Runaway Reptile

story by Jephael



AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story takes place five years after the events of
The Summer I was Young Again.

      It was a chilly spring afternoon in Harleysville as Jeffrey helped Donatello set up the inter-dimensional communicator on the back porch. "April, can you hear me?"
    "Loud and clear, Donnie!" the former reporter's voice boomed over the speakers. The view screen flashed as an image of April and the Neutrinos appeared flying through Dimension X in a blue star cruiser. "We're just about ready to open the portal."
  "It sure was nice of you cats to invite us back to Earth for a visit!" Dask said.
    "Oh, it's our pleasure! Besides, I think Michaelangelo sort of misses Kala. I saw him moping over a picture of her last week in study hall." Jeff replied.
  "Aw, that's so sweet!" Kala gushed. "Soon as we arrive, I'm giving him a great big smooch on the beak!"
  "Okay, but just remember he doesn't know you're coming. I want it to be a surprise for him!"
  "Hey guys, the wind levels are starting to die down. Now would be a good time to open the portal." Donatello said.
  "Sounds groovy to me!" Zak said as he flipped a switch on the dashboard. "Pennsylvania, here we come!"
        That moment the monitor on the inter-dimensional communicator went blank as a portal opened in the sky, from which the star cruiser emerged and descended to the backyard. April was the first to get out as she gave Donatello a hug while Jeff shook hands with the Neutrinos. Splinter and Leonardo soon came out to greet the visitors as well.
  "It's so great to see you guys again!" April said happily. "Hey, where's Raphael?"
  "Oh, he and Mona Lisa are in Virginia with Jeff's parents who went to visit relatives." Leo exclaimed. "They made plans for the trip like two months ago."
  "Aw, that's a shame. I was really hoping I'd get to see them!"
    "You can say hi to them over the turtle comm. They said they'd call us tonight." Jeff mentioned as he lead the guests into the house to get warm. "Michaelangelo should be back home soon. He went for a walk with my second cousin Wendy and her dog Tuffy."
  Leonardo grinned as he went into the living room with April and they sat down on the couch. "So, how've you been liking Dimension X?"
  "Oh, it's been a blast living in the Neutrinos' city! It's a lot like New York, but just a little more futuristic. It's taken Vernon a little while longer though to adjust."
  "Yea, he can be a bit of a square, as you Neutrinos would put it." Jeff mentioned as he turned on the television.
    "You got that right, Daddio. Though I gotta admit, he sure knows his way around camera equipment." Zak mentioned. "He filmed my brother's birthday party just last month!"
  Just then there was a knock at the door. Jeff opened it, expecting to see Wendy and Michaelangelo, but was shocked at the sight of Bebop and Rocksteady!
  "Hey, Jeff. We were just taking our new motorcycles out for a spin and we thought we'd stop by. Is this a bad time? Because you know we can always come back later." the wart hog said.
  "Oh no, it's all right. We got company from Dimension X. You remember April and the Neutrinos." the young man exclaimed as he welcomed them inside.
  "Well, look who it is. Shredder and Krang's old goon squad! Did you hear about your old boss getting put away for the next three millennia?" Dask said.
    "We try our best not to discuss those matters too much. It brings up a lot of guilt." Rocksteady replied. "Even with our new jobs, it still feels like society sees us as no good punks."
  "Aw, don't be such a drama queen!" Bebop muttered to his friend.
    Leonardo chuckled at the remark when he suddenly felt a strange sharp pain in the back of his head. "Uh, excuse me a moment, everyone." the turtle said as he got up from the couch and went into the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. Master Splinter followed him.
  "Are you feeling all right, my son?"
  "It's nothing, sensei. Just another dizzy spell."
  "You've been getting these strange feelings a lot these last few weeks, and I have been sensing something is amiss."
  Leonardo sat back in a chair and sighed. "Well, I have been hearing these weird voices in my sleep."
  "It almost sounds as if someone is trying to contact you on a psychic level, but they are having trouble making the connection."
  "Leonardo, are you okay?" Donatello asked as he poked his nose into the kitchen.
  "I'm fine, Donnie. I just... oh geez!" Leo clamped his head hard and slumped over the table.
  "Is everything all right in here?" April asked.
  "Not exactly." Don answered as he helped his brother to his feet and lead him to the basement. April followed her friends downstairs.
  "What's going on?" Kala asked.
    "Something seems to have come over Leonardo, and Donatello is proceeding to examine him." the wise rat explained. "Jeffrey, why don't you take our guests outside for a bit?"
  "Might as well. I bet Wendy and Michaelangelo are finished their walk." Jeff figured.
  "Come on, hip cats! Lets take the star cruiser!"
  "Oh goody! I haven't ridden in any flying mobiles in a while!" Rocksteady said with glee.
  "Please tell me you've bathed recently though!"
      A few minutes later, the Neutrinos' hot rod flew down the street and landed at cousin Wendy's house. Jeff walked up to the front door and knocked a couple times. "Hello, anybody home?" he yelled just as the door opened and he was greeted by Tuffy the golden retriever.
  "Hey Jeff, we were just about to watch Homeward Bound." Wendy said.
    "I told you I only needed you to keep Mikey busy for half an hour. Besides, if I know Michaelangelo, he's gonna start blubbering the moment they start playing that sappy theme music! Could you just tell him to come out to the driveway for a minute?"
