The look on Saki's face was priceless.
Later when he would watch the recording of their video conversation he would pause it and allow himself a laugh.
He had caught Saki with his metaphorical pants down around his ankles.
And it felt empowering.
Staring at his target's image on screen, Bishop couldn't suppress a gloating grin. His eagle eyes did not miss seeing the so-called philanthropist ball his hand into fists when Karai's predicament was revealed. It was a clear indication to Bishop that he had the upper hand.
"You know nothing about me!"
That statement, spoken with such confidence, was posed as a challenge – one that the E.P.F. leader was already prepared to rise above. A military man through and through, John Bishop never attacked without knowing what he was up against. His investigation into his adversary had been extensive and labor intensive. Saki might have been able to fool the public, but his deceptive tactics did not protect him from Bishop's resources. Without a doubt, Bishop knew exactly who and what Oroku Saki was:
A lowly creature spawned from an infamously intelligent alien race that had been outsmarted by a human agent of the United States government.
As Bishop shared a small portion of his vast knowledge, Saki's lips pressed into a thin, angry line. Then the ultimatum was delivered and his dark brown eyes could have burst into raging flames. He didn't give the long-lived alien a chance to bare his fangs in response. Threats didn't interest Bishop. Actions did.
And the time Saki had left to act was fast dwindling.
"You are a fool if you think that my master will give into your demands," Karai proclaimed in a voice colder than ice.
Turning around, Bishop studied his hostage. Her nose was titled upward and she looked down upon him with disdain. The arrogance of the father had definitely been passed on to the daughter.
"He'd be a fool not to," Bishop responded evenly. Linking his hands behind his back, he addressed the two men on his right. "Escort this young lady down to the rail tunnel, secure her in train's second car, and then start the engines. I want to be able to move at a moment's notice. You can keep Miss Saki company until that time." After they acknowledged that they understood his orders, he spoke to the other pair of men. "Secure the perimeter. We're expecting a guest."
While his subordinates scrambled to do his bidding. Bishop checked his watch again. Another three minutes had passed. Anticipation tried his patience. He was eager for this transaction to occur.
When the news about the end of the Triceraton invasion had been confirmed some weeks prior, Bishop was ecstatic. Not only because the threat to humanity had disappeared, but also because a plethora of advanced technology had been left behind by the three-horned aliens. Every single piece of it that fell within the 50 states should have instantly become government property or, rather, Bishop's property. Imagine his surprise when he learned that some civilian had gained ownership of the debris scattered throughout New York City.
Figuring out who that civilian was hadn't been difficult. Saki's generous restoration project raised a huge red flag for Bishop. Donating money to fixing the city was one thing, but volunteering hand-selected men to complete the work was another. News reporters gushed about Saki's love for and dedication to New York, but it was all a ploy. Admittedly, the so-called savior played his part well. He smiled pretty for the cameras, blissfully unaware that he had become engaged in a power play with a man who was equally dangerous, if not more.
Bishop's first move against Saki had been to plant half a dozen moles throughout The Foot organization. All six had carefully crafted identities that would pass any background check. Three were involved in the salvage operations, one was in the laboratory, another was in administrative support, and the final was a simple janitor. Each spy had provided him tidbits of news, but it had been the pseudo-secretary who had ultimately given him the most critical information. While serving their role, that person had fielded and filed reports from both the police and the National Guard detailing the exact location and basic description of all alien tech discovered in the city's five boroughs. It was the contents of those reports that were influencing The Foot's activity.
Which was how Bishop planned to manipulate his new nemesis.
The E.P.F. leader was an expert at falsifying reports. Such a devious action was necessary in order to keep many of the secrets he possessed about his particular type of work secret. Therefore, it was no struggle for him to fabricate a report from the National Guard stating that an alien microchip that had been seized and handed over to a government research group for further study. The report also provided an address for this imagined research group's laboratory – an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn that he could easily utilize for his intentions. Once he was certain that his plan was airtight, Bishop had the double agent secretary pass the fake report through the right channels and then waited for the chaos to unfold.
