Family, Friends, and Foes

Chapter Fourteen
No Name Calling

Raphael sighed as he sat in the window and looked at the now sun-drenched street. He turned his head slightly and glared at the tan and blue skyscraper. I should've paid more attention. And now Donnie and Zack are paying for my stupidity.

He hugged himself. And how he reacted to Allie; damn why did she bring out the angriest in him? Mona said he would find more in common with Allie if he gave her a chance. He sorta promised that he would try.

But why should that promise mean anything when Mona was just using me? His chest tightened as his heart beat harder. She was smart, funny, pretty, and didn't want him. He knew it was too good to be true. You can't trust anybody.

Well, no one but family. And April and Casey and Dan and Keno and Allie and Zack. And she understood me. Why couldn't it've been real? Raph sighed. None of this was helping Donnie or Zack. He got up. He really needed to pound on somebody, anybody. He went searching for Leo.

Charley stirred and rolled a little more to the side. Throttle murmured without words and nuzzled her. She opened her eyes and gasped. Leo jumped back. "Where did you come from?"

"Sorry, wasn't trying to wake you up. But you're the mechanic that owns the Last Chance Garage?"

"Yeah, why?"

Throttle yawned and blinked at Leo.

The Turtle wearing the blue bandanna mask shrugged. "Our van is in lousy shape and we might need it."

"Alright, all right," she sighed and sat up slowly, careful not to hurt the tan-furred mouse under her.

"You must be a morning person." His gloved hand groped for his field specs, just out of reach of his questing fingers. She grabbed them off the shelf behind the couch and put them on his face.

"If your brother was in there being used as a lab rat, think you could sleep?" Raphael's intense voice joined them. He stood at the table and used his strange-shaped daggers to impale a slice of pizza.

"Touché," Throttle sat up and started pulling on his boots.

"If you're going out, can you guys bring back breakfast?" Vinnie asked sleepily.

Charley balled up the blanket and chunked it at the white-furred mouse's head. It loosened and wrapped around his head.

Throttle chuckled and grabbed her hand as Vinnie scrambled to pull the blanket off. They headed down to the garage. He settled on his bike and pulled Charley on behind him. "Don't have room for both of ya."

Leo waved it aside. "We remembered the way."

Charley turned, concerned. At least, the guys covered up their heads with their helmets. "But if someone sees you?"

"We are ninja."

"Yeah, but...." The garage was empty. "Whoa."

Throttle pulled her helmet off her bike with his tail and passed it to her. "S'hidean nul," he said with a touch of respect in his voice. Her "what?" started him back to the here and now. "It means warriors of the desert. They said that they could fight without even disturbing the sand."

"Well you guys would never qualify." Charley grinned as she wrapped her arms around his waist.

"Ancient history, Charley-girl. Those warriors haven't existed since the mice left the caves for the cities." He wrapped his tail around her waist as they roared down the street. "Sorry, didn't mean to bore you with a history lesson."

"You guys never bore me talking about Mars. You can tell me more."

"Really? Okay, I'll tell you more about Mars and you can explain disco."

Manuelo's head hurt worse than the day after he introduced the Biker Mice to Cinco de mayo. He slowly cracked open his eyes. The sunlight brightening the room had the same quality of sunlight blocked by white blinds. His eyes and head wanted to return to the soothing darkness. What time was it? How long had he been out? And where was he? He turned his head slightly to view the room better. Once the stabbing pain subsided, he saw shelves filled with bottles and boxes lined one long wall. Across the narrow room from the shelves, chairs and pieces of tables were stacked neatly. The door was at the other end of the room from where he was laying. The window was set in the narrow space between the top of the shelves and the ceiling. He was lying on a cot and was covered with a blanket. He decided to try moving.

He swung his feet to the floor and sat up. The long room swayed. He let out an involuntary groan as the throbbing in his head shifted. He clutched the metal frame of the cot to stop the room. Moving wasn't such a good idea.

"Awake already?" A black-haired gringo with a bushy, black beard walked in through the open door. "Take it easy, man. You got banged up pretty good." His large hands grabbed Manuelo's thin shoulders and steadied him.

