Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

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[From the moment I became aware in my new rat body, I have sensed an ancient shadow looming—a ghostly silhouette that is disturbingly familiar.]

[I have felt the shadow's dark tendrils creeping in—reaching out for me... For my family.]

[But of this foe—this shadow—we have witnessed no better than fleeting glimpses and uncertain hints.]

[Until now.]

Oroku Karai "I am Karai of the Foot Clan, rodent. And this..."

[And as I suspected, its name is one I have known through two lifetimes. But like so many other things in this second life...]

[...Its face is frighteningly new.]

Karai "...Is Master Shredder!"

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Karai "The Foot have existed for centuries, rodent—hidden in the deepest dark, striking out at our enemies when they least expect it, then vanishing into the night until called upon by our master to strike again."

Karai "We are assassins. We are thieves. We are warriors."

Karai "We are ninja."

Splinter "I know what you are."

Karai "Do you?"

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Karai "Then, do you also know why we have brought you here?"

Karai "A war is coming, rodent—one that will begin in the filthy streets of this city and spread to engulf the entire world. A war for power and control—a war the Foot Clan has planned for ages."

Karai "And with Master Shredder leading us..."

Karai "...A war the Foot Clan will dominate."

Splinter "And what has this war to do with me?"

Karai "The Foot Clan is comprised of the most highly trained, disciplined and deadly soldiers on the planet. Be that as it may, we will not rest on laurels."

Karai "Our enduring strength lies in our ability to adapt and overcome."

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Karai "You are living proof that our foes have begun enhancing their standing armies with mutated soldiers of remarkable abilities..."

Karai "...As have we."

Splinter "You have not answered my question—what does this have to do with me?"

Karai "You have the opportunity to join us today, mutant. To become a soldier for the Foot Clan."

Karai "But first..."

Karai "...A test!"


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Karai "Defend yourself, rodent..."

Karai "...Or die."

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April O'Neil "Guys, I'm gonna pull into this station for a bit..."

April "...We've been driving around in circles for an hour now and I'm almost out of gas."

Michelangelo "Join the club, April. Between those stupid robots in the sewer and StockGen, I'm totally pooped. Oh, my achin' shell."

Donatello "She's talking about the van, doofus."

Donnie "And she's right—we're not getting anywhere. We need to stop and figure out what steps to take next."

Raphael "What's to figure? Some other ninja jackasses got Splinter and now we gotta get him back."

Leonardo "Foot Clan."

Raph "Huh?"

Leo "The ones who took Father—it's got to be Foot Ninja. It all makes sense..."

Leo "...Al the stuff Master Splinter has been telling us, it all fits. Oroku Saki, our reincarnation, the robots, even Stockman and that jerk Hob—it's all leading us to the Foot Clan... Our ancient enemies..."

Leo "...Just like Father said."

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Donnie "Whoa... Please don't start with that cosmic garbage, Leo. We could use some sound, common-sense planning right now, not more of your paranormal nonsense."

Leo "Donnie, why can't you get over your swollen brain just once and look around you, huh?"

Donnie "And what will I see, Leo? Centuries-old mystical ninjas out for our heads? You're gonna have to point 'em out, bro. Because I just can't seem to spot 'em."

Leo "Dammit, Donnie! You have seen the Foot! Hell, I fought against them!"

Donnie "You fought ninjas that you say were Foot, Leo—and only because Father planted that idea in your thick skull. Now you're convinced they've taken him tonight without any tangible proof to support your theory."

Donnie "Do you happen to remember the high-tech fight I had with Stockman and his goons? Mikey fought a bunch of thugs stealing irradiated materials..."

Mikey "And hung out with a super-hot girl in a catsuit!"

Donnie "...And Raph slugged it out with a genetically mutated snow fox?*"

[*See TMNT: Micro-Series #1-4.]

Leo "Yeah, I remember. What's your point, Donatello?"

Donnie "My point, Leonardo, is that of the four battles we've fought, three of them had nothing to do with anything supernatural. That's 75 percent, man. And let's not forget tonight's fun with killer robots!"

Donnie "This entire conspiracy sure seems corporate and corporeal if you take two seconds to notice the patterns like a real leader should."

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Raph "Only thing I'm noticin' is you two wastin' time arguin' 'bout a bunch of useless crap. Splinter's in trouble and we gotta help. I ain't gotta lose him 'cause you two can't stop whinin' 'bout who knows more."

Leo "Raphael, stay out of this."

Donnie "Yeah, Raph, this doesn't concern you."

April "Are they always like this?"

Casey Jones "Shoot, they ain't even warmed up yet."

Raph "Yeah, well, you're gonna be concerned when I knock your friggin' block off, Don!"

Donnie "Somehow I doubt that!"

Leo "Step off, Raph!"

Mikey "Guys, guys..."

Mikey "...Guys!"

Mikey "You all need to step off and chill out. We lost our dad, we lost our home, all our stuff, we got no food, and all you dudes wanna do is fight each other. Well, that totally sucks."

Mikey "Instead of arguin', maybe we should be decidin' whre we're gonna go next."

April "I think I know a place you can go..."

April "...Unless, of course, you'd rather stay in my van and bicker all night like a bunch of two-year-olds?"

April "Your choice."

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[This is a battle I do not wish to fight.]

Splinter "Hnf!"

[Victory would violate the peaceful tenets I now hold sacred.]

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[Succumbing to defeat, however...]

Splinter "Hyaa!"

Ninja "Oof!"

[...Is an even less appealing option.]

[My captors believe they have an advantage over me—the element of surprise.]

[Little do they realize, I spent an entire lifetime fighting alongside and, late, against the Foot Clan.]

