[ P | I | II | III | IV | V | VI | E | C ]


’Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it."
- Byron


Earth (Dimension <Null>); Northampton, MA, July 20TH, 2006 A.D.

 When the five materialized in Massachusetts, a feeling that they just couldn’t describe seized their senses. It was that very pain of loss Renet had experienced when she initially looked into the future, except in its early stages.

"Oop!" Renet spoke, whirling around and nearly getting caught in her cape. "I didn’t mean to teleport us here... here, to..."

"No, it’s okay!" Leon said. It wasn’t until after a few seconds passed that Leon recognized the place she had teleported them to. There could be no doubt. They stood in the middle of the second floor, at the now-vacant Words & Pictures Museum. He announced, "I’ve never been here before... wanted to... but this is the Words and Pictures Museum!"

"The what?" Raphael asked.

Leon may be Leonardo, but for the past six years he had been occupying the body of an avid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. He knew where they were, even if the others did not.

Leon’s momentary excitement waned. Everything there had been in this place had to have been taken down from the walls and put away in storage long before. Cardboard signs and slogans adorned the walls now of the "Cingular" company. "No... this won’t do... you guys need to go back a few years if you want to see this place at its prime."

"Now, I can arrange that," Renet spoke with a smile.

Raphael grimaced. "Look, we ain’t here to sightsee, we’re here to—"

Before the others knew what she was doing, Renet moved them back a few years to its last days of the museum.

"I think… I’m going to vomit... oh yeah..." the Dimension D Donatello sat down on the nearby bench in hopes of easing his nauseating dizziness. Venus ended up collapsing to the floor, unable to withstand the thousands feelings and thoughts of unknown hatred from this reality surrounding her.

Raphael was first to kneel by her, asking what was wrong. The agonizing pain that became to eat from within felt so great now, she could barely reply. Venus resisted his attempts to help her by balling up on her knees. Raphael also felt very weak, with an ever-growing headache. All he could muster was aim a demanding look at Renet for a good answer.

Splinter now frozen behind glass instantly caught Leon off guard. He first wondered if it was a kind of magic spell, wondering why their Master had not moved. Leon pressed his hands against the Plexiglas, staring at the wise rat, when he sensed that this was actually a statue of their master.

On display… like the others he saw in the mysterious Hall of Lost Legends so long ago, a mythical limbo-esque place that they found to be not-so-mythical where all of humanity’s forgotten legends ended up. That had been the day they met and confronted Loki/Locke, who had told them upon their arrival... that they had been "early."

The rumors were true…

Leon stepped back, taking a closer look at the place now. Would the others know of this foretelling? Along the wall to his left were framed drawings of them. His brothers captured in various poses and adventures from his dimension as well as others. He could remember many of things happening, as if going through a photo album.

Leo then looked down at himself, also seeing for the first time that he seemed to have both of his three-fingered Turtle hands again. The color of his skin ebbed into gray tones and his new shell strangely grew starch white, with black lines suddenly highlighting his details and features. Looking around, he saw that the others had changed in appearance. Don and Michaelangelo looked like a colored drawing, and more cartoonish. Venus and Raph, they appeared now to be like humans in costume. But Raph, he had lost the white tape on his arms and legs and the washboard plastron that Leo remembered seeing him with just a few minutes before. Instead, his skin had become pale green, with these spots all over.

What the hell was going on?

Leon shook his head, shaking away the strange visions out of his mind’s eye. He was still a human boy, the Turtles with him were still as he remembered them minutes ago.

"Whoa, Leonardo, you gotta check this. It’s us!" Michaelangelo—still the Michaelangelo from Dimension C—touched Leon’s arm as he pointed out four statue-like figures of them positioned from a faux brick wall. Actually, they were on a second floor balcony, and the end room the displayed the figures took the space of all three floors. "This is so totally far out," Michaelangelo looked back to Leo and the others. Soon he found an issue of a comic emblazoned with an "Archie Comics" logo entitled "Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures." Flipping through cursorily, Mike gave a whoop of excitement. "Totally radical, dude!"

Renet could only sigh at Mike’s excitement, subtly tucking her Sceptre away for the moment. Perhaps now would be best to explain her findings, in hopes it could put them at ease from all this. "It has really just been a theory of mine until now, but, like, much later after we tangled with the Shogun and the transdimensional continuum became... very unstable and I discovered the presence of this Reality..." She sighed. "I believe now it is the humans of this world, through entertainment, which have created the dimensions that we live in."