His sources told him that Saki rarely left his lofty tower located in the heart of Manhattan. It was Karai who was dispatched to handle the most difficult missions and so it was she who Bishop expected to infiltrate the warehouse. Despite her ninja training, he had been able to track her every move from the second she left The Foot headquarters to the second she landed on the warehouse roof. Letting her progress as far as she did was necessary for his trap to work.
And work it did. Beautifully.
"Sir! A vehicle is approaching the building!"
The information transmitted through his radio earpiece brought Bishop out of his reverie. A smile came to his lips. It was show time.
"Northman and Holloway," Bishop called, speaking into the tiny microphone clipped to the collar of his black jacket. "I want both of you up here now to be part of the welcoming party."
"Yes, sir!" a pair of voices responded in sync.
Both uniformed men appeared within seconds, entering the room Bishop occupied at a fast sprint. They flocked to his sides immediately, guns at the ready to protect their commander as they were well trained to do. Coward was not a word Bishop would use to describe himself. Cautious fit better and for good reason. No sooner had his men fallen into place than the whole building gave a tremendous shudder, freeing years of dust from the rafters.
"Sir! The vehicle has just broken through the southern exterior wall!" a frantic voice shared over the radio.
"Well then, stop it by any means necessary," Bishop replied with a tone that suggested the solution to this dilemma should have been painfully obvious.
The black-suited man didn't even flinch as gunfire erupted in the adjoining hall. Tires squealed and several loud crashes sounded. Curious, Bishop flipped his left wrist to check the time on his watch and saw that only twenty minutes had passed since he disconnected the call to Saki. Then something rammed into the solid overhead door with a metallic boom. He glanced up in time to witness a large, high-tech vehicle burst through the door.
"I didn't expect an answer so soon," he said more to himself than to the others.
Engine revving, the elongated car turned and gunned straight for him. Saki's answer was clearly not the one Bishop wanted, but at the very least he still had Karai and protecting that bargaining chip instantly became his highest priority. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he extracted a remote device and made an announcement to his escort.
"Gentlemen, we have a train to catch."
Bishop pressed a button on the remote and the small group began to descend on an elevator to the train tunnel below. Halfway down, the vehicle soared above them, clearing the gap created by the hidden exit. The tunnel door had already slid shut when the car crashed to a stop. Moving quickly, Bishop boarded the waiting train with his two employees hard on his heels. He immediately proceeded to the second car to ensure that his captive was indeed on board. To his extreme satisfaction, Karai was exactly where she was supposed to be and closely guarded by one of the two men he had dismissed earlier.
"Comfortable, my dear?" Bishop asked with a smirk.
The only answer he received was the same frosty glare she had worn for him before. Chuckling with amusement, Bishop left her to stew in her silent anger and headed to the front car where the other man stood ready at the controls.
"Move it out," the government agent ordered.
"Yes, sir," the man replied and released the brakes.
As the wheels rolled forward with increasing speed, Bishop stepped over to a set of video monitors. There were four in total – two for the cameras mounted on the front end of the train and two for the cameras mounted on the back end of the train. The rear cameras revealed that an over-sized man with a long blond ponytail had entered the tunnel. Bishop knew from gathered intelligence that the behemoth's name was Hun and that he was closely associated with Saki. Without mercy or hesitation, Bishop reached over to the train's weapons controls and opened fire on his pursuer.
The shots missed as Hun dove out of the way. Bishop watched Saki's man move his arm like he had thrown something, but he could not determine if an object had left Hun's hand. Regardless, he retaliated by launching a torpedo at Hun who dove aside mere seconds before the rocket exploded. After that, a cloud of dust was the only thing that could be seen chasing the train.
"Sir!" the bald-headed Holloway exclaimed, rushing up to his commander. "A tracking device has been planted on the end car!"
Irritation flashed in Bishop's eyes, but his expression remained calm. His sharp mind worked fast. A second later, he had an amendment for his escape plan.