    "Sure." Wendy nodded as she went back inside the house while Tuffy followed Jeff outside. Rocksteady and Bebop were overjoyed at the sight of the dog.
  "Aw, hey girl! Remember us? We played Frisbee with you last Labor Day!" the rhino said affectionately as he petted the animal.
  "You know, I bet she'd make a great mutant!" Bebop suggested.
  "I don't think Wendy and her family would really like the idea. Besides, mutagen doesn't exist here in the real world." Jeff remarked.
  "What's the haps, Jeff? Wendy said you wanted to see me." Michaelangelo said as he walked outside and stopped short in his tracks at the sight of the Neutrinos.
  "Surprise!" Kala yelled excitedly as she hugged Mikey.
  "Kala? Oh man, it's great to see you!" the turtle said happily. "Like, what're you dudes doing here on Earth?"
  "Donatello and Jeff invited us to come visit!" Dask replied. "April came along too."
  "She did? Aw, that's cool! Where is she?"
  "She stayed behind at the house with Master Splinter and Donatello who are looking after Leo. They think something's wrong with him."
    Just then Wendy and her sister Dawn came outside to check on the visitors. "Hey, what're you guys all doing out here? We're about to start the movie. The popcorn's getting cold!"
  "I'm sorry, dudettes. In all the excitement I forgot all about the flick!" Mikey mentioned. "Kala, would you like to watch a movie with me?"
  "I'd love to, Michaelangelo!" she said as he escorted her into the house.
    Dask, Zak and the mutants followed Jeff into the kitchen where they were greeted by Dawn and Wendy's dad Jerry who was watching the news. "Hey, Jeff. Who are your friends?"
  "These are the Neutrinos from Dimension X, and you've already met Bebop and Rocksteady at that picnic we had."
  "Oh right. How's life treating you boys?"
  "Not bad, sir. We both got a raise at the super market."
  "That's good to hear."
    At that moment Rocksteady caught sight of a news anchor reporting live at Veterans Stadium. "Hey, I was just watching the Eagles the other night. They were doing really well!"
  "Oh yea, I watched that game too." Jerry replied as he turned up the volume.
      "Just last night the stadium was ransacked by a strange creature who witnesses say looked like a large turtle. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have yet to comment on the incident, but sources say the culprit could be an old enemy of the Turtles' from their world who was reportedly sighted hopping onto the cargo bay of a train in North Wales months earlier."
  "Uh oh, that sounds like the work of Slash!" Jeff realized.
  "How'd he find his way to Philly though?" Bebop asked.
  "It doesn't matter, dudes. We gotta go and catch him!" Michaelangelo replied.
  "Wait a minute! The moment he sees us, he's just going to go berserk and start another rampage like the last time we tangled with him!" Jeff said.
  "You know what else? Bebop and I are the ones responsible for Slash being mutated, so we should be the ones to stop him!" Rocksteady said in a stern tone.
  "But you can't just go to Philadelphia and try to track him down by yourselves!" Jeff mentioned.
  "We could help track him!" Zak chimed.
      "Yea, with the tracking equipment in our star cruiser!" Dask added. "Kala, why don't you stay behind with Mikey and watch that movie Jeff's cousins are going to play? The rest of us should be more than enough to take down Slash! Besides, it's a pain in the ass trying to fit more than five people in that hot rod!"
  "Good luck, bro!" Michaelangelo said as he high-fived Jeff.
    Back at the Oughtons' house, Leonardo laid down in his bed while Donatello hooked him up to a scanning device. "Just lie perfectly still. I'm almost done with the brain scan."
  April held Leo's hand tightly as she consoled him. "It'll be all right. Just concentrate on my voice."
  "Thank you, April. I really appreciate- AUGH!!!"
    "Whoa, that's incredible!" Don said. "I'm picking up tons of trans-dimensional particles from Leonardo's brainwaves. According to the readout the particles are the left over essences of someone from our world."
  "But how did they wind up inside his head?" April asked.
  "It must have happened around the time he went to retrieve you and Vernon with the Turtle Blimp. I have no clue how to extract these particles!"
  "Perhaps it is possible to enter Leonardo's mind and interact with whatever being dwells within." Splinter suggested.
  "How would we do that?" April asked.
    "I have entered the Turtles' minds through meditation before. It should be no problem to do so now. But if whoever is inside Leonardo's mind means to harm him, I will need help fighting this person."
  April placed her hand over Splinter's. "I'll go along."
      Meanwhile, several miles away Jeff, Rocksteady, Bebop and the boy Neutrinos flew towards the city of Philadelphia on their hunt for Slash. "Man, this place is huge! I have no idea how we're going to find that looney turtle!" Zak exclaimed.
  "It might not be as tough as you think. He has a thing for palm trees, so all we have to do is look around in the parks." Bebop suggested.
  "Now why didn't I think of that?" Jeff replied as he punched in the coordinates of all the parks in the city. "Okay, this might take awhile."
      Back at the Oughtons' house, Splinter and April sat side by side over Leonardo as they prepared to enter his mind via astral meditation. Donatello continued to monitor his brother's brainwave activity. "Okay, I'm definitely picking up some energy spikes in Leo's frontal lobe!"
  "Good, than that is where we must go." Splinter responded. "Breath calmly, April." he said as he began to hum softly.
    April shut her eyes tightly as she felt a tingly sensation. She could feel her soul leave her body as it entered Leonardo. "Whoa, that was incredible!" she said as she opened her eyes and viewed her surroundings. "It looks like your old lair back in the sewers."