Michaelangelo whooped. "Totally tubular, dudes!"

"They also decide the future of each dimension’s fate as well. Unfortunately, if a dimension failed to exist in this world, it would cease existence from where we came. It wasn’t the Shogun we must blame... he was just an instrument of this destiny." She looked to Venus, Michaelangelo, and Donatello with a sympathetic gaze, "Your Dimension C, Michaelangelo, no longer exists here. That cartoon was cancelled."

Mike’s features dimmed. "Bummer..."

Leon clapped Mike on the shoulder. "But hey, I hear they’re finally bringing them back on DVD finally, the original cartoon. Who knows?"

Renet peered down to Venus, still in pain. "Her world, Dimension B, ended when this... this... Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was cancelled and there was no chance of a new movie. But it has come back, though I don’t know why..."

"The fourth movie!" Leon piped.

Renet winced. "What?"

"Yes, that’s it!" Leon declared. "The fourth movie, CGI, coming out next year! The director said he’s using the movies as a backstory... he’s bringing back Dimension B and not even knowing it!"

"Whatever the case, guys... it’s pretty blatant that time is short," Renet said, turning away and starting for the stairs at the other end. "Let’s get going."

With a wave of her Sceptre, the Turtles and Leon were thrown further forward into the timestream, back to what they could only assume was 2006.

Leon bent down to help Raph with Venus. "Here, let me help you."

"I got her," Raph spoke, resisting the helping hand. Speaking softly into her ears, he took her into his arms. She barely managed to hang onto his neck, letting out a few more sobs of pain.

"I appreciate... the offer," Venus spoke to Leon weakly.

"God damn… even the worse case of the flu would feel better," Leon spoke.

Raph moved forward with Venus in his arms, Leon close behind, wincing as he looked the teenager up and down. "Easy for you, Leo... stuck in that pretty boy body…"

“If I could trade places with you, bro, I would,” Leon said over his shoulder.

"Basically, you are saying the fate of our lives lie in the hands of these humans, and like the classic tale of the Neverending Story, we’re left to make them believe in us to ensure our survival?" Don asked Renet in the stairwell.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” Renet sighed, trying his best to explain what little she knew. “In San Diego we saw great evidence that you and your brothers have come back in a big way... a new cartoon, new movie, comics...” She shook her head. "I believe it a malevolent force behind things this time... someone or something is pulling the strings of fate the way they want it to end, not the way it was destined to."

“What do you suggest, by that?” Don rubbed his stiffening neck.

“That’s something I have yet to understand.” She paused to locate the door from this place. Renet fumbled with what she thought were rather crude locks, and opened the inside door to the screen door on the outside. The timestress looked out, observing the golden sunlight of the mid-morning and the shadows they cast. With everyone’s backs turned to the darkened rooms, she also returned the museum back to its present, vacant state. But Renet didn’t wish to wait for the traffic to die down and pushed the door open.

“No, wait,” Raphael refused to follow, not at all pleased with the amount of exposure this meant. “I rather not go out there, like this!”

Renet hesitated, closing the door. She then unfastened and removed her cape, draping it around Raphael’s shoulder’s just enough to cover some of Venus, too. “Please, we must hurry. The studio isn’t far from here,” she told all of them before going through the door.

“Ooh, I think she’s starting to get soft on Raphael,” Michaelangelo whispered to Don.

Renet wrinkled her nose at the Turtles. "Am not!"

Don nodded, but his body shuddered and shook for a moment. An instant later he changed from his Dimension D self to a new self... he now retained his purple bandanna, yet his elbow, knee, and wristbands became brown like Raphael’s. The letter vanished from his belt. "It’s a Kodak moment! Nyuck-nyuck!"

Raphael recognized well this Donatello from his trip to Dimension B, when they’d taken out the Dragon Lord and his Rank.

At that, they left the Words & Pictures Museum, and walked round the block to a small intersection. A three-story red brick building came to view, but Leon implied they had to cross the street first, a street marked "Market Street." “Wow! This must be Mirage Publishing,” Leon told the others as they ducked back in a wide alley a moment.

“But where are we?” Don asked.

“Northampton… what, don’t you guys all recognize it?” Renet narrowed her eyes. "As much time as you guys spent on Casey’s farm it should be like home."

"Actually," Don replied, "there was this one farm... but it was April’s."

Leon had noticed a couple buildings next to each other. Offhandedly, they seemed to strongly remind him of April’s Second Time Around store that had burnt to the ground years before. “I… can’t be sure now. It is like what I remember, but all the buildings are different.”

“Inspirations…” Renet breathed. Once the coast was clear, she took lead beside Leon to head toward the red building. The actually studios only occupied the first floor of it, which was good for them. Even better, the door was on the side of the building and out of view. They went through the doors of Mirage to enter a small lobby area. No one was presently at the receptionist desk, but it didn’t take long for a couple humans to notice them.

"Excuse me, ah…" a lady started, but the look of dismay on her face said more. "Who… what is this? Dan...?" She looked back to a stocky fellow with red hair and a beard.

Venus, still racked with pain, ran a glance over the man and woman. "Please, time is short!" she managed to burst.

"I’ll handle this, Katie," the man spoke. "You just get ready to call the police." He gave a woman standing behind him that the Turtles hadn’t initially noticed a stern look. At a glance she looked to be younger than Katie, maybe in her twenties, with dark brown hair and all-green attire. "You’d better clear out of here for a while, Michele."

"I-I... uh..." the young woman began.

"Right now, Ivey!" Dan shouted.

The green-clad lady hesitated, took one good hard glance at the Turtles, and then took off.

"Now, sir, wait, uh… I know this looks really crazy, but we need your guys’ help," Michaelangelo stuttered, quick to protest at that.

The two still looked at them, more or less not quite believing any of this quite yet.

"Hey, I’m here to speak with Peter Laird," Raphael spoke with more than a hint of authority, stepping forward. "It’s regarding our survival." He couldn’t shake the feeling as if these were like the gates to some kind of Heaven, and he had to earn the approval from the angels before meeting God.

He wasn’t too happy with that.

The red-haired man finally replied with a suitable answer, "Well, I’m afraid Peter doesn’t really work here."

"Then where could we find him? We do not have much time," Leon almost demanded, stepping in front of the others. He didn’t wish for them to appear so threatening, but time was running short. Plus the thought of Venus dying worried him all the more.

The man studied Venus in Raph’s arms, and the ever-growing ill statement on the red-bandannaed Turtle. "Okay, here, why don’t we take care of you first... while I get a hold of her? Is that okay?" He turned back to Katie, advising that they should escort them back to the break room area.

"About friggin’ time…" Raph muttered. As Dan and Leon took Venus from his arms and helped her stand on her own, Raph finally gave in and grabbed Michaelangelo’s shoulder for support as they entered a hallway lined with more artwork and paraphernalia… mostly of them. The infamous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®. Frankly, it only made Raph’s misery grow just that much worse.

"You really don’t look good, dude," Michaelangelo paused to look at him.

Raph just gave him the weirdest look of annoyance mixed with nausea.

Michaelangelo had to twist his mouth to stifle a laugh that otherwise would have seemed appropriate had it been his own Raphael. "Uhm, I have to ask you guys... where is the bathroom? ’Cause he’s, like, uh… not well."

"It’s further down this hall, on that side," Katie pointed out the way.

“Mucho gracias, dudette!” With that, Mike did his best to guide his "brother" to the said bathroom.

Upon reaching the break room, with Dan’s help Leon took the initiative to ease Venus into a lazy boy in one corner. She had become unconscious now, and he quickly checked her pulse. That and her breath still remained steady. “Venus… wake up. Just hang on, okay?” Leon laid a hand on her hot forehead.

“Okay, from the top, what is happening here? I can get a hold of Peter, but I need some more background before I do.” Dan leaned against the counter, looking at them as if he couldn’t believe any of this yet. At this point a couple other men joined him, with equally amused looks on their faces.

Renet narrowed her sight on the three, and cleared her throat. They weren’t going to make this as easy as it first seemed. “All right. My name is Renet... supreme timestress of the 79TH Level of Null-Time."

"Hmm... I know who you are, you’re a pretty popular character... but what’s with that kid?" Dan asked with curiosity, nodding at Leon, still comforting Venus.

"He’s Leonardo... trapped in a human’s body after a battle we waged with a villain called the Shogun some years ago," she explained. "Who are you? What is this place now?”

“I guess we should introduce ourselves then, shouldn’t we?” Dan looked to his colleagues. “I’m Dan Berger. Peter and Kevin left me in charge of the Ninja Turtle website."

"Dude, we have a website, too?" Mike gasped, back from the nearby hallway.