He concentrated on those muscular hands, trying to find a coherent thought. They were tough, callused hands with white patches of scar tissue across the knuckles and clipped-short nails; working hands not unlike him own. "Where am I?" He asked slowly. Please, not the Pits. Serafina couldn't stand it again.

The man decided Manuelo was going to stay upright and let go of his shoulders. "My bar, Pete's Chi-town Tavern. Some friends of mine found you and brought you here. I decided to let you wake up before taking you to a hospital. Do you remember what happened to you?"

Manuelo closed his eyes. The door flew into his face. The wall fell. He felt his hands slip of the roof's railing. I fell from the black van. My family is in the van. Limburger Tower. "Sí, I remember. Ma familia is in trouble."

Pete's frown was mostly hidden by his beard. "Let's deal with you first. Do you wanna go to a hospital?"

"No time for a hospital. Ma familia needs me." Manuelo took a deep breath. The pain in his head faded the longer he kept it up. The room had stopped moving. He could see the back of the bar counter with all its open shelves outside the door. Limburger Tower. I need help, mouse help. "Do you know where the Last Chance Garage is?"

"The Last Chance? Sure, it's just a few blocks away. Why is Charlene suddenly so popular? Is she involved in what's going on?"

Manuelo blinked his brown eyes. "I don't think so. She knows where to find mes amigos."

Pete still frowned, but banging on a door snagged his attention. He sighed. "Let me go deal with that." He left the room.

There wasn't time to go to a hospital, besides he wasn't hurt that bad. Manuelo tried to think things through. He couldn't spend time with this well-meaning man when there was no telling what that desperado Limburger was doing to his family. He lurched to his feet and stumbled to the door. His head didn't throb. As long as it didn't throb, he could walk. He had to find the Biker Mice.

He concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. That got him out from behind the bar counter. Pete was nowhere in sight, but the front door was. He took wobbly steps. They carried him out of the building. He blinked at the street outside. Yes, he knew where he was now. He stumbled down the street.

She had him. Her claws dug into the muscles of his arms. He couldn't break free. She pulled him off his feet and shrieked in his face, baring her gleaming fangs. His head throbbed. He tried to kick her but something was tangled with his legs and immobilized them. He tried to scream but all that would come out was a whimper, "Dad."

The gentle touch of a cold metal hand melted away her digging talons. "S'alright, Sparks. Just a bad dream. I'm here."

Sparks burrowed against Modo's warm furry chest as his father's strong arms wrapped around him. "She had me again."

"She won't get you again," Modo rumbled as he petted Sparks's hair and hugged him a little tighter. "I won't let her get you again."

Sparks clutched the larger mouse. "I hate being little," he said fiercely.

"You won't be little forever."

Throttle and Charley roared up to her dingy, brick, two-story garage. "We must have beat them here," she observed gazing around the deserted street.

"Just barely," Leo said quietly behind her. She shrieked slightly as she jumped and twisted around to see them. Leo stepped back and rubbed the side of his head. "Why do women always do that when we show up?"

Throttle chuckled. "She has that reaction to us a lot too."

"Fine, keep it up. And see how long it takes me to fix your van." She climbed off the back of the bike and unlocked the garage door.

Throttle pushed his bike inside and parked it as close to the wall as he could. The van, the car, and one of Limburger's dune buggies were all parked inside. "You want some coffee, babe?"

"Yeah, only don't blow up the coffee maker again."

"Aw that was Vinnie." He went through the swinging door as she started her slow walk around the yellow and green van.

The front was smashed and the buckled hood propped up. She peered inside the engine and sighed. The radiator was ruptured, the engine block cracked and had flattened everything else behind it. Not to mention the pistons, spark plugs, turbine, belts, hoses, and everything else under the hood. The front wheels were definitely out of whack with each other and the axle was probably broken or bent. Toward the middle, the frame was bent and that sent a ripple effect into the body above it. The sliding door would have to be replaced. She sighed and prayed for the coffee to drip faster. "What happened?"

"I drove it into a hole." Raph's clipped tone answered.

"You didn't even try to avoid it?"

