During The Summer

Prologue: They're Back

9 Months earlier…

"Don't you see I've got company, Nero? You can't just take me out like this!"

The silver wolf looks back at me, his blue eyes narrow with anger behind his shades. "You're little bunny and fox friends can wait. This is urgent, Leonardo."

"You think I don't know urgent," I argue as he leads me from the crowded airport to his building, TCRI, only blocks away. We get there quick because he forces us to run all the way there. He swings open the bullet proof door as I keep arguing. "I just spent the past three weeks stressing over my family and Shredder and Judy and Lizzy and-"

"Your missing brothers should have been reported. You went against our role of conduct-"

"Is that what you're bringing me here for?! A stupid violation! Saki is my problem, not yours!"

Agent Nero stops outside the computer room door. I stop behind him. He turns to me, teeth bared," He's not just your problem. Not anymore."

He slams open the door and I follow him into the electrified room. Mammals run everywhere, juggling papers and throwing statistics at each other.

Agent Nero leads me through them to the front where a giant monitor tracks techie's progress. I can't help but believe that Donnie will wind up here someday.

Nero turns to an Otter on the far computer and says, "Bring it up."

"Bring what up?" I ask.

The albino wolf glares at me over the top of his sunglasses. "The consequences of you 'Saki' has made for all of us."

The room goes dark, then, a map showing the northern border comes up. In the middle is a red dot. Near it are white lights that signify life signals.

"So." I say," Same thing I've seen before."

"Do you know what that red circle signifies, Leonardo?"

I roll my eyes, "Yes, their-"

"Do you know how many is in that circle, Leonardo?"

I shrug and estimate, "Fifty…maybe a hundred."

Agent Nero nods," Fifty. Very good. That picture is from ten years ago."

"Okay. So…"

Nero waves at the Otter and the picture changes. Now there are three red dots on the screen. "That was only two years ago. And this…" he waves again,"…is today."

The screen changes again and this time, I really do feel fear. If Raph and Jeri could feel what I'm feeling right now, they would never call me Fearless again.

Agent Nero gestures at the screen that does not have three dots or even ten. The whole screen is pure, glowing red. "All that has happened in the past two years. Two years, Leonardo!"

"…Two." I whisper.

"Yes. They started piling up after your fight with Saki the first time. But after that Nighthowler issue in Zootopia, the population boomed. And now that your other battle with Saki has caught wind, the populations have boomed even more. And it's not just here."

The screen zooms out to show the whole world. The whole north is filled with red lights. "It's everywhere."

"Everywhere…" I whisper, the horror making me numb.

"Yes. They saw what happened. They are seeing our vulnerability's. Their coming our way. And they want what's originally theirs."

"What do you expect me to do?" I hiss. "I'm one turtle, Nero. I can't take down an army-"

"Agent Nero, Mr. Hamato, agent. And I expect you to be ready. We're going back to the "stone age" as animals like to call it. Better enjoy the golden age while we can." He starts to leave me before I object.

"You're expecting a war."

"Yes. I also expect you to tell no one of what is happening. We don't need a riot against Higher Up as these…things continue to mobilize."

"What do you believe will stop them this time?"

Agent Nero stops by the door, before he leaves, he says most confidently, "The same thing that stopped them last time. Themselves."

With that Agent Nero slams open the door and marches off.

I snort as I turn back to look at the screen. "Yeah. And what if that doesn't work?"

"Sir." I turn. Every animal in the room is looking at me with fear in their eyes. They don't move a muscle. The Otter says, "What are you going to do?"

"Nothing, "I exhale. "Get back to work. And don't sweat it. We'll be fine. Just…don't sweat it."

With that, I leave the room as fast as Nero did, and don't look back.

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"The Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt