Shredder paced irritatedly across the lab of the Technodrome, his dwindling patience as brittle as dry grass on the Savannah. His cape billowed sharply behind him, echoing his mood. His mind was racing with uncontrolled, angry thoughts, buzzing of the past; constantly reminding him of previous failures and how he had not achieved what he had originally aspired to do when he left Japan so many years ago. He HATED relying on that brain for anything! He was the SHREDDER, ultimate ninja and leader of the Foot Clan. Yet here he was, as he had been for the last three years, exiled in Dimension X, where he was an outsider and reliant on a disembodied brain.

Not a day had gone by that he had not pondered and reason for his losses...his dishonor...at the hands of the accursed Turtles and his old rival, Hamato Yoshi. They had continually defeated him at every turn. If he had been calling the shots instead of running foolish errands and hair brained "rule the world" schemes concocted by Krang, he knew that he would have long ago been victorious.

He longed to return to Earth and reclaim his former glory, to enact his revenge on those wretched reptiles. He wanted REAL ninjas under his command instead of a pair of bumbling mutant punks and rickety robots.

His goals are what kept him sane, kept him from tearing the Technodrome apart piece by piece in his indignant rage. They were the reason he had overseen the reconstruction of the battle fortress, as he knew it was his only way home. He simply had to bide his time and continue along with Krang's plan.

The Shredder ceased his pacing and stopped to regard the containment chamber before him. Inside, Krang lay dormant, as he had for the last few months. A year ago, the ex-warlord had been going over his old experiments and believed he had finally found a way to reclone himself his old body.

*Flashback*

"Shredder!" came Krang's irritating, gurgly command. "Get in here!"

Shredder growled in annoyance at the interruption. He was working on rewiring the consoles in the main control room. Fixing the Technodrome had been a long, laborious process, since it had been so horribly destroyed.

"What is it Krang?" Shredder yelled as he entered the lab. "Why must you always bother me when I'm busy?"

Krang grinned widely. "You know I love watching you suffer, Saki."

Shredder growled and mumbled under his breath, "Someday you pretentious ganglion, someday..."

If Krang heard Shredder, he made no indication. His attention was drawn to the monitor before him. His pink tentacles were undulating swiftly in excitement his wordless pointing drawing Shredder's attention to the screen.

"Look Shredder and behold the answer to my ultimate victory!" Krang's voice cracked in his enthusiasm.

Shredder crossed his arms and raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Where have I heard that one before? And don't you mean our victory?"

Krang chuckled sinisterly. "Of coooooourse Shredder, our victory."

Shredder narrowed his eyes, but remained silent.

Krang took that as his cue to continue. "All is going to plan, Saki. The Technodrome's extensive repairs should be finished in about one of your Earth years. By that time, it will be stronger than it ever was based on the modifications to the systems I designed." His tentacles pressed buttons as Technodrome schematics passed on the monitor.

"However," Krang resumed, "I have been aware for a long time that my might has been weakened by my...present bodily condition. Before I was stripped of my body, when I was lord of Dimension X...long before your grandparents were a glimmer in their parents' eyes..." Krang appeared ready to go on a tangent, but he stopped himself, eager to get to the reason he summoned Shredder.

"Anyways, after many years of research, I believe I have perfected a way for me to reclone myself into my former body. No longer will I have to rely on this bubble walker or awkward androids! I, Krang, will reign again!"

Shredder chuckled in mild amusement. "This is all fascinating," he remarked sarcastically, "but why should I care, and how are you sure this will all work? Isn't doing this to yourself based on a theory...risky?"

"Risky, yes," Krang's grin reappeared, "but I KNOW this will work. This research is based on the time I cloned myself years ago. My clones ended up growing bodies. For years I have worked on a way to get that process to work on myself, like an Earth starfish regenerating a limb. I will in essence infuse myself with clone DNA which I saved and it should cause my body to eventually regenerate.

"And that is where you come in, Shredder. Contrary to what you may believe I think of you, I am aware you are highly intelligent for a human. Your intelligence is, of course, nothing compared to mine, but enough to suit my purposes."

"Why should I help you, Krang? How do I know you won't just destroy me when you emerge and possibly decide you don't have use for me anymore?"

Krang chucked. "Ahh, Shredder, you are so predictable and paranoid. If I didn't have a use for you, don't you think I would have done away with you a long time ago?! And...you WILL help me because you NEED me to get back to Earth, yesssss?"

Shredder's jaw clenched in anger. He detested it when Krang threw it in his face that there were reasons he needed that pink blob. Admitting he needed anyone was the worst blow to the ninja villain's ego.

"Very well, Krang," Shredder's voice was gravelly and full of resentment. "I will help you."

"As I knew you would, Shredder. As I said, you are soooo predictable." Krang chortled, his tone carrying a slight air of superiority which made the human cringe internally. "Now pay close attention, as I do NOT feel like repeating myself. This process will take months. I unfortunately was not able to devise a way for this to be faster. I will have to remain in stasis in a containment chamber will my body is regenerating. I will need you to observe the controls and make sure everything remains stable. I have left detailed instructions for you."

Krang turned to look at Shredder, his purple eyes intense. "And just to make sure YOU don't get any ideas about doing ME in, I will have General Tragg supervising you."

"WHAT?!" Shredder snarled. "I do not need a babysitter, Krang!"

"Not a babysitter, Shredder," Krang said, "think of it as more of an assistant, for my piece of mind."

Shredder knew that was far from the case. "A piece of mind is all you are, you annoying blob of neurons."

"Always with the compliments, Shredder! You will cooperate, or you will never return to Earth...it's as simple as that." Krang's grin grew mocking.

It took all Shredder's will power and ninja discipline to not throttle the alien brain, but he had to admit to himself that Krang was correct. However, a slight feeling of unease began to creep into his mind like an unwanted house guest.

He had never known Krang before he lost his body and thus had never dealt with him at his full abilities (whatever they may be), so the prospect did make Shredder slightly nervous.

*End flashback*

Shredder ended his reverie and frowned in concern under his mask. The regeneration was almost complete, and to say Krang's new form wasn't intimidating would have been an outright lie. However, the portal was almost functioning again...

"Soon, Krang...soon," Shredder breathed. "I will put you in your place. Just you wait."

At just that moment, Krang's eyes flashed open, and his mouth opened into an enormous grin, flashing razor teeth.