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"
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Earth (Dimension <Null>); Los Angeles, CA, June 20TH, 2006 A.D.

 
It was a pool party to end all pool parties! Venice Highís Class of 2006 was celebrating their final year of schoolóin unofficial and unsupervised capacity, of courseóin style.
 
"Cannonball! Whoo!" Jason screamed to the top of his lungs as he plunged in. Several bikini-clad cheerleaders giggled at the sight. Jason got out as quickly as he had jumped in and winked at the ladies.
 
"You still got it, Jay!" Leon said, patting his friend on the back. "By the way... you seen Amanda anywhere?"
 
"Yo, give it a rest, man! I told you from day one, she donít give a shit about you!"

Leonís brow furrowed. He could smell more than a hint of alcohol on his friendís breath. "Well, I donít know ifó"

"Look, bro, she basically told you off in that message, right? Besides, look at all the cuties around here! Are you blind? Man, screw Manda! Itís her damn loss! But yo, didja see Sarah over there in the strawberry red suit? Man, sheís totally been eyeing you! Why donít you go talk to her?"

 
Leon rolled his eyes but nodded just the same. Jasonís enthusiasm was as infectious as ever. Moreover, he may have had a point. "Yeah, sure. I guess Iíll do it if itíll shut you up!" With that, he walked off to the other side, narrowly avoiding several young couples who were making out in the middle of the place with their bathing suits barely sticking to their bodies. Man, would Michaelangelo love to be here! He thought quietly to himself. "Mikey," he spoke sadly, just as he started toward the beautiful blond his friend had mentioned. Leon shoved the memory of his fictional brother aside just as he then came to approach the girl.

His former schoolmate gave Leon her best girlish smile, her finger dancing around the edge of what looked like a daiquiri. "Hey, Leon! Howíve you been? I really liked seeing you in English class this year!"

 
"Yeah, I know. Itís what you wrote in my yearbook," Leon spoke back. "So, um, what are your plans for the summer?"
 
"Oh, nothing in particular... except this trip Iím taking with my boyfriend to Jamaica."
 
"Boyfriend...?" Jason, you prick! She wasnít checking me out, she just wanted to talk! "I-Iím sorry. I didnít even know you had a boyfriend."
 
"Well, heís sorta the quiet type. We met at a church social where our moms are both in the choir. Weíre a very friendly group of people. You know, you ought to come out to the Youth Group some time."
 
Leon nodded, his enthusiasm waning. "That might be nice. Anyway, I really should apologize for my reaction. I just got out of a relationship."
 
"Oh, Iím sorry to hear that," the girl said solemnly, affectionately rubbing Leonís arm.
 
"Eh, no biggie! My pal over there who was just showboating his cannonball dive told me I should talk to you about hooking up. Frickiní dumbass, didnít even know youíre already taken!"
 
"Awww! Well, hey he was just trying to cheer you up! Besides, I bet thereís over a ton of nice girls just like me who would love to get the hook up with you!" the girl said in a kind of sickly sweet manor.
 
It was all Leon could do not to roll his eyes. He gave a shrug. "I guess it couldnít hurt. Maybe Iíll see you around the mall or something, okay?"
 
"Sure thing, Leon. Have a nice summer!"
 
Leon let out a sigh as he wandered back over to Jason. His goofball friend was making a childish smirk. "You knew, didnít you?"
 
"What can I say, Leon? Iím just trying to help you get back in the game! You need to at least get to know these girls before you can even think of attempting to date one!"
 
"No shit, Sherlock! Thank God I was able to save face, at least. She does seem really nice, though. I wonder what lucky son of a gunís going out with her... oh well. At least she gave me more respect in those last few minutes than Manda gave me in the last few weeks of our relationship."
 
"So I take it you got over her now, huh?" Jason asked.
 
Leon nodded as he shook his palís hand and a gave him a heartfelt hug. "Youíve been a good pal, Jason! Hope you have fun out there in Arizona with your family!"
 