"Yep!" Leon piped with a slight smile. "I’ve seen it!"

"That’s awesome!" Mike whooped. He returned to wandering about the hallway near the bathroom then, admiring various pictures and paintings.

Dan smiled. "I also produce my own comic book from here as well. Don’t suppose you guys heard of Gutwallow where you come from...?”

“Michael Dooney. I help Dan and Peter Laird on any other various projects... just the covers of Volume Four for now.” The other man held out his hand to shake with the Turtles, despite the oddness of it. "I can see you all are very... very... very big Turtle fans."

He looked back to Gary, who shrugged. “Name’s Gary Richardson, also a fellow producer. CEO of Mirage Publishing.” Dooney pointed at them briefly, “There’s no doubt we know the rest of you. But, I got to ask, why the wide range in appearance?”

Leo straightened some from kneeling at the lazy boy, “There’s a dimensional instability... I’m Leonardo, but stuck in this damned body the last six years. Michaelangelo and Donatello keep changing between their dimensional counterparts and...” Leon took a deep breath. "It’s been a really long day."

“And this is... Renet?” Dooney raised an eyebrow. One could tell by his almost fatherly expression that she had been a comic book character of his sometimes-design. “The ditzy timestress herself, eh?”

“Yes,” Leon nodded, wondering now why that seemed amusing. “Except she isn’t as ditzy anymore.”

“Well now, yes, that really did depend at what time she came from, too,” Dooney said with a nod. "You’re the older one... you helped the boys here fight Savanti Juliet way back."

Renet gave a fond smile. "I’m glad somebody notices these things."

Don and Leon looked at him, realizing they must also know about their backgrounds. Feeling light headed again, Don sat down at the small table. “I guess then, Peter Laird had… lost the interest in keeping production at full output, then?”

Dan shook his head, “Not at all, most of it was from financial stress… Don. They couldn’t meet the demands with the limited budget. We tried to save the comic books by selling them to different publishers. That hadn’t gone over well either... Leo—assuming that really is you in there—you ever wonder why, suddenly over the course of just a few months, your hand ended up missing, one of your brothers became a cyborg, and another of them had to go around with an eyepatch...?”

"A really close-knit string of bad luck...?" Leon suggested.

"Not quite. Let’s just say when we handed the comic book series—what you would consider your ‘dimension’—to Image Comics and Highbrow, certain things had to be done to ‘spice’ things up to incite reader interest. You guys took the brunt of that... and the sad part is it didn’t even work—the series got canned."

“But... what has been Venus’s demise?” Leon asked, with mournful eyes that he tried his best to hide.

“She, ah… to put it lightly, was from a failed television show produced by Saban,” Dan spoke, nodding. “The Next Mutation was pushed by Saban, thus not being our idea to go on with it. Kevin was the one really pushing the show... Laird had nothing to do with it. When Saban made demands, he went with it. We, well… Peter Laird has decided to disregard Venus and the live-action show as canon and valid T-M-N-T continuum.”
“Saban...?” the Dimension B Don squinted his eyes, feeling as if that name should mean something.

“They also produced the Power Rangers,” Dooney nodded to him.

“Power Rangers?” Don looked to him with some surprise. He remembered well teaming with the Power Rangers against the villainous Astronema somewhere around their original confrontation with the Dragon Lord and his entourage. "Ah, we had a run-in, once."

“Yeah,” Dooney said with a nod.

Don just groaned, rubbing his temples.

Back at the bathroom, Michaelangelo knocked on the door. He had been plain amused by all the posters, toys and figures and things he saw in Dan Berger’s nearby office. But Katie and a couple other folks were giving him weird looks, so the Dimension C Turtle decided he better check on Raphael again.

Hearing nothing, Michaelangelo opened the door and stuck his head inside. “Hey, Raphael…?”

Knelt in front of it, Raph had his arms folded on top of the toilet seat resting his head. “Go away,” he mumbled, reaching up weakly to flush.

Michaelangelo did exactly the opposite, and came inside. “Just making sure you’re okay, Raph.”

“At this rate—and don’t call me Raph, I don’t know you from shit—there will be no ‘okay’ for us,” he said, rocking back on his haunches so that he was leaning against the wall.

Michaelangelo sighed, and leaned on the sink. It was then he saw this picture of them playing what looked like strip poker, and a laugh came out.

“Mhhh…what is so damn funny now?” Raph glared at this goofy, if not obnoxious, version of his brother.

