Dazzling lights blazed everywhere, reflecting off the tinted windows of countless yellow taxis and lingering at the edges of trash-strewn alleys. Music blasted from the clubs. Bars filled with patrons hoping to drown their sorrows in the depths of glasses brimming with alcohol. People moved up and down the streets at their own pace. Some were looking for fun, others were looking for trouble. Whatever the case, the hustle and bustle of New York that was present in the daytime carried well on into the night.
High above the crowds and noise, the rooftops were cloaked in shadows. The conditions were perfect for a ninja - an advantage of which four mutant turtles were currently taking. Without hesitation, they jumped swiftly from building to building. Their flawless motions, a result of countless hours of vigorous training, allowed them to move together as one. As they bounded to the top of a ten story apartment complex, the blue-clad leader Leonardo raised a three fingered hand, signaling his brothers to stop.
"We're a minute slower on the east side run tonight than we were last time," Leo announced frowning.
"Oh no! Not a whole minute!" The sarcastic remark came from the red wearing turtle Raphael, which only made Leo's frown more pronounced.
"We should be getting better, not worse!" Leo shot back.
Eyes narrowed, Raphael opened his mouth to reply but was cut short by the turtle in purple.
"Don't start in on it you two. It's only a minute, Leo. It's not that big a difference." Donatello reasoned.
"Yeah," the one in orange chimed in. "Besides, Leo, we're supposed to be heading over to April's place, not training for the bazillionth time today."
"You should take your training more seriously, Michelangelo," Leo scolded. "We can't…"
"Enough with the lecture, Fearless," Raph interrupted. "Let's just head over to April's already."
"Fine," said Leo as he walked to the edge of the roof. "Let's go."
His three brothers followed immediately and together they raced across the familiar rooftops that led to their human friend's antique shop.
"Why did April want us to come over?" Leo asked Donnie who was running alongside him.
"I'm not sure, Leo. All she said was that she wanted to talk to us about something," Donnie responded as he flipped to the next building.
"Talk about what?" whined Mikey. "We could have done that over the phone. Why'd we have to go all the way across town just to talk with her?"
"Maybe it was too important that she couldn't discuss it over the phone," Leo suggested.
"Guess we'll find out soon enough," said Raph as they paused at the edge of the building directly across the alley from the Second Time Around Antique Shop. "Casey's here, too," he said as he spotted his friend's motorcycle parked by the wall of the shop.
"Shall we?" inquired Donnie, preparing to jump to the alley below.
"Wait!" Leo hissed, grabbing his brother's arm. "Did you see that?"
"See what?" Mikey asked looking around confused.
"Shhh! Get down!" Leo commanded. "In the shadows by the dumpster, someone's there."
"I don't see anybody, Leo."
"Shhh!" Leo shushed again. "Look."
Moonlight peaked from between drifting clouds, casting a dim light on the dirty alley below. It was enough to reveal a dark figure huddled next to the dumpster. The figure, apparently human, was dressed from head to toe in black with the face hidden as well. Only two bright white eyes could be seen. Slowly, it began to creep towards the door leading to April's apartment above the shop.
"Is that a Foot soldier?" Donnie whispered.
"I don't know 'bout that, bro. But I do know there ain't no way I'm letting that thing sneak up on April!" Raph replied. With that, the red masked turtle leaped over the side of the building.
"Raph, wait!" Leo cried a second too late.
Raph pulled out his twin sai as he approached the ground, eager to do battle. Startled by the yells and sudden appearance of Raphael, the figure turned quickly. The mystery person was momentarily caught off guard, but the feeling was quickly replaced by anger for the disruption of their mission. Growling, Raph rushed forward raising his weapons as he prepared to strike. It was his turn to be surprised as another pair of sai clashed against his own.
"You're a turtle?" the figure exclaimed in a high pitched voice.
"You're a girl?" Raph yelled in disbelief.
"Yes, I am," the figure grunted, sending Raph flying through the air with an expert twist and shove.
Seeing his brother land hard against the brick wall launched Leonardo into action. Katana drawn, he jumped to the alley floor.
"Who are you?" Leo demanded. "Why did you attack him?"
"Hey, he started it! I was defending myself! Like I am now!" the female shouted as Leo swung his blades at the unknown individual. Her sai had somehow been replaced instantaneously by a pair of katana with which she effortlessly blocked his move.
"How did you…" Leo began, but he didn't finish the question. He himself had been sent flying with a hard kick to the chest. Disarmed, his katana slid across the pavement in different directions.
"Whoa! We gotta help our bros, dude!" Mikey told Donnie. Together, they jumped to the fight below with weapons out.
Mikey charged first. "Let's see if you can beat me!" he laughed, twirling his nunchuks. A second later he crashed into the ground next to Leo. "Looks like you can," he groaned at the female standing across the alley from him, her own black nunchuks gripped in hand. Sensing Donatello coming, she spun around to meet him. The nunchukas were gone and a bo staff lay in her hands instead.