  "It is indeed. This was where Leonardo spent many hours of his young life training in the art of ninjitsu. Of course we aren't really back in our old world. It is merely his memory of home manifested into an astral environment within his mind which we have entered."
  "If you say so, Splinter."
  Just then they heard Leo cry in pain, as well as a voice scream out. "No. Please, stop this senseless torment!"
  "Why does that voice sound familiar to me?" Splinter asked.
      "It came from that tunnel leading into the living room!" April exclaimed as they ran through the doorway. However, they now found themselves in the lobby of the Channel 6 building. "Okay, this is really odd. How did we end up here?"
      "In his current state Leonardo's mental projections must be unstable, which would explain the sudden change in environment." Splinter explained as he closed his eyes for a moment. "I sense the culprit is very near. This way!" he spoke as he lead the former news reporter towards the elevator doors. As they walked through, they now found themselves in a junkyard.
  "Ew. Why would Leonardo think about this place?"
      "This is one of the many places we fought Shredder." the rodent said as a ghostly vision of the Turtles battling their arch nemesis played out. "I believe I remember this confrontation." he said as he noticed the transparent form of Shredder holding up a potted plant. "Of course! This was the time Shredder had poisoned you with a Far Eastern Doku plant, and that Gazai was our only way of saving your life!"
  "Oh right. I remember Donatello telling me this was the same time Baxter Stockman was transformed into a fly."
      Just then the image began to distort as the junkyard itself vanished. The sky around them remained as flashes of Leonardo's life appeared in the sky. One certain memory seemed to stand out as it flashed more brightly. A horrified look came over April as she noticed the tall blue skinned woman in one of the visions laughed.
  "Do you recognize that person, April?"
  "I'm afraid so, Splinter. That's... that's..."
    "Tempestra, to you!" a voice boomed as the inter-dimensional sorceress herself appeared infront of them. Behind her was a young dark haired woman who Splinter immediately recalled.
  "Lotus Blossom! Is that really you?"
  "Splinter, please help me!" the female ninja said weakly.
  "Shut up, you feeble little child!"
  "How in the world did the two of you end up here?" April asked.
    "I have no idea how this evil witch got here, but ever since she did, I've struggled to keep Leonardo safe from her vicious attacks. Unfortunately, she managed to overpower me."
      "Indeed I have! For months I attempted to destroy Leonardo from the inside. But now with the two of you here, I can return to the real world and do some serious damage!" she said as she threw Lotus to the ground and grabbed Splinter. The rodent struggled but he soon found himself in a trance as he and Tempestra vanished.
  "Oh no, that can't be good." April exclaimed as she helped Lotus up to her feet before she felt a strange jolt of energy.
  Back in the basement, Leonardo awoke with a gasp. "Oh man!"
  Donatello turned around from his chair at the computer. "Leo, are you all right?"
    "I-I think so. Oh man, what a crazy vision!" he replied to his brother as he noticed Master Splinter and April. "How long have they been like that?"
  "The last five minutes or so." Don answered.
    Suddenly, the two turtles noticed their sensei began to glow bright purple. His eyes popped open. "Ah, Leonardo! It's simply been too long!" he said in Tempestra's voice.
  "Oh no you don't, witch!" April said in Lotus Blossom's voice as she tackled Tempestra.
  Donatello looked at Leonardo and said loudly "What the heck happened in there?!"
    "Tempestra must've escaped from my mind and entered Splinter's body while Lotus Blossom entered April's." Leonardo figured. He could tell he was feeling much better, but now he and his brother had their mentor and best friend to worry about. "How do we get them back to normal?"
  "I don't know, but we'd better tie up Spl- um, I mean Tempestra." Don suggested as he helped Lotus hold down the crazed witch in Splinter's body.
  "We could sure use Jeff and Michaelangelo right about now." Leo exclaimed.
    That moment in Philadelphia, Jeff and the others were closing in on their search for Slash.
  "Dig it, hip cats! The tracker is picking up some heavy readings of reptilian DNA in the vicinity." Dask exclaimed.
  "All right, lets go check it out!" Jeff replied.
    The tracking unit soon lead them to the parking lot at a Wawa where people were fleeing in terror. "You guys go ahead inside. I'm going to prepare our secret weapon." Dask spoke.
    Bebop was the first to enter the store, followed shortly by Rocksteady, Jeff and Zak. The mutants cautiously scanned the area while Jeffrey went over to the check-out counter to calm the frightened cashiers. "Are you folks all right?"
  "We-we're fine. But that crazy turtle creature scared away all of our customers!"
  Bebop found his former pet looking over a stack of frozen pizza boxes. "Hey, Slash. Remember me? It's your Pop."
  Slash grunted and took a deep breath. "I remember. You lost my binky! I loved that binky! It was my favorite thing in the whole world, and you LOST IT!!!" the turtle screamed as he lunged at the wart hog.
  "Ow! Hey, get off me!"
  Rocksteady ran to his friend's aide, but he was of little help as Slash punched him hard in the chest, knocking the wind out of him.
    Zak looked over a case of soda and immediately got an idea. He opened the door, took out a can of Pepsi and ran towards Slash as he shook up the soda! "Hey man, chill out!" the red haired Neutrino shouted as he popped open the can and sprayed soda all over Slash.