He pointed to the picture on the wall, but Raph just hung his head in disbelief. It’s the end of our very existence, and he’s laughing at a stupid picture.

“Well… it was funny, dude.” Michaelangelo shrugged. “But maybe that’s the thing about my dimension… like, we have ‘end of the world’ threats all the time. I get used to it after awhile, cause we always stop it before that happens.”

“Easy for you to say…” Raph looked up to him.

Michaelangelo shrugged then held out his hand to help Raph up. “Wanna get back to the others now…?”

“So basically, Peter Laird has set up his own comic with Jim Lawson, at ZeroMayo Studios in Haydenville,” Dooney spoke, also taking a seat at the table. Dan left to make a phone call to Peter, while Gary returned to his work. “The good news is that there is a new Turtle comic Peter Laird is putting out now, simply titled T-M-N-T... we’re just trying to develop a fanbase again. It’s not doing great... truth be told, we’re losing money... but we’ve also got a second Tales of the TMNT volume going as well—some of the old Archie crew are even aboard. Really fun times, actually. New movie coming out next year, I bet you’ve heard... CGI, Imagi is putting it out with Warner Brothers handling distribution."

Don smiled. "Sweet! I’ll watch it on my Turtle-fied eye in the sky!"

Dooney made a sound. "Yeah... okay. Anyway, well, Kevin Eastman... well, he had moved out west to California years ago with his wife to work with his own projects with all things Heavy Metal. As you probably know, he also relinquished full Ninja Turtles rights to Peter six years ago,” he added, setting his Coke can on the table.

"We’ve spoken," Renet said.

“Heya, guys,” Michaelangelo greeted Dooney and Turtles alike. He saw Leo knelt next to Venus in the lazy boy, and so took a chair next to Don at the table. Raph heavily sat in the last chair, not saying anything. “Would you like anything?” Dooney offered, since they got something for the others to drink.

“I’d like… for this to be the hell over with,” Raph muttered.

It was now game. A waiting game... with the clock ticking down the minutes and seconds to oblivion.

Dan Berger came back in at last. "Good news, guys," he spoke. "Peter Laird wants to meet you guys—all of you."

Leon smiled. "I thought he might."

"The strange thing is..." Dan began, "he was about to give me his address to write down when the line cut off. I tried to call him back, but the line seems to be permanently busy..."

Renet and the Turtles looked at each other. That didn’t sound good.

Dan shrugged. "Well, anyway, I have his address... so here it is, and I hope you find what you’re looking for there. Hopefully he’s in a good mood today, too." He extended his hand, holding a sticky note with the said address.

Leon snatched it up, "Thanks, Mr. Berger!"

If their suspicions were true... they really did have no time.


"This must be the right house, c’mon!"

As they rushed onto the porch the Turtles, Leon, and Renet—having recovered her bearings, at least for the time being—immediately noticed the front door was ajar, pieces of particle board sprayed out across the floor from where apparently a clenched fist had struck the door just above the doorknob. Wasting no time, Raphael kicked open the door and the six rushed inside.

As they stopped in the living room, they found Peter Laird beaten and bruised, held in a grip by a bald-headed, horned man in a black business suit, standing poised to deliver what could be the death blow to him.

"Please... please... what have I done to you?" Laird asked the horned man.

"Oh, for starters? You allowed my dimension—my world—to wither and die... you let me be forgotten!" the man thundered at Laird, who was now shaking in fear. "But now, you bloated old fool... you will meet your maker!"

"You stop right there, whoever you are!" Renet bellowed.

The business-suited man with twin horns atop his bald head craned his torso around, grinning evilly at the Turtles, Leon, and Renet. In his hand he still clutched Peter Laird. His eyes narrowed to slits, a piercing red glow emanating from beneath his eyelids. "You..." he seethed, "... I was not expecting you quite this early in this game." The man harrumphed, then hurled Peter Laird across the room to crash against a stone fireplace. He wasn’t moving. "Actually... once my business was done here, I wasn’t expecting to see you ever again," he spoke to the Turtles. Strangely, however, he gave a wink to Leon alone.

The Turtles readied their weapons. Raphael faced the man dead-on, his muscles coiling as if he was ready to pounce on him where he stood. "I don’t think we’ve been introduced, shithead."

"Spirit," the man said with a sardonic smile, "how I do appreciate spirit. The name is Null... and while I may not have met any of y—"

Raphael toppled over in sudden pain, his body suddenly twisting and contorting. When he stood back to his feet, he was no longer himself but...

