DISCLAIMER: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder and April are properties of Nickelodeon, and all characters from the 1980s Fred Wolf Cartoon are properties of Fred Wolf. Only original characters and locations are mine

Note: This story takes place after the events of "Turtles Forever" in continuity. -Zarius


Deep within the recesses of their lair beneath the streets of New York, the band of brothers known only as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were pondering a problem brought upon them by one of their own. Someone facing a most daunting prospect.

"I'm being totally straight with you bro" Michelangelo said with a hint of apprehension, "it's THIS size" he continued, forming a small circle with the tips of his fingers.

"That's impossible" his brother Leonardo replied. "I could run a few tests on it" Donatello suggested, "Don't you DARE" Leonardo said, cutting him off.

"You're lucky she's interested in something that small. Most women I know can't go a month without large quantities" Raphael added with his usual brand of cynical wit. "If only she'd ASK me" Michelangelo continued, "I could take precautions…prep myself up for the intake"

"But you know the first place to look for….THOSE particular methods" Donatello added.

"I'm totally street dude" Michelangelo insisted, "You'd be surprised at what I know about those places"

"But if she INSISTS on the size, why would you want to disappoint her?" Leonardo probed

A door opened, and in walked the Turtles sensei, Master Splinter. "Is something the matter my students" Splinter asked, sensing the discord.

Raphael swiftly elbowed Michelangelo. "Why don't you stick it out short man?" he said

"What is the matter Michelangelo?" Splinter asked of his student. Michelangelo rocked back and forth apprehensively, before finally revealing all to his master.

"This" he said, producing a small slice of Pizza from his shell.

"Pizza?" Splinter asked in befuddlement.

"Michelangelo's a little down because his usual size of pizzas have been cut down by the local pizzeria" Donatello explained, "Something to do with "National Dieting Week". April wanted to try it as part of a story on how good it is to eat less"

"We usually have a dinner date with April once every week. We take turns" Leonardo added, "Mikey drew the short straw this time"

"In MORE ways than one" Raphael joked.

"I just don't think it's big enough for me and April to share" Michelangelo said, still awash with concern, "She might get a little funny about it"

"Worry not my student" Splinter advised, "In April's case, the size of your heart outweighs any morsel. I am sure she will understand that you had the best of intentions"

Michelangelo felt a little better about his situation, but just a little.

"Yeah…" he said, "But I'd rather go for the best appetite. This thing isn't going to last a night or fill a stomach"

"Speaking of April, we better check out her news bulletin" Donatello suggested. "She's covering the wedding of Michael Christ in the west of Texas"

"Whoa, wait a minute" Raphael said, cutting Donatello off, "Michael Christ…the son of that overbearingly rich cat THEO Christ?"

"Great, there's bound to be large chunks of free dinner at the reception" Michelangelo added, giving off a sigh of relief as he now believed his situation had been given a reprieve. "Hopefully she has a change of heart with me in mind and snags a few platefuls for herself"

"Switch the TV on Donatello" Leonardo ordered.

Donatello complied, and with the touch of a dial, the television situated in the centre of the room flared into life. After a few moments of channel hopping, Donatello found the one that served as the home of "Happy Hour News". Channel 6.

"There we go" Donatello said. The four brothers and Splinter huddled around the sofa as the familiar and charmingly alluring features of their reporter friend April O'Neil graced the television screen, standing inside a small, but bustling western town with a lively crowd behind her.

"This is April O'Neil. I'm here live from the town of Sweetsinker in the heart of West Texas where the union of Michael Christ and Lorraine Whitney is in its penultimate day of preparation. All that's required is the arrival of the preacher tomorrow afternoon…however; I'm told that's not all we're here to celebrate. I'm joined now by Michael's father, financial bigwig and property developer Theo Christ, who I understand has just signed an exclusive contract with an anonymous property developer to construct a new attraction for the area. Theo, take it away"

"Thank you Ms O'Neil" the pudgy Texas tycoon responded, his large cigarette pumping out a teeming mass of smoke, causing April to gag as she took it in.

"Yes, the rumours you lot out there in property county have proven to be gospel" he continued, "I can officially announce that this area of Texas is going to see sights unprecedented in the region. We are going to witness the construction of our first Aquari-ranch"

"An Aquari-ranch?" April inquired.