"Leave it in place," Bishop decided. Turning, he addressed the man at the engine's controls. "Take the train to Station Zeta. We'll confront the enemy there." Then to Holloway, he issued another order. "Notify Captain McKernan that we will be arriving shortly and give him the transmission data for that tracker."
"Yes, sir!" Holloway replied and scurried off to do as he was told.
The train continued at its fast pace for another eight minutes before it began to slow to a halt. Bishop emerged quickly and stepped onto the station platform where two new uniformed men were waiting. The E.P.F. leader approached the white-haired man on the right and skipped formalities to cut straight to the point.
"Captain, we have an incursion at Base Gamma," he declared. "I want full security coverage. Get the bird in the air."
The captain threw a respectful salute. "Sir, yes, sir!"
Needing no further explanation, McKernan spun on his heel and disappeared up the station's stairs at a sprint. The remaining man, a buzzed-cut blond sergeant by the name of Nagel, watched Bishop expectantly as he waited for his orders. By that the time, the four men who had accompanied Bishop had filtered out of the train and fanned out behind him. Bishop gestured at them while speaking to Nagel.
"Sergeant, incorporate these four into your unit and defend the entrance to this building," Bishop commanded, shoving his glasses back up his nose. "Stop anyone who enters without my authority."
"Yes, sir!" Nagel shouted also with a salute. He motioned to the other uniforms. "Let's move, men!"
The group of five was almost at the top of the stairs when Bishop received an update from his eyes in the sky.
"Sir, the target is in sight!" McKernan stated clearly through the radio communication system. "Hun is en route to location via motorcycle!"
"Fire at will, Captain," Bishop granted as he returned to his train.
He strode past Karai to the abandoned engine controls. The fingers of his left hand danced across a yellow-lighted keypad, punching in a command that put the train's autopilot on standby. Should the need arise he would be able to activate it using the remote control in his pocket. Just as his hand lifted away, an alarm began to beep rapidly. Brown eyes shifting over to the computer monitor on his left, he read the alert flashing on the screen and frowned. His helicopter had just been shot down.
"Sir! He's entered the building!"
Bishop grimaced as Nagel screamed in his ear. The sergeant was trying to be heard over the background noise consisting of rapid gunfire and the indistinguishable shouts of men engaged in battle. Apparently, Hun was more capable than Bishop had given him credit for and the scheming government agent had a feeling that he would soon have to contend with the half-giant himself.
"Hold him off as long as you can," he ordered calmly.
Nagel's reply was cut short with an anguished groan. Bishop knew that sound well. It was the sound men made when bullets pierced their flesh. A full minute passed and no further communication came from Nagel. Bishop shook his head in disappointment. The sergeant had been a fine soldier, but his sacrifice was for a greater good.
Mourning period ended, Bishop checked his remote connection to the train's autopilot one last time. He had learned a long time ago not to rely on hope to put him in a positive situation. Therefore, he would not allow himself to believe that his men were going to stop Hun. In order for that to happen, Bishop would have to get his own hands dirty.
Not that he minded. His mouth curled into a determined smile as he proceeded to enact one of the many contingency plans he had in mind. Walking over to the door, he knelt down next to a vented panel that covered a compartment built into the floor. It was meant to house equipment, but it was going to be re-purposed as a hiding spot. As he lifted the panel up, Bishop glanced back over at his imprisoned charge.
"Can I trust you to keep a secret, Miss Saki?" he asked Karai jokingly.
Again, the young woman said nothing. Bishop chuckled as he lowered himself into the compartment. He wouldn't give her a chance to reveal his location and ruin his element of surprise. As he was replacing the panel cover, a garbled message crackling with static came through on his earpiece.
"…Ag-….-shop!...just saw….turtles!...four tur-….here….head-…way!"
That announcement, assuming he'd understood it correctly, made Bishop arch his eyebrow in mild shock. He hadn't anticipated the turtles being a part of this evening's events, but that didn't mean he was incapable of dealing with this wrench in the works. Still, he silently thanked whichever man it was who had been able to provide him with that important news. For now, though, his only possible course of action was to wait.
