Donatello blamed himself for what was going on now as Irma did her best to explain that evening's events to the tribunal. No matter how many times his fellow Turtles had assured him that Sagan was to blame, he couldn't help but feel the hidden hand that had pulled Irma's strings.
Maybe he should never have achieved that degree, maybe the world wasn't ready for 'Donna 'Tello', maybe Irma wouldn't have been in the position she was in to chip away at Sagan during his demonstration, to humiliate him to such an extent he would try to take out, or more accurately, indulge in, his frustrations, or maybe the whole thing would have happened anyway with another scientist having a big enough mouth to say the little things that set off a ticking time bomb.
All he knew was it shouldn't have been Irma. She deserved to enjoy her life, not have to make excuses for it.
Irma finished bringing everyone up to speed. The Tribunal conversed with each other briefly, and then spoke to her again.
"And that's all you can offer us Ms. Langenstien?" said the lead speaker,
"Definitely" Irma said.
"Nothing about how a woman of a painfully obvious average intelligence was allowed to converse with scientists of a higher calibre intellect in the first place?" he asked
"Hey, I'm pretty streetwise, like all those doctors in rap" Irma replied.
Everyone in the room groaned.
The speaker's temper grew, and he conveyed his frustrations to her as calmly as he reasonably could to maintain professional courtesy.
"Ms. Langenstien, if you were one of the average 'streetwise' people invited to this party, you would be easily dismissed along with every other person assembled there, but you were the last person to see Sagan when he was in perfect health, the last person to see what happened to those inhuman creatures, you were privileged enough, by fate or more likely damn rotten luck, to experience things that could give us a glimpse into the revolving door mind of the man Kim Sagan, no one can be as flippant and as casual about it as you have proven to be...that makes me think one other possibility, that you are putting on an act"
"And what basis do you have for assuming that?" a rather peeved Irma asked
"Bring it in" the speaker commanded, beckoning over to a security guard, who handed him a small, familiar looking micro dot
"This was found on Sagan when he was being transported to the hospital" the speaker said. Irma looked at Donatello, who buried his head in his hands as she realized he had went back on his word to use the psychic patches
"Researchers at A.P.E had it analyzed and found it to be some sort of neural patch. It actually contains most of Sagan's mindset on it" the speaker continued, "We haven't quite worked out how to access those brainwave patterns yet, but when we do, we'll probably have the answers that will likely verify everything you've said today"
"But why do you think I'm some sort of great pretender?" Irma asked
"Ms. Langenstien, a device of this calibre isn't something one just picks up at the dollar store. We are of two opinions of you, one half says you're a regular, harmless ditz, but the scientists we talked to who were at the party say you were a collected and articulate individual with a great depth of knowledge...granted it seemed to be all about ice cream, but that's beside the point" the speaker explained, "One way or the other, you come out looking like a liar, what we'd like to know is, who is the real Donna 'Tello? Why did you make up that alias? IS it your alias, or is 'Irma Langenstien' the lie?"
Donatello analyzed how desperate the situation seemed, he knew there might be at least one way out of this. He reached up to his mask, and contemplated taking it off, to reveal to the world that he was a Turtle and to explain he had developed the patches, that 'Donna 'Tello' was him, he was the truth and the lie.
Just before he could unveil himself however, Irma took to the microphone again
"I suppose it's really simple really" she said, twitching her fingers, "I've never been good at pinning down a lot of things, guys, jobs, career opportunities, I've either always stayed behind the desk or helped out in a news van, I was never the glamorous reporter, or the hot-headed editor, I was never someone...and one day, because of someone making a glaring error, the most wonderful person in the world told me I could be this incredibly gifted, highly intelligent person, that person wanted me to be an extension of genius. I let myself be myself that day, and you know what I did? I helped that person save the world, you know what with? A regular hairpin. A hairpin. The world didn't end because the regular girl with the average I.Q and the worst possible dress sense gave the person with all the gifts something to pin down a doomsday device with. I never felt so special, so we kept it up over the years, I would be the extension of that genius, and in being that, I got to share my own unique mindset with people too busy or too lofty in stature to contemplate that level of thinking"
"But who IS the real 'Donna Tello' Ms. Langenstien?" the speak continued
"Does it matter? The genius got the dirt on Sagan and warned me, I was saved, and no matter what difficult choices were made to raise the alarm, when those bells went off, the green machine roared into life, and those flies got zapped with the most electrifying repellent I've ever witnessed. Thanks to all of that we have one less ecstatic eccentric running around in his boxers telling everyone there's a party with a hefty price tag" Irma concluded.
Donatello smiled as he realized Irma had forgiven him, a small tear rolled down his cheek.
The tribunal gathered again and talked amongst themselves, they turned back around
"Ms. Langenstien...are you still in touch with this person?" the speaker asked
"Always" Irma said
"Tell that person they have our gratitude, and if 'Donna' wishes to stick to the shadows in future, we would like you to represent the light" he added, "A.P.E could do with some of 'Tello's input"
Irma gave him a salute, "You'll be hearing from us" she said
"Very well, this hearing is dismissed" the speaker said.
Irma and Donatello walked out hand in hand from the building. The reporters, having all watched the inquiry on the live stream, were full of query, none more apparent than Vernon.
"How did you do it?" Vernon asked, "You're one step away from total humiliation, how'd you bounce back?"
Irma gave him a wicked grin, "Track down Donna and get connected" she said.
Donatello and Irma jumped back into their car, the reporters still swarming over it taking snapshots and yelling questions through the car's open windows which Donatello soon sealed shut as the vehicle drove off.
The day's events had ended just the way they had began, with Donatello and Irma the centre of attention, the talk of the town, only this time, the mood had changed.
"Feeling better?" Irma asked
"Relieved" Donatello said, "I thought our goose was cooked when the patches were brought up, I even thought..."
Irma took her glasses off and stared at Donatello with loving eyes, "I thought you didn't need a patch to tell what I'm thinking Donny, we need to work on your trust issues a bit more, especially now that we're going to be more of a team than ever"
"Maybe we should wait until tomorrow...it is after all, another day" Donatello said
"Fat chance mister, we're talking this over a nice cold ice cream" Irma replied and exchanged a series of warm kisses with her boyfriend as the car sped down the New York city streets.