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 HEY, KID, YOU'RE 
 A LONG WAY 
 FROM NICKTOONS! 

Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.

Frontispiece

(The Turtles prowling inside a warehouse)

[Raph here.]

[I ain't ever been one for introspection. And I certainly ain't been known to give a fig about why someone is the way they are. Especially if we're talking about a rotten apple.]

[But enough with the fruit analogies or metaphors or whatever.]


[Let me tell you a story...]

Page 1

[In a realm that is neither here nor there but everywhere...]

Cat Queen ··Come, my beauties.··

Cat Queen ··Come...··

Cat Queen ··...But do not give in to the urge to hunt.··

Cat "Mrrreooow?"

Page 2

Cat Queen "With all due respect, old one, I now must speak my mind..."

Old Rat King "Respect or not, nothing has ceased your tongue before."

Old Rat King "Speak... But speak to me of good things, of sacred memories and past joys."

Cat Queen "That, I can no longer do."

Page 3

Cat Queen "You have waited too long, old one. Too long."

Cat Queen "I fear that it is now too late for you to pick a worthy successor..."

Cat Queen "It is a fear I share with..."

Cat Queen "...The others."

Cat Queen "You must act now, old dear. Now... For your death is nearly upon you."

Cat Queen "You owe it to us. You owe it to your little ones."

Cat Queen "We will leave you now. Make haste!"

Old Rat King "They are right. Too long have I dallied with my memories."

Old Rat King "I was a fool to have waited so long. I must find a successor... Now."

Page 4


Splinter "Little ones, what is wrong?"

(New) Rat King "Never have I seen such a large and beautiful rat as you."

Splinter "Who are you? What is it you want here?"

Rat King "I am... The Rat King."

Rat King "And what I want... Is you."

Page 5

WWWSSHHTTT

Splinter "You shall find me a most worthy foe."

Rat King "We shall see."

Rat King "Look at me. Look into my eyes..."

Rat King "...And follow me... To a land beyond reason."

Page 6

Rat King "What... How did you—"

Rat King "—Where are you? Do not hide yourself from me!"

Splinter "I do not hide from anyone."

Splinter "Least of all one who pretends to be "king.""

Rat King "We shall see."

FWWRRZZZZASH!

Page 7

Rat King "You will bow down before me, like all the little ones do...!"

Splinter "I am no mere rat..."

FZZZSHTTT!

Splinter "...And I am far from little!"

Rat King "Eh?"

Page 8

Rat King "No!"

Splinter "Yes."

Splinter "I told you I was no easy prey."

Splinter "Now let us see..."

Page 9

"...What you are made of."

GENERAL
HOSPITAL

Other Guard (flashback) "Hey Jack, got time to grab a cup of coffee?"

Jack (fb) "Sure thing. Perp should be out cold for a while."

Jack (fb) "Catch the game last night?"

(Future) Rat King (fb) "Idiots."

Old Rat King (fb) "I was a fool to have waited so long. I must find a successor... Now!"

Rat King (fb) "Huh? Who's there?"

Old Rat King (fb) "I can only hope that you are worthy to wear the mantle..."

Rat King (fb) "What... What are you doing to me, old man?"

Page 10

"Ah, but you were not, were you?"

"You squandered the gift of the King of the Rats... Used it instead to indulge in your personal vices and weaknesses..."

"...You even ignored all the little ones whose existence was put in your care."

Splinter "Sad. So sad."

Splinter "And wrong."

Page 11

Splinter "You are not worthy to be a king of anything."

Splinter "You cannot even govern your own impulses."

Splinter "I can help you. I can teach you how to make the self secondary to more noble causes..."

Rat King "Can you?"

Splinter "Yes, I—"

Page 12

Rat King "—You sanctimonious fool!"

Rat King "Thinking yourself better than me, better than others..."

Rat King "...That is a weakness all your own."

Page 13

Rat King "Come, my minions, let us return to Earth..."

Rat King "...And to our less than noble pursuits."

Cat Queen "What we feared has come to be."

Cat Queen "In fact, you are even less worthy than we imagined..."

Page 14 & 15

Cat Queen "...So decrees the Pantheon!"

Page 16

Cat Queen "Your reign is over, oh "king.""

Rat King "That's not how it works... And you know it."

Rat King "Eh? Wolves?"

Wolf King "Know this."

Wolf King "Get him, my children."

Page 17

Cat Queen "Awaken from your spell, dear one..."

Splinter "Thank you."

Cat Queen "Come... Let us talk of both worldly and non-worldly things."

Cat Queen "We are the Pantheon."

Cat Queen "Each of us watches over the lives and little souls of those we have been bequeathed to protect."

Splinter "I have vague memories of you, of all this... From my childhood."

Cat Queen "The indigenous memory of the young soul. I am impressed... For few can recall such a time."

Splinter "What... What is happening there?"

Page 18

Cat Queen "A moment of truth, dear Splinter."

Splinter "What do you mean? What will become of him?"

Cat Queen "That depends upon your answer to the follow question."

Cat Queen "You are a wonderful being, far more spiritually advanced than even some members of the Pantheon..."

Cat Queen "...Will you accept our offer to be the next King of the Rats?"

Page 19

Splinter "Me? But..."

Splinter "Forgive me. I am very honored at your request..."

Splinter "...But again I must ask..."

Cat Queen "...What will become of him?"

Cat Queen "He will die."

Splinter "I see."

Page 20

Splinter "I cannot."

Splinter "I cannot let my actions result in the loss of another's life."

Splinter "I am sorry."

Wolf King "So be it."

Wolf King "The Wolf King speaks for us all. Fare thee well."

Splinter "Farewell."

Page 21

Cat Queen "Go in peace, my love..."

Cat Queen "...But remember this:"

Splinter (flashforward) ""

"You will have one more chance to become King of the Rats, to help care for the world's innocent souls as part of the Pantheon..."

"This final opportunity will present itself..."

"...At the very moment of your death."

WHUMP!

Cat Queen "I hope to see you again."

Cat Queen "Farewell."

Splinter "Goodbye."

Page 22

Splinter "Eh?"

Splinter "Hmmm."

Splinter "Indeed."

[The end?]

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