"The finest fish you have never seen" Theo teased. "Transported into a brand spanking new housing facility which will attract keen lovers of sea-life everywhere to an otherwise dry and previously unattractive landscape. There's plenty of opportunity to sleep with the fishes too, as there will be a specially accommodated premiere inn to go with the ranch"

"And where will this Aquri-ranch be located?" April asked.

"The site is currently top secret" Theo revealed "It will be disclosed to the public soon enough. I have top men stationed there"

"And can any of THEM tell me where my Pa is?" came a small voice from behind both April and Theo turned around to find a pint-sized young boy in blue overalls glaring coldly in Theo's direction. The assembled crowd began to stir with commotion.

"Now Toby, we've been this…" Theo arrogantly spoke.

"What's the matter kid?" April calmly asked, sensing the boy was visibly upset.

"My pa. He went missing over a week ago" the boy, Toby, explained, "He found out what they were doing down there. He found the site…but he never came back home"

He marched up to Theo and pointed at him

"What did you do with him?" Toby asked. Theo laughed off the accusation

"You'll have to excuse the young pup Ms. O'Neil" he said, "He's got quite the active imagination"

April's cameraman, Vernon, was running as low on patience as Toby was.

"April, tell this snot nosed brat to get out of shot, he's ruining the interview" he said. April, annoyed, put him in his place

"Quiet Vernon"

She knelled down and put both hands on Toby's shoulders. She could tell from the boy's features he was on the verge of letting all his pent up emotion come out.

"Keep calm kid, I'm sure someone out there watching can help you, just reach out to them" she said. Toby nodded. April smiled and gave him her microphone. Toby understood the gesture and made the most of his opportunity.

"Please" he began, "If anyone knows where my pa is or wants to help find him, inquire at McGruder ranch just west of this town. YOU GOTTA HELP ME FIND 'EM...inquire at the McGruder ranch just south of this town, just be sure to turn left when you reach it"

April patted the young boy on the head and took back her microphone.

"And with that impassioned plea, this is April O'Neil signing off for now. Join us tomorrow when we'll be covering Michael Christ's wedding, and hopefully by then the mystery of the Aquri-ranch, wherever it is, will be solved. See you then"

As April's interview wrapped, Leonardo turned off the television.

"You heard April guys. She figured we'd be listening in to that, we've got to help that kid" he said with eagerness. The remaining Turtles nodded in agreement.

"Awesome notion bud. I'm totally going to chow down on those cow pies" Michelangelo commented, rubbing his stomach.

"Turtles go Texan, and an Aquarium waiting for us. It's like the holiday brochures finally managed to squeeze us into their packages" Raphael mused

Leonardo headed towards the exit tunnel. "To the Turtle Blimp guys" he commanded.

"Great" Raphael said, "I was always wondering just where it is in this overbearingly small sewer you ever manage to PARK THAT THING"

Elsewhere, in a darkened room full of computerised noises, a faint hum of engines and a rumble could be heard.

The rumbling was matched with strained grunting, as a man, mid-forties, struggled to free himself from the ropes his body had been bound with.

"Gosh darn it" he said, "These ropes are too tight, I can't break free…"

His efforts were soon interrupted with the gurgling taunts coming from a high-pitched voice.

"Comfortable are we?" the voice crackled.

"I'll gnaw off this knot if I have to. You won't hold me for long, whatever you are" the man replied in defiance.

"I'd advise against it" the voice warned, "Not if you want your ranch to survive the coming storm"

"Go pester somebody else with your mellow metaphors. I'd call them "melodramatic" but you aren't a very theatrical character." the man quipped, content to insult his captor.

"Oh I mean it VERY literally" the ominous character replied, and walked into full view. The man gasped at the sight.

The figure marched past him towards a nearby control console and began playing with the various dials and buttons present on the panels. Before long, the monitor screen attached to the console flickered and flared into life.

Another figure, a man whose features were visibly hidden by a metal mask, appeared on the screen.

The figure set about giving the masked man a set of instructions.

"Shredder, this is Krang" spoke the gurgling voice. "Launch Wave 'Tranquil Repose' from The Technodrome IMMEDIATELY"

"I don't know about this Krang" Shredder replied, "Does it mean I get first dibs on the bull rides when it's done?"

Krang wasn't taken in by Shredder's brand of wit.

"Don't be coy with me you bucket-brain. We're on a slow enough schedule…we're almost like Turtles" Krang responded. The comparison was enough to motivate his partner. "Ugh. Ok…but only because you compared me to the 'T' word" Shredder responded.