  "Oh, you're asking for it now!" Slash said as he reached out to grab Zak by the neck just as Jephael mutated into turtle form and tackled the wild turtle!
  Dask ran in, holding what looked like a small hand remote control. "Hey guys, sorry it took me so long. I was having a hard time opening the glove compartment that I left this in."
  "Duh, what is that thing?" Bebop asked.
    "Check it out!" the blue haired Neutrino said as he carefully aimed the device at Slash. Jephael jumped out of the way just as a bright yellow beam engulfed Slash who was quickly reduced to the size of an action figure.
  "Hey, you shrank him!" Rocksteady spoke.
  "Wait a minute. Is that the same shrink ray Shredder used on that Buffy girl back in the cartoon?" Jeff said as he reverted back to human form.
  "Yea, it was. Donatello gave it to me a few years ago. It sure came in handy last month when General Traag tried to free Krang."
  "You mean, Traag's now pint-sized?" Jeff said with a chuckle.
  "He was for a little while." Zak joked.
  Bebop picked up Slash and petted his head. "Aw, ain't he cute?"
  "Put me down, dammit!" the mini mutant screamed in a high pitched voice.
  "Come on, hip cats. Lets get out of here!" Dask said.
    Jeph nodded and was about to leave when he noticed the can of soda Zak had used. He ran over to the counter and talked to the cashiers. "I'm really sorry for the mess. I want to make it up to you by paying for this."
  "Honestly, sir, it's no big deal." the teenaged girl said calmly.
  "Yea, you guys really did a good job."
  "Hey, it was our pleasure to soive and protect!" Rocksteady said cluthing his stomach, as he was still aching from the punch he got earlier.
  "Come on, Rhinoman! Lets get back to the star cruiser!"
    Just as Dask revved up the star cruiser, the trans-dimensional communicator began to ring. "Check it out, hip cats. We're getting a call from Jeff's house."
    "It must be Splinter letting us know how Leonardo's doing." Jeff replied as he changed back to human form while getting into the passenger seat. He pushed the button to answer. "Oh hey, it's the patient himself! How're you feeling?"
  "Loads better, thanks! But right now we've got another problem! Apparently, I was host to the spirits of Lotus Blossom and Tempestra."
    "It's not their spirits. It's their molecules broken down into temporal particles." Donatello corrected his brother. "Only now that they've separated and leapt into April and Splinter, they each now have full control over their hosts' bodies!"
  "Do you have any idea how to extract them?" Jeff asked.
    "I'm working on one now, but it's going to be pretty dangerous if Tempestra is let loose." Don answered. "I'm really going to need your help, Jeff."
  "We'll get there as soon as we can, Daddio!" Zak said.
  "Actually, I was thinking we might need some place bigger than the house to do this in."
    Ten minutes later, Michaelangelo and Kala returned to the Oughtons' house. Both of them were in tears from watching Homeward Bound. "Aw man, I can never get over how heart-breaking that movie is." the turtle said as he blew his nose with a tissue.
  "I dig it, Michaelangelo. Those little critters were just so darn cute! Oh hey, look. There's Leonardo with April."
  Mikey was just as excited to see his old friend as he had been to see Kala. "April, is it ever great to see you! Like, how've you been?"
  "Greeting, uh... Michaelangelo is it?" the woman dressed in yellow asked.
  "Uh, yea!" the turtle answered sarcastically, having barely noticed his friend was talking in a Japanese accent.
  "Are you cats heading somewhere?" Kala asked.
  "Actually, we're going to meet up with Jeff and the others in Philadelphia." Leo replied.
  "Like how come? It's not like they need our help catching that dopey turtle Slash!"
    "They already did catch Slash, Michaelangelo. They're helping us with a different problem!" the fearless leader exclaimed as he pointed to Donatello who came out the door with their sensei bound and gagged.
  Michaelangelo was in utter shock at the sight. "Why the heck is Master Splinter tied up?"
  "Because he's been possessed by the evil witch Tempestra!" Lotus answered. "By the way, I am surprised you have yet to notice that I am not your friend Miss O' Neil."
  "Whoa! Now that is trippy! How'd all this happen anyway?"
  "We'll explain on the way." Don answered as he and Leonardo loaded up Splinter/Tempestra into the van.
    Jeff and the others had made their way to Veterans Stadium, which was practically deserted, except for a few guards. "Good thing they don't have a game today. I don't think the spectators would be able to handle whatever Donatello's got planned!"
  "Uh yea. I'm starting to wish we hadn't come here either." Bebop said just as Slash poked him in the finger. "Ouch! Don't do that!"
  "I want my BINKY!"
  "Isn't there some way to keep that nutty toitle quiet?" Rocksteady asked.
  "He isn't going to be happy until we get him a palm tree. I sure wish I had bought one the last time we were in Florida."
    "Well, we don't have time to take a trip down there now. We have to wait for the guys to arrive, which shouldn't be more than another fifteen minutes." Jeff exclaimed as he checked his watch. "Dask, try landing in the dugout of the baseball field."
  "No problemo, Mac!"
  "Mac?" Zak retorted.
    Just then a heavyset gentleman wearing a Phillies sweater came running up to them. "Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing?! You can't land that thing in here!"
  "Sorry, sir. I know we shouldn't be here but this is sort of an emergency."
  "Like yea. Don't you know who any of us are?" Dask said.
    "You look like a bunch of circus freaks to me!" the man replied as he turned his attention towards Bebop and Rocksteady. "Hold on a second. Aren't you those mutants who used to work for that Shredder nut?"
