Allie Baker pulled the last of her just-finished school year's papers out of her locker and shoved them into her backpack with a sigh. It was hard to believe that three boring months of freedom were here. And since she had mostly reformed after moving in with her older brother Billy, she really didn't have much to do. Dan Pennington walked up and leaned against the locker next to hers, brushing his red hair out of his eyes. "Glad school's out?"
"Define glad. I don't think our definitions match." She slammed her locker shut and walked with Dan down the hall.
Dan ignored her sarcasm. One got used to it with Allie. "Are you going to the costume blowout at the Gimmick tonight? It's for the end of the year."
Allie laughed, "Always a gimmick at the Gimmick. But I forgot about it. I have to run it past Billy."
Dan staggered back, his hand clutching his chest. "Call the press! Allie Baker is actually going to ask permission to do something!" He stopped his theatrics to run down the hall after her.
Allie shook her head as Dan caught up with her. "You know I'm supposed to."
"Supposed to and actually doing it are two totally different concepts." Their hands hit the bar simultaneous and the double doors clanged open, letting Dan and Allie emerge onto the school steps.
"Billy is not that bad."
He rolled his eyes at her mention of Billy. "Good luck getting him even to listen. I think he's been taking lessons from my dad. He's been so busy lately, he doesn't let you do anything."
"Don't I know it."
"See ya later." He started down the steps that led to the street.
"Later." Another classmate grabbed Allie's arm and physically pulled her into a group's conversation.
Dan shook his head and continued down the steps. That doesn't fit, he thought as he stared at the beat-up van parked on the street in front of the school. A green hand popped out of the window and beckoned him closer. Confused and wary, Dan approached the rattle-trap van, then realized who was inside when the side door slid open. "Are you guys crazy?! What are you doing here? Someone might see you!"
Raph laughed. Dan was always the worrier--he got it from his dad. But he had rescued Splinter from the Shredder and the Turtles don't desert friends like that. "Chill out, Danny. We couldn't wait to show off our new wheels."
"Our only wheels," Leo interjected.
"Whatcha think, cool or what?" Raph continued, ignoring Leo.
"Or what," Dan answered, staring at the computer terminals, radars, and heavy artillery the back of the van camouflaged. "Where did you get this stuff?"
"April hooked me up with some and I built the rest." Donnie lovingly patted a terminal. "I'm working on the body next. But with these Hi-Tech Robberies, we haven't had much free time."
"You're still coming to the party, right?" Dan asked alarmed. "It wouldn't be the same without you guys."
"We're actually wanted, by somebody other than the cops!" Raph grabbed his chest. "Be still my heart!"
"We wouldn't miss it," Mikey said, looking out the shotgun window. "All work and no play make... wow!" He whistled, watching the girl move up the sidewalk past the van. "Who is that chick?"
"Who?" Dan strained to get a better view. "Allie? She's no chick."
"Which angle are you looking from?" The Turtle asked, watching her blonde hair swing across her back with her steps.
"Our families go way back," Dan shrugged. What Mikey could see in Allie sure beat the heck out of him. "She might be coming to the Gimmick tonight."
"Slammin'! Dan, you have got to introduce us."
"Worry about it later, Mikey." Leo started the van. "You know what Master Splinter said."
"I know, I know, we have to clean the Lair. But what's the point? We live in
Splinter leaned back in his chair. His sons raced around the Lair trying to get ready for the party. Maybe cleaning it wasn't a good idea, they couldn't seem to find anything.
Dan stopped in the middle of the room, quickly frisking himself. "Has anyone seen my wig?"
Raph popped a potato chip into his mouth. "Yeah, it's on your head." Dan dropped his hands on his head and rushed to another part of the Lair.
Leo impatiently waited at the foot of the ladder. "Are you guys ready yet?" Donnie, Raph, and Dan joined him as Dan shrugged on his white lab coat. "Mikey, hurry up!"
"I'm putting on my finishing touches!" Mikey hollered from his bedroom.
April clambered down the ladder. "Hi guys!" she forced herself to be cheerful. "Dan, what in the world are you supposed to be?"
"I'm a mad scientist," Dan pushed the black-framed glasses up his freckled nose. "And they're my experiments. If Mikey ever hurries up!"
Raph put an arm around April's shoulders as she nervously bit her lip. "What wrong, Babe? Come on, you can tell us."
"Well," she took a deep breath, "we must have ruffled somebody about these Hi-Tech Robberies." She pulled a crumbled letter out of her jacket pocket. "I found this on my table when I came home a few minutes ago."
Leo smoothed it flat. "It was simple to find you, Ms. O'Neil. However, your friends would not be able to find us so easily if something should happen to you."
"Sounds like a threat to me," Donnie grinned. April frowned. "I guess you knew that."
"Did anyone see you come down here?" Raph asked concerned.
That touched April. Raph had a rough-and-tough exterior but he genuinely cared about her. The other Turtles did too, even if they weren't as serious about it. "No, that door in the basement of my apartment building is coming in handy."
"I don't recognize the symbol it's signed with." Leo brought the letter to Splinter.
"It is a Japanese symbol, possibly a family crest, but I do not know what it means. It does seem familiar."
"If it's okay with you guys, I want to stay down here until I have to go back to the station. I don't want another pile of ninjas jumping into my apartment." April sat on the couch next to Splinter's arm chair.
Mikey quickly trotted out and posed. "Tada! What do you think? Be honest." His outfit was the same as his brothers--just their belts and weapons.
"We can't be honest, Mikey," Donnie answered, "it's too brutal. Now let's go!" Mikey's face fell as they started up the ladder.
"Bye Splinter, April," Raph called.
"Don't wait up for us." Mickey cried and Raph popped him on the arm. "Ow! What was that for?"
Leo stepped behind them and started pushing them up the ladder that Dan and Donnie had already used to escape. "What he means is that we'll remember our curfew, so you don't have to worry."
Splinter shook his head as the sewer cover clanged shut and turned to April. "Kids."