"You have yourself a good time at that comic convention of yours. Coming up, isnít it?"
 
Leon nodded emphatically. He was looking forward to the yearly ritual of returning there. "Yeah, it is. Thanks man."
 
The two friends parted as the clock struck 11:00 PM. All was quiet as Leon headed towards his car in the parking lot when he overhead a wailing sound. "What the frig?" the boy whispered under his breath, as he walked over towards the figure. It was a girl, in her early twenties by the look of her who had evidently had a little too much to drink. "Who the hell are you?!" Leon asked.
 
"Leonardo... please! Please, I beg you!" the woman spoke between coughs. "Your brothers need you! They are in dire trouble! We have never met, and I know my appearance right now is questionable... but you can call me... Cheri Bones! I am from a dimension your former future self destroyed some six years ago! I am a refugee from there, barely managing to escape the Entropyís force along with a few other beings from my world."
 
The Entropy? My former future? Leon had done his best to not think about such things for many years.
 
"The Shogun, Leonardo. It was he who started this, and now it is his successor... an evil demon from my dimension... your demon... who plans to end it!"
 
"My demon, what do you... Shogun! But it, it canít be. It... it never happened! It couldnít have! That was all just a dream! Iím not a Ninja Turtle!"
 
"I did not say you were a Ninja Turtle, you did," the girl pointed out weakly. "My real name is... well, you do not yet know my real name. After escaping the Shogun I transcended into this form, just as you transcended into the body you have possessed for over half a decade now."
 
"No! Itís not real! Just get the fuck away from me!" Leon screamed, as he grabbed his keys and jumped into his car. He revved the motor of his Camry as fast as he could and sped off.
 
Cheri Bones couldnít help but weep as she crumpled to the ground, her pale brown skin changing to a bright blue-purple shade. She could no longer sustain her human form in the current state of mind, so she vanished out of sight.

 

The 79TH Level of Null-Time (Dimension <Null>)
 
Within the walls of the Palisade, the thirty-four year-old Ninja Turtles of Dimension A in the year 2006, sans Leonardo, emerged. In place of where Leo might have been standing instead stood Venus DeMiloóor Mei Pieh Chióof Dimension B. She now wore a red bandana across her eyes and a brown belted getup just like the outfits the Turtles she now accompanied.
 
The Mistress of Time, the ever-youthful Renet Tilley stood before them. "My, my, my. Itís been quite awhile hasnít it?"
 
"Since the funeral two years ago, Renet," Michaelangelo spoke.

Renet nodded. "That was actually my younger self you met... you see, from my perspective, I attended that funeral ten years ago but I was with you guys when we took on the Shogun just a couple of months ago." She saw Michaelangelo and the others begin to figuratively scratch their heads. "Itís best, like, not to think about it too much... youíll get a headache every time."

Mike shook his head. "Well, needless to say, Renet, you missed quite a lot. And even with your younger self or whatever at the funeral, we really didnít have a chance to sit down and catch up with each other."

 
Renet nodded. "I can tell just by looking at Donatello and Raphael. If you remember, I told you and your brothers those changes wouldnít be permanent before we set off against the Shogun. That was fifteen years ago to you guys, isnít it?"
 
"Sixteen years, 1990," Don spoke, nodding. He explained, "My shell and Raphís eye were able to regenerate into their original forms. Apparently ourómutatedóreptilian genetics were able to utilize some dormant genes of relative species that can re-grow lost limbs and such."
 
"Yeah, but the worst part was when the cybernetic armor tried to keep Don from healing," Raph grunted, apparently feeling sickly. "If it werenít for some quick thinking, Mikey and I wouldíve never gotten that metal shit off!"

And I took a few pointers from a fellow cyborg as well, Baxter Stockman, my prisoner back then... but no one needs to know about that, Donatello thought to himself.