"What are you doing sneaking around April's store? Planning to rob the place?" Donnie probed as his bo staff was blocked by the other.
"My business here is none of yours!" she snapped. Pushing Donnie back, she hooked her bo staff under his and launched him into Michelangelo.
"It's our business when ya start messing with our friends!" Raph yelled having recovered from his contact with the wall. He twirled his sai and positioned himself into a fighting stance. "I ain't about to let you hurt 'em!"
This time the female rushed forward. Once again, the two sets of sai met. They struggled against one another, each trying to get the upper hand. "I didn't come here to hurt April O'Neil!" she insisted.
"Oh, really? Then what's with all the weapons yer packin'? Accessories for that wannabe ninja get up?" Raph snarled. He suddenly lifted his right hand straight up, freeing his sai from the girl's. A hard punch to the side of her face freed his other sai as well.
"No, they're for protecting myself against idiots like you who misinterpret the situation!" she shouted. She crouched down as Raph charged towards her and extended her leg, tripping him.
"Then tell us what the situation really is!" Leo ordered. He had picked up his katana and now stood in front of the girl, ready to spar.
"I did not and do not have any intention of causing April O'Neil harm." she said, circling slowly as Leonardo did, katana clenched tightly in hand. "I came here tonight to speak with her. That's all." The two crossed blades once more.
"About what?" Leo asked as he blocked a swipe at his head. "Why the disguise? Are you with the Foot?"
The girl leaned away as the turtle leader swung his katana at her. "I am with no one! I seek Miss O'Neil because she knows who I'm looking for!" A perfectly executed maneuver by Leonardo sent her katana to land five feet away. She flipped over Leo to retrieve them but found that Michelangelo was blocking her way.
"You mean you don't?" Mikey grinned. He wrapped his nunchuk around her wrist, pulling her to her knees.
"I'm looking for one called Hamato Splinter!" the girl spat. All four turtles gasped. She jerked her trapped arm fast, bringing the jokester facedown into the alley floor. Jumping up, she raised her Bo staff to Donatello for the second time.
"Master Splinter?" Donnie asked blocking her attack. "What do you want with our sensei?"
"Your sen….?" The girl began. Her eyes widened in shock as realization set in. Donnie used her small lapse of concentration to send her sliding into the side of the dumpster. She recovered quickly. Spinning her staff, she ran at Donnie. "I was sent here by my father to find your master. He was a friend of Hamato Splinter." A swift move relieved the purple turtle of his staff and left him sprawled on the ground yet again.
"Friends? With our Master?" Leo questioned. Hesitantly, he raised his katana.
"So it seems," said the female. Eyes darting from brother to brother, she braced herself for a new assault. It came from the hot head.
"Why should we believe you?" growled Raph, aiming to land another punch on his opponent's face.
She stopped his fist with her palm before it could find its mark. Grabbing his upper arm with her other hand, she flipped him. The move forced him to crash against the dumpster with a loud bang. "Because it's the truth," she stated.
"What is going on out here?" The door to the antique shop burst open. In the doorway stood Casey Jones, baseball bat in hand. Behind him stood April. Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo paused at the arrival of their human friends. Raphael, however, was still battling the strange female dressed in black. The two were now engaged in a brutal fist fight and paid no attention to the other's presence.
"Leo, what..." April tried to ask, but was interrupted by Raphael slamming into the dumpster again.
"Hey! You can't do that to my friend!" Casey shouted. Before anyone could stop him, the vigilante swung his bat into the back of the girl's masked head. A sickening crack echoed in the alley and the ninja girl fell face first to the ground with a loud groan. For a few seconds, nobody moved or spoke. The silence was broken by April.
"Will someone please tell me what just happened?"she begged.
"Yeah, who is this guy?" Casey added, whirling his bat triumphantly.
"We don't know who that girl was," Leo explained.
"Girl? That was a girl?" asked Casey unbelievingly. "I just hit a girl?"
"Yeah, you knocked her out, too," Mikey said.
"Bout time someone did!" Raph grumbled as he got up from beside the dumpster, rubbing his shoulder gingerly.
"Raph!" Donnie admonished.
"She was asking for it!" Raph retorted.
"Guys! Knock it off!" April shouted. "Let's just find out who she is!"
The four mutant turtles and the two humans crowded around the limp figure. April reached for the mask and slowly pulled it off. Six mouths dropped simultaneously.
"Oh my!" April gasped.
"What the?" Casey hollered.
"Eep!" Mikey squeaked.
"No way!" Raph yelled.
"It can't be!" Donnie murmured.
"She's a…she…she..." Leo stammered.
There on the alley, lay a female turtle.