tend to be ectothermic, or cold-blooded, these Turtles seem to be at least partially endothermic, or warm-blooded, like mammals. This shows in the amount of food they eat."

Steve jumped over the couch and crouched down by the remains of the table.

"Hey, that wasn't even fifteen minutes," Mike whined.

"See?" Steve said to the camera, which was now down by him. He held up an empty pizza box. "We know that these Turtles eat often, several times a day if they can find the food. And they're also very active, which is unusual for a large reptile."

Steve stood back up next to Mikey. "They're also a very intelligent species, obviously. At least as smart as most humans. They've managed to built themselves this lair, which we're going to explore with our tour guide here."

Mike noticed Steve looking at him. "Who, me? Sure!"

Steve kept looking back at the camera as they traveled through the lair. "Isn't it amazing how these creatures have managed to make themselves at home down here? It just astounds me, it's like I'm not even in the sewers anymore."

"And our sleeping quarters are down there, and past that's the dojo and garage, and over there's Master Splinter's room."

Steve stopped while Mike kept going, totally unaware that he had lost his tourists. Steve carefully looked around and slipped off towards the Turtle's sleeping quarters. "Let's see if we can't catch a glimpse of a Ninja Turtle bedroom." He turned the doorknob of the first room he came to and slipped inside with the cameraman.

It was dark inside, but the light from the camera was enough to see by. There was a futon mattress on the floor, a small table and a chair, and shelves and posters on the walls. Steve positioned himself in front of the camera and pushed the bowl up and out of his eyes. "Well, here we are, in the sleeping quarters of a Ninja Turtle. Looking around I can tell that more than sleeping goes on in this room." He picked up a couple stale pizza crusts, magazines, and a bra. He winked. "A lot more."

"What the hell do you think you're doing in my room?!?"

The camera guy and Steve turned around to face an angry looking Turtle. Steve looked wide-eyed into the camera. "Uh oh, this bloke doesn't look too friendly. I don't think he likes strangers mucking around in his territory."

"Damn right I don't!" Raph yelled. He grabbed Steve by his shirt, shaking the popcorn bowl off his head. "Get. Out."

Raph dropped Steve and he backed away quickly. He looked over his shoulder into the camera. "This is what I meant by dangerous. See, he's all puffed up, trying to look big and tough, trying to intimidate me." He looked at Raph, then back at the camera. "And he's doing a real good job of it."

"What, are you stupid or just plain crazy?"

Steve grinned. "Naw, I'm just wild about animals and educating the public about them."

"I see, stupid and crazy."

Steve looked back at the camera. "I think we've spent enough time here, we should be moving on."

Raph crossed his arms. "Yeah, you do that."

Steve and his camera guy moved out of the room around Raphael. They moved down the tunnel in the direction Michaelangelo had gone in hopes of catching up with him. They had no luck and eventually worked their way back into the main room. They walked around and eventually found the kitchen, where Splinter was making himself some tea.

"One thing we haven't seen much of is their group hierarchy. Within their group, the Turtles have designated tasks and positions, but they follow another who, oddly enough, isn't even the same species as they are!"

Splinter just raised an eyebrow at the camera and went back to making his tea.

Steve sat down at the table. "Isn't he magnificent? So dignified in his age, I bet he knows just about everything about surviving here."

"See, I told you he was here."

Steve and the camera turned to the kitchen entrance where all the Turtles were standing. Leonardo stood in front and arched an eyebrow at their two visitors. Steve looked back at the camera. "See that, he's the pack leader of the group. Doesn't he look the part? He's just staring me down, checking me out to see if I'm a threat or not." He looked at Leo, then back at the camera. "I hope he decides I'm not."

"I told ya he was crazy."

"I heard you the first time, Raph."

"Hey, if it's crocs he's looking for, we should introduce him to ol' Leatherhead."

"Actually, Raph, Leatherhead's an alligator, not a crocodile," Don corrected him.

"What's the difference?"

"Quite a bit actually. Crocodiles have narrower snouts and..."

"Whatever."

Leo turned around. "Will you two quit arguing, I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do about him."

"Oh, no worries, mate! I'll be leaving in just a bit."

"Did he say-"

"Shut up, Raph!" Leo snapped. He sighed and looked back at Steve.

"Hey, don't tell me to shut up!" Raph snapped back, turning Leo back around. "It's wasn't your room the guy was going through."

"I understand that Raph! What do you want me to do, kill him?"

"No." He paused a second. "I want to."

Mike gasped. "You can't kill him, he's on TV! Besides, he's cool! I like him."

"Mike does have a point," Don added. "We can't just kill a celebrity."

"Not even an annoying one?"

Steve slowly turned back towards the camera and whispered. "In any group it's bound to happen, fighting amongst themselves. Right now it's just words and vocalizations. It may move on to a physical fight. But even when that happens, it's rare for them to actually injure one another."

Steve felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up. Splinter gazed at him. "I think it is time for you to leave."

"I think you're right." He looked back at the camera. "Well, this certainly was an enlightening experience. I've enjoyed spending time with these wonderful, amazing creatures."

"Okay, so maybe he ain't so stupid."

"Hey, Crocdude." Mike sat down at the table across from Steve. "Before you go, can I have your autograph?" He slid an autograph book and pen across the table.

"Oh, geez," Raph groaned.

"Of course, mate, it's the least I could do." He scrawled his name and a short sentiment in Mike's book. Then he stood up. "Well, we've got to move on to our next adventure. Education and conservation is a full time job and we all need to do our parts."

Raph picked both men up by their collars. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, so go do your part out there." Raph shut the door behind them and dusted his hands off.

"And what about your part?" Mike teased.

Raph grabbed a soda from the fridge. "I'm off to work on increasing the population of the endangered Mutant Turtle. Wish me luck."