"Yeah, I tried!"

"Blowing the hole right in front of you makes it hard to maneuver," Leo interjected.

"I should've seen it," Raph growled.

His bad attitude was starting to fall into place now. He's blaming himself and lashing out at us because we're here and because we're letting him. Well, one isn't a true wrenchjockey in this town until you've learned how to handle the badass bikers. And I am the best wrenchjockey in Chi-town.

She slammed her hands on her hips and stared down at him. "Look Mr. Chip-in-his-shell! I'm sorry that you were behind the wheel and you think you should've been able to do something. And I'm sorry that your brother was captured. But we're on your side and you better remember that and shut your mouth before yelling at us!" She heard the kitchen door swing open and shut and felt Throttle waiting to jump to her defense. But she didn't take her snapping green eyes away from Raph's hazel ones.

Raph glared up at her. "Can you help us?" His tone was still arrogant.

"Those guys jumped Olympus Mons on bikes I souped up." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder to Throttle. "I'm the only one in this city that can get that hunk of junk drivable and turn it into an urban assault vehicle in the time we have."

A smile suddenly broke out on his face. "Then let's see you work, lady."

"Okay then." Charley turned and opened the driver's side door of the van. And the green form sprawled on the front seat twitched and stretched. And another eek! escaped from her mouth.

The three males jumped to her side as the lithe green female sat up. "Yeah, I'm sure you're not a sight when you first wake up," she muttered as she rubbed her eyes and blinked at them.

"Mona?" Leo asked in shock.

The girl put down her hands and showed her broad green face--similar to the Turtles'--and warm brown eyes underneath her brown bangs. "What? You were expecting Madonna? Man, I was expecting you guys hours ago. Hi Raph."

The red-masked Turtle's face was stony again. "We don't need you here." He turned and walked into the garage's office.

The shy smile on Mona's face disappeared. "Well, I didn't expect him to gush." Her tone was flippant to hide her pain. Charley could still see it though.

"He's been in a mood since we left New York," Leo explained.

"Hey mechanic-lady, you got a message on your answering machine," Raph called out.

"Probably the Taurus owner. That guy has been bugging me since he left the car." She headed into the office. Raph was glaring out the door's window. "The name is Charley Davidson."

"Charley, right." He didn't turn around.

The answering machine sat on the corner of her desk. She sighed and hit play. The oily voice sent a wave of repulsion through her. "Throttle!"

He rushed into the office with Leo and Mona on his heels. "What?"

She hit rewind and adjusted the volume.

"Oh how fortuitous. You're not at home," Limburger voice oozed through the speaker. "I haven't given you the opportunity to hang up on me. But this call isn't for you, Ms. Davidson, or those vilely valiant voles. It's for your new friend, the human girl in black, the ninja. I wish to have an interview with her. I am prepared to meet her at the time and place of her choosing. And before you dismiss this as a ploy for a cheap and cowardly attack, I would like to offer you a compelling reason to consider. The children escaped, but the human is feeling quite poorly by now. And your medical facilities are unable to cope with it." He chuckled, "Earth facilities are incapable of helping him. It would be such a shame for him to die when a simple talk with me could insure his survival. I'll be waiting to hear from you."

Charley hit save on the answering machine automatically and turned to Throttle. He was leaning against the wall with his right foot flat against the wall. He shook his head. "What is that damned fat fish up to?"

Leo frowned. "We can't tell Allie."

"Why not!" Raph pivoted around. "Zack's life is on the line!"

"He doesn't have an antidote," Throttle explained. "Limburger's just up to an old Plutarkian double-cross. Though I don't know what he thinks he can do with Allie."

"Plutarkian? What's a Plutarkian? He's the guy kidnapping people." Mona's confused face turned to everyone in the group.

"Come on, Raph. She would go and it's a trap and boom the Hamato clan is dead. Exactly what we're not supposed to let happen," Leo said patiently.

Raph muttered something unintelligible under his breath and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Okay, I am so confused. Who needs an antidote? And who the heck are you?" Mona asked the least while pointing to Charley and Throttle.