Soon enough, he heard heavy footsteps thundering down the stairs and across the platform. They quieted just as they came to the open train door. The gaps in the floor panel were just wide enough that he could see Hun poke his head in and turn it from side to side obviously looking for him. Bishop had to bite his lip to keep from laughing at the fact that he was quite literally under Hun's nose. Now wearing tattered rags, Hun stepped inside the car, holding a hefty weapon at the ready as his gaze settled on the woman he was supposed to rescue.
"Karai, I can't tell you how many times I wished to see you exterminated…" Hun declared. The hatred he felt for her obvious was in his tone. As he continued to speak, his head hung in shame and he lowered his gun. "…but now my life depends on saving yours…"
Hun's lapse in focus was the opportunity that Bishop needed. With all the strength he could muster, he kicked the panel away and consequently knocked Hun backwards. The gun fell from Hun's hand as his fingers snatched for a hold on the sides of the door so that he could remain upright. A smug smile was on Bishop's face as he sat up.
"I'll hand it to you…" he said to Hun while preparing to jump out of the compartment. "…you're persistent…" Leaping forward, he grabbed onto the top of the door frame and swung his legs forward, delivering a hard kick to his enemy's stomach that sent him flying to land on his ass several feet away. "…but not exactly bright." Bishop reached for the button that would close the train door and pressed it. "Say goodbye."
Even before the door had slid completely shut, the alien hunter had extracted the remote from his jacket and activated the train's autopilot. He watched Saki's downed man through the red-tinted window as the train started forward. His smirk reappeared when he saw Hun's mouth form a fearful No! that couldn't be heard over the noise of wheels on rails.
Bishop's glee was short-lived, changing to shocked annoyance as Hun rose to his feet and gave chase until he reached a vertical pipe sticking out of the station floor. Hun quickly yanked a portion of the pipe free and drove its end under the third car's wheels. The action caused the entire train to lurch and Bishop had to side-step awkwardly to maintain his balance. Returning to the window, his brow furrowed at seeing Hun straining to hold the pipe in place and thus prevent the train from moving another inch.
As if that weren't frustrating enough, the clan of ninja turtles chose that exact moment to arrive. Bishop spotted them lingering on the station's stairs clearly assessing the situation they had come upon. His teeth clenched at the realization that he now had another problem to deal with. Ruling Hun to be the worse of the two, Bishop glanced around for a means to stop him. His eyes alighted on the dropped gun and he rushed over to pick it up, unaware that his four mutant foes were now watching his every move from above. He opened up the train door and leaned out.
"Didn't I tell you to get lost?" Bishop asked the still struggling Hun. He wielded the large gun effortlessly, aiming it at his very large and very exposed target. "Let me make my point a little clearer…"
Hun pulled the pipe free a second before Bishop opened fire. The bullets missed their target as the train lurched again and continued on its now unobstructed path. Bishop lost sight of Hun, but heard the shattering of window glass. Stepping back into the train, he intercepted Hun as the Purple Dragon ran towards Karai. Hun grabbed for the gun, trying to force it from Bishop's hand. The weapon discharged and sent a volley of bullets ripping through the roof of the train and eventually shot out one of the upper windows.
Their mad dance for dominance had brought them close to Karai's prison. Grunting, Bishop slammed the gun against the bright blue force field which cut it cleanly into a dozen pieces. He gave Hun no chance to process what had happened before rushing him. Hun managed to trap the black-clad agent in a tight grip, but only briefly. Quick as a flash, Bishop broke free and landed a pair of solid kicks to the larger man, forcing him backwards until he crashed into the wall of the train. Bishop jumped a third time, foot aimed for Hun's scarred face. Too late, he saw Hun reach out and catch him by his right leg.
A painful pressure encircled his limb as Hun squeezed both arms around it as tightly as possible. Next he knew, he was being whipped into a door of the train and then into one of the support beams before being pinned to the wall by his shoulders. The rage he felt far surpassed the ache in his body. He was going to bring Hun to his knees. Lifting his head, Bishop smiled dangerously at his opponent.