  "Uh yea, that's us! But we don't work for him no more now that he's locked up." Bebop mentioned. "Besides, we just came here to find my pet Slash. See?" The wart hog raised up the shrunken mutant in his hand.
  "Oh yea, I saw that thing a few days ago lurking around here. He was a hell of a lot bigger though!"
  "Listen, the Ninja Turtles are on their way here and they need the stadium to themselves for atleast an hour. Is there any way you can allow us that?" Jeff asked.
    "I'll have to clear it with the managers. Wait here a moment." the portly man said as he walked off. Moments later he came back and handed Jeff a walkie talkie. "Consider yourselves lucky. Mayor Ed Rendell himself is in the place and he wanted to greet the Turtles personally when they get here!"
  "Oh, that's awesome!"
    "Yea, he's a big sports fan so he loves coming down here to see how the teams are doing." the chubby guard added. "Anyway, that walkie talkie will let you keep in contact with the people in the control tower up there incase you need any help. If there's nothing else you boys need, I'll be on my way. My shift is almost over. Good day!" he said as he tipped his hat at them.
    That very moment, the Turtle Van entered the field through a gate that was reserved for go carts and other vehicles. Michaelangelo and Kala were the first to get out and greet Jeff and the boy Neutrinos. "You guys missed a great flick!" Kala said to Dask and Zak.
  "Yea well, you missed seeing us fight Slash at a convenience store! I took a soda can and sprayed the gnarly turtle with it!"
    Leonardo lead Lotus Blossom out to center field where Rocksteady and Bebop were standing. "So, I hear you two decided to renounce your service to Oroku Saki and that vial brain after their defeat." the female ninja spoke through April's lips.
  "Actually, it was a little before their defeat." the rhino mentioned. "Besides, I thought you were over all them times we kidnapped you."
  "Uh guys, didn't you hear our conversation with Jeff earlier?"
  "We were kind of preoccupied." Bebop answered as he got bitten by Slash. "Okay, you know what? If you don't stop kicking and screaming, then you're not getting no palm tree! Got it?!"
  "I'll... I'll be good." Slash said in a defeated tone.
  Donatello was preparing his equipment, including the portable dimensional portal generator when he felt a pat on the shoulder. "Not now, Michaelangelo!"
  "Uh dude, that wasn't me. The mayor wants to shake hands with you."
  Don dropped his tools and turned around to see Ed Rendell smiling at him. "Mister Mayor! I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was you!"
    "It's all right, my friend. I heard you four were here last fall and regrettably I was away at the time so I never got the chance to thank you for all you've done to protect our nation from that hands of those villians!"
  "Oh, it's our pleasure!" Leonardo boasted. "Sadly, Raphael isn't here or he'd be greeting you as well."
  "I thought it looked like you were short one turtle. Though where's the boy who has the ability to turn into one of you?"
    "That'd be me, sir." Jeffrey said as he walked up and shook hands with the mayor. "You'll have to excuse me and Don while we set up our equipment. I'd explain what we're up to, but quite frankly I don't really know myself."
    "We're basically doing an inter-dimensional exorcism. As soon as the sun starts to go down we can try it on our friend April. If my calculations are correct, my portal generator should extract Lotus Blossom and regenerate her molecules, thus restoring her own body. Of course, if I've miscalculated..."
  Michaelangelo let out a gulp as Kala held his hand. "Dude, don't say that!"
    Donatello let out a slight chuckle. "Nothing's going to happen to April, Mikey! I was about to say that there's a chance the dimensional portal generator could get damaged and the Neutrinos would have to find another way back to Dimension X. That is unless they can wait about a month for me to repair it!"
  "That wouldn't be so bad. Infact, I was thinking of visiting a while longer." Kala said sweetly as she rested her head on Michaelangelo's shoulder, which prompted Zak to chuckle.
  "Come on, you lovebirds! Lets get out of the genius' way!" Dask said as he lead his fellow Neutrinos and Mayor Rendell back over to the star cruiser.
  "Hey, I was just wondering something." Jeff said as he hooked up a cable from the van to the portal generator. "Do you think April and Splinter can see and hear what's going on around them?"
  "I've sensed some of April's thoughts, but only a very faint sign of consciousness. She may be in a sleep like state." Lotus spoke. "I cannot say though whether or not it is the same for Splinter."
  "We'll just have to ask them once they're back to normal." Leonardo admitted. "Are you almost ready, Don?"
  "Just give me about five more minutes."
    Everyone waited anxiously for Donatello to finish preparing the machine as the sun set on the city. Rocksteady and Bebop decided to watch over Splinter's body, which had become still and quiet, almost as if Tempestra was now in a trance.
  "Boy, I sure hope they finish this up soon so we can get back home!" the rhino exclaimed impatiently.
  "What're you in such a hurry for? There's nothing special on TV tonight."
  "I know, Bebop. But I'm really starting to get creeped out! Look at Splinter. He's just lying there motionless, almost like a d-d-dead person!"
    "Oh, don't act like such a wimp, Rocksteady!" Bebop remarked as he knelt down and felt Splinter's pulse, loosening the ropes in the process. "See? He's still alive."
    Suddenly, Splinter's hand broke loose and grabbed Bebop by the neck as Tempestra opened her host's furry glowing eyes. Rocksteady screamed with fright as Michaelangelo and Leonardo ran over.