 
"Nevertheless, I am afraid I have some horrible news to tell you guys. There has been an anomaly in the timestream... in the entire transdimensional continuum. In every dimension you Turtles exist, something... is happening to you."

"I think I know why." Donatello stepped forward. "I took blood samples from my brothers and I... the mutagen in our bloodstreams is destabilizing. We’re demutating... and our bodies canít take it so our cells are breaking down, basically combusting on themselves."

"Youíre right..." Renet agreed, "... but youíre also wrong. The timestream is being maligned... according to each of your respective histories, you are not supposed to die in this way! The root of your ailment lies not in your blood, guys, but somewhere else."

"What do you mean?" Don asked. "Where?"

Renet shrugged helplessly. “I can’t say, exactly, because it’s emanating from a place my powers can’t touch. This dimension has no name, but it somehow overlooks all of the dimensions I’m familiar with. For the simply lack of a better word, I tend to call this dimension ‘Reality,’ if there can be such a thing.”

"But how do we stop whatís happening to us?" Raphael asked with a glare.

Renet gave a heavy sigh. “I can’t tell you what to do or where to go or even who or what you’ll face, but I can pinpoint a location in this ‘reality’ that seems to be a focal point of your ailments. It’s as if a great, invisible hand is reaching through the dimensional gateways and squeezing each of your throats... I can’t describe it.” She shook her head. “In a moment Iíll send the five of us to San Diego, California in this Reality, July 20th of the year 2006 A.D."

Donatello rubbed a hand over his eyes. "I still donít feel right about this... I mean, if time is being screwed with, why are just Ninja Turtles being singled out?"

"Youíre right, it does seemed focused on you Turtles alone in every dimension itís affecting... but the paradoxes from these tamperings are also placing your world at large on the verge of collapsing as it nearly did before when..." Renet lowered her head.

"The Shogun," Venus spoke angrily. "He killed everyone I knew and loved and now his actions have caused some effect on me and these Turtles of this dimension! I think Donatello is right, I think we are dying, Renet!"

Donatello put an arm on Venusí shoulder. "Please... Venus..."

 
"But the Shogun is... Leo. An older Leo," Mike responded. "After we killed that bastard, our Leo disappeared. So much has changed and he never even saw what became of... our sensei."
 
"You just had to fucking bring that up again, didnít you?!" Raph spat at his brother. "Leo wasnít there to see Splinter keel over and die while we were busy saving April from sudden death!!! Boo frickení hoo!"
 
"Now wait, youó"

"Enough, Raphael!" Renet spoke in an almost motherly tone. "I did not summon you here to have you quarrel amongst one another! Weíre here to, like, prevent whatever evil has befallen time and creation." Renet waved her hand over the viewscreen where energies swirled and coursed to display the three current dimensions as seen in the distant future.

 
"Thatís our home dimension, there where the Utroms are now visiting," Mike spoke, pointing a finger at one section of the viewer. "But what in Godís name are those other two?"
 
"They both seem to be similar worlds, but with some odd differences I just canít seem to make out," Don answered.
 
"I did mention other dimensions... plural. They appear to be more or less reconstituted versions of the dimensions that the Shogun obliterated," Renet explained as Dimension B began to show the different points in its timeline like before.
 
"That is Dimension B!" Venus exclaimed with glee. "It is... it is my home world! I cannot believe it! After all this time, I can finallyó"
 
"Venus, please understand. From the very best I can tell your former dimension is highly unstable right now, entire portions being rewritten even as we speak. Specifically... your existence has been compromised, maybe from your extended presence in Dimension A." Renet sighed. "But that is not why we are here! We must journey to Reality and find your long lost brother."

Raphael winced, his eyes widening at Renet. "Our brother... he lives?"

"He does. I believe he is the key to finding the evil presence that has befallen us."

 
The four Turtles took hold of Renetís cloak as she raised her arm up high, releasing raw chronal energy that opened the dimensional rift which quickly engulfed them where they stood.

 


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