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[Their fighting style is second nature to me—their moves and their techniques familiar.]

[And though the faces and names may have changed in this new reality...]

[...The methods, it appears, have not.]

[Old habits, as it has been said...]

[...Die hard.]

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[And, as has also been said, the bigger they are...]

[...The harder they fall.]

Karai "Why do you hesitate, mutant? Kill..."

Karai "...Or be killed!"

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Baxter Stockman "I'm going to kill you!"

Baxter "The rat was secure, you said. The rat's not going anywhere, you assured me. And yet, Mr. Hob, I see no rat in this room, mutated or otherwise."

Baxter "How could you let this happen, you idiotic freak of nature?!"

Old Hob "Quit yellin', willya? My head's throbbin' enough as it is."

Baxter "You're lucky you still have a head, imbecile!"

Hob "And you'll be lucky to have ten fingers if you don't quit wavin' em in my face."

Krang "You know, it's surprising this escape could have occurred, Stockman, considering the respect and discipline you seem to inspire in your subordinates."

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Baxter "Please, General... Your snide remarks are unnecessary. I'll handle this."

Baxter "Once more—what happened to the rat, Mr. Hob?"

Hob "Why are you askin' me? I already told you I was out cold the whole time."

Hob "Ask that wimp Chet—he saw everything."

Baxter "Mr. Allen?"

Baxter "Where the hell is that fool, anyway?"

Baxter "Mr. Allen!"

Chet Allen "L-Listen... I can't talk long. P-Please tell the master that the, um, turtles came..."

Chet "...Ri-Right after Karai took the rat."

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April "This is it."

Casey "It's somethin', all right."

April "Hey, I never said it was the ritz."

April "It's been in the family for ages. My dad was gonna refurbish it but he had a stroke. It's been sitting here unused for a few years now."

Donnie "Is there electricity and running water?"

April "Yep—my parents never stopped paying for them."

April "There's a few empty apartments upstairs, too, though I doubt there's much furniture or stuff like that."

Leo "That's not a concern—we won't be here long. We just need to rest and make plans."

Raph "I can use my sai to jimmy open the window."

April "Or, we can just use my key."

April "Ninjas. Yeesh."

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April "I was hoping to fix up the place myself, but between school and my internship, there just hasn't been any free time."

April "Like I said, it's not much, but at least you'll be out of sight, which is what you want, right?"

April "Let me hit the lights."

April "Ta da!"

Mikey "Oh, wow..."

Donnie "This is..."



Mikey & Donnie "...Awesome!"

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Mikey "Whoa! A Silver Sentry #1 in primo condition!"

Donnie "Vacuum tube! Classic!"

Casey "Well, looks like Mike and Don dig the joint."

Raph "Yeah. Two nerd peas in a geek pod."

Leo "April, we all appreciate you letting us crash here for a bit. You've really gone above and beyond for us—I'm not sure how we can repay you."

April "Don't even mention it. I told you, it works both ways—"

April "—By helping you guys, I feel like I'm finally helping myself. I just wish I could do more about your dad."

Raph "Don't worry."

Raph "...We'll handle that."

Leo "Raph's right. But first we need to get some sleep and some food in us. It's been a long night."

Mikey "Food?!"

Mikey "I'm on it, dudes!"

Casey "Let me guess—you boys're havin' pizza for breakfast."

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April "Gosh, it's already morning! I need to get going, too—I have a huge exam in a few hours."

Casey "I'll go with you, April."

April "Thanks."

April "Good luck, guys. First chance I get, I'll be back to check on you. You're welcome to stay here as long as you need, okay?"

Leo "Thanks again, April."

April "You think they're gonna be okay, Casey?"

Casey "Yeah... No worries. It was really cool, you givin' them this place to crash in, too. They'll get themselves straight and back in the fight, you'll see."

Casey "Those guys..."

Casey "...They're survivors."

Angel Bridge "Hmm. New neighbors, huh?"

Page 19

[My opponent lies helpless at my feet.]

[At my mercy.]

[And, above all the shouting, beyond all the tension that now chokes this chamber, it is that word which rings loudest in my head... And fills my heart.]


[I have won, but if I deliver the merciless killing blow now demanded of me...]

Karai "What are you waiting for, rodent? You have passed the test. Now kill him and join us!"

[...I will, in truth, have lost.]

Splinter "No. I will not execute this man."

Karai "Fool! Master Shredder commands it! Do you not understand what is at stake should you disobey?!"

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Splinter "Yes, young lady, I fully understand what is at stake. Honor."

Splinter "My honor."

Splinter "I know much of the Foot Clan... Much more than you could possibly realize."

Splinter "Most important, I know that this was once an honorable clan—but no longer."

Splinter "No, its honor was destroyed from within by another like you. He, too, desired power above all other things—complete domination at all costs."

Splinter "He, too, was wrong."

Karai "Insolent worm! You dare speak to Master Shredder with such disrespect?! I will have your tongue!"

Splinter "I do not wish to lose my tongue, nor my life, and I am prepared to fight for both. I would rather die than join you and lose my honor."

Splinter "You defile the Foot Clan..."

Splinter "...I will not be party to this disgrace."

Shredder "It... Cannot be."

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Shredder "Hamato Yoshi?"

[His voice, like a demon's whisper across time and space. From beyond the grave.]

Splinter "Oroku Saki?"

[My suspicions are laid bare at last. My ancient enemy, indeed, has returned. Alive...]

[...And in the flesh.]

Shredder "Yes. It is I."

Shredder "I would ask how it is you are here, Hamato Yoshi, and in this form, but I have not returned from my long death to waste precious time on the inconsequential."

Shredder "Karai..."

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Shredder "...Destroy him."

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