  "Boy, even when these dudes are on our side they manage to screw things up!"
  Leo ignored his brother's remark as he forced Tempestra to loosen her grip on Bebop's throat. "Are you okay, Bebop?"
  "Uh, yea. I'm fine. Rocksteady here was just-"
  "It doesn't matter. Donatello should be ready soon." the fearless leader spoke as he retied Splinter's arms together. "Just make sure she doesn't try to break free again!"
  "Sure thing, Leonardo." Bebop responded with a nod. "Boy, that felt sorta weird taking an order from him."
  "Yea, but atleast he didn't call us morons or idiotic buffoons or anything mean like that." Rocksteady admitted.
    In the center of the baseball field, Donatello beckoned Lotus Blossom to stand just a few feet in front of the dimensional portal generator. "Okay, I'm going to open a portal to our cartoon world, or rather what's left of it."
  "You mean like the rift Renet pulled Mona Lisa out of?" Jeff asked as he looked over the wiring.
  "Pretty much. But uh, she warned me that if I ever decided to take a look, it wouldn't be a pretty sight. Here it goes!"
        Michaelangelo wrapped his arm around Kala as they watched alongside Dask and Zak. Their faces were glued to the image of April being zapped by the temporal beam. Sparks shot from her fingers as her hair began to stand on end and a whirling vortex began to glow just behind her. Images of forgotten friends and foes filled the glowing hole in the sky.
    "Oh my gosh, there's Irma!" Michaelangelo said in a shaky voice as he pointed to the motionless phantom that represented April's assistant. Alongside her was the hauntingly pale form of Burne Thompson. They soon faded away and were replaced by the images of Rasputin and Attila, the lost Punk Frogs, accompanied by Leatherhead. Mikey chuckled at the sight of the now non-existent alligator as they vanished from sight, only to be replaced by yet another long forgotten hero.
  "Bugman." Michaelangelo began to weep. "Poor dude."
  Jeff patted his friend on the back. "Calm down, pal! I know, it's hard to see. Oh look, there's Mr. Thompson's skanky girlfriend Tiffany!"
    "I'm starting to feel like one of the survivors from the Titanic." Leonardo mentioned in an unnerved tone as he noticed several random faces he recognized, like Zach the Fifth Turtle with his brother Walt. Even Billy Jim Bob from the UFO incident in High Falls made an appearance.
  "Look, something's happening to April!" Kala pointed back down to the field.
      "What? Where... where am I? Ahh!!!" April wailed in agony as the rays pulsated through her body. Suddenly, the dimensional portal generator shuddered with a loud frightening bang just as the glowing figure of Lotus Blossom pulled herself from April's body. Both women gave a faint gasp of breath. Donatello closed the portal, which had just revealed an image of Casey Jones before dissolving back into nothingness.
  April was quickly greeted by Michaelangelo, who was still in tears from seeing all the people in his life who now ceased to exist. "Mikey, are... are you all right?"
  "Uh yea, I'm fine. I just thought for a second we were going to loose you!" he said between sniffles.
  April chuckled and hugged her warm-hearted friend.
  Leonardo meanwhile was staring in amazement at his long lost friend. "Lotus, you... you look great!"
    "Thank you, Leonardo. It feels good to be myself again." she said, shaking his hand.
  "Hey guys, I hate to break up the tender reunion, but what about Master Splinter?" Jeff said. "Don't we still have to get him back to normal?"
  "Mellow out, Daddio! We've got plenty of time!"
    "Zak's right, Jeffrey. Besides, we'd better give the portal generator time to cool off before I open another rift." Donatello mentioned. "For a second there I thought it was going to explode!"
  "How much energy did that thing use up anyway?" Mayor Rendell asked.
    "About twice the amount of juice it takes to run Times Square in New York for an entire night. Of course, that wasn't an ordinary portal. It was a wormhole set at a specific frequency so as to reverse the temporal destabilization of Lotus Blossom's molecules."
  "Don't try to rack your brains over that one, Ed." Jeff remarked. "Even we don't quite get it."
  Just then Leo's Turtle Comm went off. "Leonardo here!"
  "I knew you were going to say that."
  "Hey, Raphael! I wasn't expecting you to call this soon."
  "I know, but Jeff's mom wanted to check in before dinner to make sure the house hasn't burned down."
  "Tell her she can rest easy. The house is still in one piece!" Jeff replied smugly. "Oh, how are you and Mona Lisa enjoying the Homestead?"
  "It's really nice! We had breakfast there yesterday with your dad's cousins. Their southern courtesy is a bit over the top, but we've enjoyed it! So did you guys bring April and the Neutrinos to Earth?"
  "Oh yea, they've been here since 2:00 this afternoon. You wouldn't believe the crazy stuff that happened today!" Jeff added.
  "I'd love to hear about it, but it looks like we're getting ready to leave. I'll call you guys back in a few hours!" Raphael said as he waved goodbye to Jeff and Leonardo.
  "Hey Toitles, you'd better come quick!" Rocksteady voice suddenly bellowed.
    Everyone looked over to the spot on the baseball field where Splinter was laying moments earlier, only now the rodent was up on his feet. Tempestra made Splinter scowl angrily as she ripped away the ropes binding the rat's hands.
  "I was afraid of this. Tempestra must've regained some of her energy from that vortex we just opened!" Donatello figured.