"Raphael..." Renet sighed, staring at the Turtle. By the letter on his belt and general look, he looked enough like the Raphael of Dimension D, the older version of which she’d met—briefly—on the beach prior to the Shogun encounter.

This new Raphael stood aghast at the presence of the business-suited man that had attacked and nearly killed Peter Laird. "You... you!"

Null’s grin widened. "Ah, a familiar face." He also turned to Leon. "And you... we meet again! Will the mysteries of the universe never cease..."

Leon furrowed his brow at the horned man. "I don’t know you, demon."

"This... this thing... he’s a butcher," Raphael shouted to his companions. "He... he’s responsible for a lot of deaths, man. He killed the Mutanimals, for one... a lot of friends, allies..."

Null acted on mock-grief, raising a hand to his mouth. "Guilty as charged. Now what do you intend to do about it, freak?" The devilish man gave a snort. "You can’t even keep yourself together, let alone hope to take on one such as I."

No more talking. Raphael rushed Null head-on, both sai drawn and ready.

"Ahhh!" Raphael yelled, bringing both sai down in a calculated swooping attack motion. "Oomph!"

Null extended one hand and both sai bounced off of it, Raphael’s reversal of momentum sending him careening back to his brothers. "Ho-ho! You’ll have to do better than that, freaks! A lot better!"

"Try this!" Venus shouted at the madman. While Null stared enamored at her, she raised both arms, two kai mi balls quickly becoming charged with her shinobi energies, and hurled both at him.

"What is... urkh!" The two balls exploded against Null’s neck and chest with the force of a shotgun spread. Thrown back, Null slammed against the wall near where Laird was resting unconscious and fought to regain his composure. "That, young lady..." he spoke between huffs, "... was most definitely not called for!"

"Get’im, guys!" Leon shouted, jabbing his human finger at Null.

Before the Turtles could rush Null, however, an energy barrier erupted in front of him. An almost invisible line of energy crackled forth, instantly dividing the living room into two, Null on one side with Laird and the Turtles and Renet on the other.

Null gave his sports jacket a slight tug, straightening it. His tie was tattered now, nearly obliterated by Venus’ onslaught. "Hmf," he grunted at the Turtles, regarding them with a steady ominous gaze. "I’ll give you a respite... just for now. Use it well..." Null casually snapped a finger and vanished from sight, "... and just remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat... or a Turtle. Ta-ta for now."

With his disappearance, the force field vanished as well.

The Turtles rushed forward, Renet and Venus running to Peter Laird’s side. Renet reached to touch his neck.

Leon furrowed his brow, kneeling beside the two women. "Is he...?"

Renet gave a sigh. "He’ll be all right... but he might wake up with the mother of all headaches."

"Thank... goodness?" Leon spoke, but the words began to catch in his throat. His seventeen year-old human body began to shimmer and glow, a searing pain growing from his sternum and spreading to his head. He screamed out loud, toppling to the floor.

A flash of blinding light made each of the Turtles, Renet as well, raise a hand to shield their vision from the awesome glow of the light. When at last the light dissipated from sight Leon lay on the floor unconscious...

... and Leonardo was kneeling next to him, back in his Turtle body.

Renet and Venus perked up.

"Leo!" Venus exclaimed happily as she ran to him.

"When we stopped Null from killing Laird here..." Renet began, it just beginning to make sense to her now, "... that must have stopped what’s causing the mutagen to break down in your bloodstreams... and—"

"Brought me back." Leonardo took a deep breath and exhaled. He held his right hand out in front of him, opened and closed his hand, and dropped it to his side. He held out his left hand... but there was no hand, just a metal cap, the same way it had been the moment before he had been thrown into the body of Leon six years previous, right after the Shogun had perished. He looked the same as his brothers had earlier—Michaelangelo was still the Mike from Dimension C, Donatello was still the Don from Dimension B, and Raphael was still the Raph from Dimension D at the moment—only sixteen years younger.

"It’s good to be back..." Leo said, his voice carrying an almost icy tone, "... and it’s good to be green."

As his brothers and Venus drew closer he startled them by unleashing the blade within his left capped stump, the wakizashi-length blade releasing from it with a loud shikt.

Leonardo wasn’t smiling. "If we can hunt this son of a bitch, let’s hunt this sick son of a bitch," he spoke. If there was a time to start acting like a leader, that time had come. "It’s time to stop screwing around."