"Alright, meathead…" he growled. "You wanna play?" His ferocity made Hun's eyes widen in surprise which amused Bishop to no end. He reached his right hand across Hun's right bicep to establish a firm grip on his massive arm. Launching from the wall, Bishop twisted his opponent's arm behind his broad back as he said: "Now we play for real!"
The E.P.F. leader kicked Hun between the shoulder blades, sending him through another door window. Saki's man was going to learn the hard way that his strength was not enough to overpower Bishop's genetically and technologically enhanced body. While Hun was still halfway hanging out of the door Bishop leapt and landed on the back of Hun's right knee. Grabbing onto the door frame again, he braced his feet against Hun's back. He pushed off as Hun whipped around to swipe at him and landed on the door control.
As the door opened on the Purple Dragon's arm, Bishop hit the floor just in front of Karai. He jumped onto the door when Hun pulled it free of its track and knocking him to the ground. Hun recovered enough to throw Bishop off. Landing in a crouch a few feet away, the agent spun around to find Hun back on his feet with the bent door raised above his head. When the door came down, he leapt through the broken window and came down on the top of its frame, levering the opposite end into Hun's gut.
Keeping in constant motion, Bishop jumped and grabbed the edge of a ceiling panel. He pulled it down and swung it towards the hunched over Hun. The pony-tailed man cried out as the heavy metal smacked into his forehead and again when Bishop kicked it into him, knocking him flat.
"You're finished!" Bishop proclaimed as he approached his enemy. "And the lovely Karai is next!"
Despite the excitement, Bishop hadn't forgotten his earlier ultimatum. Saki had failed to deliver the goods and would suffer the promised consequences. Bishop picked up the ceiling panel and flung it aside, barely registering its impact with the force field of Karai's cage because Hun had regained his feet. Dodging a couple swings from abnormally large fists, he came up behind his assailant to snatch a handful of thin, blond hair. He pulled tight, forcing Hun to smack into a support pole before coercing him to his knees in front of Karai. Gripping the back of Hun's head, Bishop pushed it towards the force field.
"…I've…got…to…save…Karai…" Hun grunted, struggling to keep his head up.
Bishop could feel Hun's resistance caving. Grinning, he increased his pressure. His opponent's scarred cheek was mere inches from the damaging oscillation wave. Victory was imminent.
And then it all went to hell in a heartbeat.
He saw Raphael a second too late. The emerald green turtle's foot connected with his chest and sent him to the floor. Recovering quickly, Bishop flipped backwards and landed on one knee. He stood quickly and watched as the other three mutants joined their brother who stood in front of Hun, clearly poised for a fight.
"Ya know, Bishop," Raphael began, his face twisted in a scowl. "Ya gotta be about the only guy I hate more than Hun."
"And that's saying a lot!" Michelangelo chimed in.
Bishop's brown eyes narrowed. The thought that the turtles were allied with The Foot passed as quickly as it came. Saki's organization was exactly the kind of evil that Raphael and his brothers fought to destroy. They would never unite with Hun to attack a mutual enemy. Their honor wouldn't allow it. Any reassurance Bishop might have needed came a second later when Raphael grabbed Hun by the arm and flipped him onto his back.
"And you owe me a new bike, fatso!" the sai-wielder informed his down opponent with a threatening growl.
Bishop didn't know what Raphael was referring to nor did he particularly care. His skirmish with Hun had Bishop riled to the point that he was looking forward to the fight he knew the turtles would be bringing. Just as he expected, it was the hotheaded ninja who sprung first.
The lone agent darted to the side and easily avoided the incoming attack. From the moment he'd first discovered them, Bishop had been studying the turtles' individual fighting styles. If they only knew how many times he had spied on them without detection…through the lenses of his binoculars…by satellite imaging…on rare recorded videos…his methods of observation were many. All of it had been used to his advantage. He had no problem holding his own as first Michelangelo and then Hun joined the melee.