  "What do you mean we, dude? You're the one who hit the switch!" Michaelangelo remarked.
  "It does not matter who did what!" Lotus Blossom shouted as she ran towards Tempestra who sent Rocksteady knocking over her.
    "Damn! Where are the Ghostbusters when you need them?" Jeff cracked as he swung around his nunchucks, only they did no good as Tempestra was able to subdue him simply by waving Splinter's arm.
  "This has been amusing and all, but I really must be going."
  "Hold it, Tempestra!" Leonardo shouted as he drew out his swords. "I'm the one you want! Please, leave my master's body and take me instead."
  "I'd rather keep this furry little model. He suits me far better than you did! Farewell!" she sneered as she took off into the air.
  "Oh great! Now how we do we stop her?" Michaelangelo griped.
    "Not to fret, my rad reptiles! We can catch up to her with the star cruiser!" Dask said in delight as he revved up the motor. Leonardo hopped into the passenger seat while Zak, Mikey and Kala hopped into the back.
  "So what do we do now?" Bebop asked as he helped Lotus Blossom back to her feet.
  "You got me, man! I'm still trying to figure out how that bitch managed to find her way into Leo's head." Jeff muttered as he rubbed his sore neck.
      "She was not very powerful when I met her." Lotus exclaimed. "Of course, we were already inside Leonardo's mind at the time. I remember it happening right outside the Channel 6 building. I saw him walking up the street and I tried to get his attention, but for some reason he did not hear me, so I ran towards him. The next thing I knew, everything went white and I found myself facing Tempestra. At first I thought she was a friend of the Turtles', but then I quickly learned the truth."
    "That's an interesting story, but it doesn't explain how she got out of that circuit board." Donatello replied when a thought entered his brain. "Of course! Why didn't I think about that earlier?"
  "Think about what?" April asked.
  "There's no time to explain. You and Lotus Blossom help Jeff pack up the dimensional portal generator. We've got to get back on the road fast!"
    About five minutes later, the Neutrinos, along with Leonardo and Michaelangelo, were still in hot pursuit of Tempestra who didn't seem too fast in the air.
  "It's a good thing she's not at full power, otherwise I doubt we'd be able to keep up with her." Leo said.
  "Aw, come on. Give us some credit! This car can get all the way up to 5,000 miles an hour!" Zak explained.
  "Uh oh, dudes, something tells me I know where she's heading. Scope it out!" Mikey pointed down towards the buildings on the ground, including a large electrical facility.
  "Oh great! I was afraid this might happen!" Leonardo spoke as he took out his turtle comm. "Donatello, are you there?"
  "Hey, Leo. It's me, Jeffrey. Don's working on a device that should take care of Tempestra, so I decided to drive the Turtle Van. We're just getting out of the stadium now."
  "How fast do you think you can reach the PECO electric plant?"
  "In this traffic? I'd say about 10 minutes, give or take."
  "Well, hurry as quick as you can!" Leo shouted when from out of nowhere a beam of light shot at the star cruiser.
  Dask jerked the wheel, narrowly avoiding Tempestra's blasts. "She doesn't look very happy to see us!"
  "You'd better land us quick, Dask!" Kala ordered.
    The star cruiser landed just near the river where Tempestra confronted them. "You pathetic creatures don't know when to quit, do you? Sadly I don't have time for the likes of you feeble twits!"
  "That's too bad, because we've got all the time in the world to kick your sorry ass!" Michaelangelo said.
  Tempestra scoffed at the turtle's remark as she waved Splinter's arms in front of the front door to the building, which promptly fell off its hinges.
  Infuriated, Mikey whipped out his nunchucks and ran into the building, followed quickly by Leo.
  "Kala, you and Zak stay behind and wait for Donatello to get here. I'm going in there!"
  "Are you nuts, Dask?!" Kala screeched at her friend. "You just saw what that crazy chick just did to that door! Imagine what she could do once she gets juiced up!"
  Dask didn't respond though as he ran into the doorway, just moments before the Turtle Van pulled up.
  "I hope we're not too late!" Donatello said as he got out of the side door carrying what looked like an old Game Boy.
  "Jeffrey, stay here with April and the mutants!" Lotus Blossom ordered as she joined Donatello.
  It didn't take long for Don and Lotus to find Leo and Mike who took one look at the Game Boy and stared curiously at their brother.
  "Get serious, dude! That thing broke down on me like three years ago. How's it going to help us here?"
  "Think about it, Michaelangelo. Where'd Tempestra originate from?"
  "Of course, she came from that arcade game I played!" Leonardo responded.
  "Right, so I rigged this little guy up to suck her out of Splinter's body and trap her into a video game cartridge!"
  "So all we have to do now is locate her before-"
  "AAACK!" a high pitched voice came from another room.
    "That sounded like one of the Neutrinos!" Mikey said as the three Turtles and their female companion raced through the hallway and into a room full of electric generators.
  In the middle of the room stood the form of Splinter strangling Dask. However, Tempestra herself had now left the rodent's body and was feeding on the energy.
  "Master Splinter!" Leonardo called out, but the rat didn't seem to listen.
  Michaelangelo and Lotus Blossom ran to the Neutrino's aide as they pulled Splinter's hands off his neck.
  "Thanks, man! Another minute there, and I would've lost consciousness!"
  "Let her have it, Don!" Leonardo ordered his brother.
      Donatello aimed the device at Tempestra and with a quick flip of the power switch, the Game Boy began to glow as it sucked in the electrical energy pulsating through Tempestra. "What?! No, you can't do this to meeeeee... AHHHH!!!" she wailed as she was pulled into the Game Boy. Her voice could be heard screaming from within the console until Donatello turned the volume down.
  Splinter shook his head as he finally came out of his trance. "My... my sons. What is going on?"
  "It's okay, Master Splinter." Leonardo said as he hugged his sensei. "It's all over!"
    Back outside, Kala and Zak hugged Dask shortly before berating him for making such a fool-hardy decision. "I know, it definitely wasn't worth sticking my neck out like that but I thought I could help!"
  "It's the thought that counts, dude." Michaelangelo replied.
  April was the first outside to greet Splinter who was still very disoriented. "Thank goodness you're yourself again! I was getting so worried!"
  "Likewise, Miss O' Neil." the wise rat replied with a smile.
    "Hey Don, I set up the dimensional portal generator to make sure it's still functioning properly." Jeff exclaimed. "There doesn't seem to be any damage done, though I wouldn't recommend opening another wormhole like before."
  "I wasn't really planning on it to be honest. Though now that I think about it, something tells me this Game Boy's not going to be enough to contain Tempestra."
  "I got an idea." Dask chimed. "Some brainiac Neutrinos in Dimension X might have an idea how to keep her trapped in the virtual world for good."
  "Righteous! I could go for a trip to your place!" Michaelangelo shouted in excitement.
      "I'm sorry, Mikey, but I'm afraid this is going to be a one-way trip back for the Neutrinos." Donatello spoke with his hand on his brother's shoulder. "I was going to tell you this a little later, but you see the balance between here and Dimension X has shifted quite a bit and I'm afraid to open too many portals. That's why they can only come visit us once every year or so."
  "Oh, I see. Man, that's kind of a bummer. I was really hoping we'd get to spend some more time together, especially after we finally took care of Krang and Shredder." Michaelangelo said as he held Kala's hand and the two shared a kiss.
  Rocksteady sniffled at the sight and blew his nose into a handkerchief. Bebop shook hands with Dask as he took Slash out of his shirt pocket. "Hey, thanks again for helping me get Slash back."
  "No problemo, hip cat! Oh, uh just so you know, the effects of the shrink ray wear off after about a week, so you might want to pick up a leash or something for him."
    "Hey guys, I was just thinking." April spoke to the Turtles. "I didn't get to speak with Raphael and I barely even got to spend time with Michaelangelo, so I was just wondering, if it wouldn't be too much of a problem... could I possibly stay with you for a while?"
  "We'd love to have you stay with us, April!" Leonardo responded.
  "I'm going to miss having you for a roommate." Kala said as she gave April a hug.
  "Same here, Kala! Give my regards to Vernon, will ya?" April added with a laugh.
  "I guess that's everything then!" Jeff said.
  "Not quite everything, Daddio! We had a really groovy time hanging out with you today, Jeffrey!" Zak spoke. "So for being such a cool friend, I want you to have the keys to the star cruiser!"
  "Are... are you kidding me? You're letting me keep your hot rod?"
  "Why sure! It's only got about 30,000 light years on it!" Dask added as he shook hands with Jeff.
  "Thanks, dudes! That really means a lot!" Jeff said happily.
  The Neutrinos bowed to Splinter who bowed back as he said "Until we meet again, my young friends."
  Donatello handed Dask the Game Boy containing Tempestra before shaking hands with Kala and Zak. "Have a safe trip home, you guys."
  "Thanks. It's been a real blast!"
      Jeff aimed the dimensional portal generator towards them and waved to them before activating the machine, which opened a portal right in the middle of the Neutrino Capitol. The three Neutrinos waved once more to their friends before jumping through the portal.
    An hour later, Leonardo and Donatello arrived back at the Oughtons' residence along with Splinter, April and Lotus Blossom who joined them in the Turtle Van. Jeff and Michaelangelo had already gotten there, having flown the star cruiser, which was now parked in the back yard next to the Turtle Blimp.
  "Where're Bebop and Rocksteady?" Leo asked.
  "They wanted to head back to their apartment in North Wales. Mikey and I said we'd take them shopping for some stuff to keep Slash happy so he'll adjust once he's a full sized mutant again."
  "I only hope they will be able to keep him under control this time." Splinter said in concern.
  "I actually had mondo a brain-storm on the way back, so I called up Genghis Frog." Michaelangelo said proudly. "He said he and Napoleon are going to chop down a couple of small palm trees and bring them up here for Slash!"
  "Is that legal?" Donatello asked.
  "It depends on where they get it, I suppose." Jeff responded as he unlocked the front door to the house.
    Leonardo walked into the living room with Lotus Blossom who was greeted kindly by the family cats Pumpkin and Freckles. "You and your brothers are very lucky to have found such a nice place to live." she said.
  "We were fortunate to end up with a nice family like Jeffrey's! Granted it took them awhile to adjust to us living with them. Wait until you meet Holly!" Leo said chuckling nervously.
  "Sadly, I do not think I will be staying around for very long. I prefer the city as I have grown accustomed to it back in our world."
  Leonardo let out a sigh. "If you feel you belong there, perhaps we'll talk to the mayor again and he can work out some housing arrangements for you."
  "I would like that very much. Take heart though, Leonardo. No matter what, I will remain loyal to you, your brothers and Master Splinter."


THE END


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