His talents as an effective multi-tasker allowed Bishop to split his focus between the brothers he was fighting and the brothers sidelined by Karai. Obviously, they intended to free her though he didn't have the slightest idea why. Unwilling to lose the power he had over Saki, Bishop tried redirecting himself towards the girl. He gained some ground when he kicked Michelangelo square in the chest and sent him flying backwards. Yet as soon as the youngest turtle hit the floor, Leonardo moved to replace him.
Secretly, the E.P.F. leader admired Leonardo's skills with the katana. An accomplished swordsman himself, he would have enjoyed the opportunity to exchange blades with the mutant. For now, Bishop had to be content with disarming Leonardo sans weapon which he did almost effortlessly and then turned the polished sword against its owner. He watched the muscles in Leonardo's arms twitch as the turtle struggled to keep the sharp blade at bay between the flat of his palms. Then suddenly the sword was gone, kicked away when Donatello had called out to his older brother. Bishop didn't dwell on the lose though. Raphael required his attention.
Engaged with the brightly-masked turtles, Bishop was unable to prevent Karai's release. Unsurprisingly, she sought revenge and rushed for her chance to combat him. She was fast, but not fast enough. Trapping her arms behind her back, Bishop couldn't resist the temptation to mock her.
"I see you've decided to stretch your legs, my dear," he said snidely. "Perhaps I will, too!"
From the corner of his eye, Bishop had seen Raphael approach with his sai drawn. He had deflected the intended blow by using Karai like a puppet and continued to manipulate her as more weapons were raised against him. Then a maneuver from Leonardo relieved Karai of her katana and she nearly lost her head in the process. Again, he spotted Raphael in his peripheral vision. Reaching into the front of Karai's outfit, he retrieved the short blade he knew she housed there and spun around in time to block the sai aimed for his back. Unfortunately, the minor distract allow Karai to slip from his grasp.
The tides were changing and not in Bishop's favor. He battled on gallantly, even resorting to unorthodox techniques in his attempt to entrap Karai once again. His efforts were in vain though. Proud man that he was, Bishop wasn't so stupidly arrogant that he couldn't accept when a battle had been lost. Retreat was his only option now.
"I see the odds have changed," he announced. His eyes scanned the train car for a feasible escape route. Confident in his choice, he smiled. "But I never play the odds…"
A chorus of protests followed him as he leapt over, dodged around, and slid under his opponents. Hustling over to a refrigerated chest set against the wall, he opened it and removed a briefcase from its depths. Hun, being at the back of the group, had run after him, but Bishop leveled him for the umpteenth time that night by whipping the briefcase into his large gut. The agent ran to the front of the train. He was pushing his luck, but he had one final message to share and turned back towards the mutants.
"Oh, before I go, allow me to thank you turtles," he said. The four brothers had paused and stared at him in confusion. Bishop lifted the briefcase as he elaborated further. "Your DNA samples from the last time we met have put my research ahead fifty years overnight." He lifted his free hand for a parting wave. "Ciao."
Leonardo signaled his brothers forward. At the same time, Bishop pushed a lever on the train's control panel. Smoke obscured his view of the turtles and a series of loud popping noises drowned out all other sounds as the front end of the train separated from the rest of the cars. Bishop's escape vehicle rolled forward twenty feet before the rocket engine ignited and propelled him away from his enemies at a rapid speed. He didn't bother looking back. There was absolutely no worry that they would be able to follow him.
Guided by rail and an autopilot navigation system, the vehicle journeyed towards a rendezvous point where he would disembark to board a helicopter. Bishop glanced at his watch. It would take approximately fifteen minutes to reach his destination. Fingers tightening on the handle of the briefcase, he reflected on the night's events. True, he failed to obtain Saki's cache of alien technology and retain Karai, but that didn't make Saki the victor. Not by a long shot.
Bishop's lips curled into a grin as he imagined what Saki's face would look like when he discovered that the alien microchip Karai had scanned was a fake.