"What happened was you never told us anything about you or Mutates or Val Tech and now Zack is dying!" Raph growled. He jerked open the door to the street and stormed out.

Throttle moved to go after him. Leo stopped him. "He needs to blow off some steam. He'll be alright."

Mona still stared bewilderedly. "What's wrong with Zack?"

"Val Tech tagged him in New York and thought he was Allie. Snake-eyes advised us to leave New York and Di suggested Chicago. Only we were attacked when we got here last night, and Zack, Donnie, and Di were captured. They rescued Zack, but he had already been injected with the mutagen." Leo stopped as he saw Mona's expression.

The lizard girl stumbled back and found a bench to sit on in the garage. "He only got one shot? Oh god, Leo. We all thought you were Mutates that didn't want anything to do with Val Tech. Then I met you guys and you guys dragged me to see Allie. She told me what you were and asked me not to get the Mutates involved in fighting the Shredder. And I wasn't supposed to tell Mutates stuff to outsiders. So I just told Snake-eyes what little bit I had to and kept my mouth shut about me. And then everything happened and it seemed more important to keep Allie from going off and committing ritual suicide or something. And we've always been good about keeping Val Tech out of New York. I figured we had time to explain the Mutates stuff before Val Tech found out you guys were worth hunting."

"It's not your fault, Mona." Leo said when she paused for breath. "We were patrolling and Raph and Zack got hit by trackers. That's how they found out we weren't Mutates. That's why they want us."

She nodded miserably. "Allie said you were risking your shells enough with the Shredder. She didn't want Val Tech hunting you too."

"Well, they're after the Martians too."

Her questioning expression turned from Leo to Charley to Throttle. "Yes, Martians from Mars. I'm Throttle and this is Charley. Who isn't a Martian."

"I guessed that." She still looked confused but her brown eyes turned from Throttle and Charley and focused on the floor.

All this on top of the guy she must like yelling at her and storming off. And I have a feeling what she has to tell us isn't any better. "You said something about Limburger kidnapping people?" Charley asked gently.

Mona's head jerked up. "Yeah. He brought in about seventy people, grabbed 'em just like Val Tech."

"The Plutarkians and Val Tech have teamed up," Leo said.

"Limburger is an alien here to strip mine the planet," Charley explained. "They already wrecked Mars."

"What will they do with all those people?" Throttle asked.

"If Val Tech is there, they'll keep them prisoners to prevent us from attacking and eventually mutate them." Mona sighed, "And none of the cells in Chicago are fighters. The ones that are left. Most of them are fleeing. I figured Allie could get them out, but if Zack is...." Her voice trailed off.

"We've got enough fighters." Leo started counting off, "us, the Martians, the Black Bones."

Mona looked more hopeful. "Then we might have a chance to save them?"

"Yeah and hopefully Donnie and Di can save Zack."

Charley grabbed up a socket wrench and spun the socket as she walked to the van's open hood. "Then we better get busy. You guys just became the pit crew for this van." She relished their shocked expressions before bending into the engine and barking out orders.

Vinnie pulled the blanket off his head and the recliner jerked upright. He sighed and bounded over to the table of leftovers. Avoiding the dreaded cheese on the pizzas, he grabbed five of the white boxes. Tala's kitchen area had a microwave. Charley never let them touch her microwave. But it didn't look that hard.

Food in. He set the white boxes inside. Shut door, five minutes, and start. And Charley-girl makes cooking sound like such a chore.

Strange popping sounds came from inside. Orange flames blossomed on the white boxes. "Whoa! You're supposed to zap the food not flame-broil it!"

Someone ran up behind him and jerked him out of the way. Tala blasted the inside of the microwave with a fire extinguisher. "Damnit Vinnie!"

"I was just trying to eat! Wanna hit me for that too?"

She sighed as she pulled out a sodden white box. "You can't put metal in microwaves." She showed him the blackened metal handle before chunking the mess into the garbage can.

Vinnie shuffled his feet. "I didn't know. Just like I didn't know you were gonna pop me in the face last night."

"I'm sorry about that." Her eyes remained focused on the mess.

"You said you didn't like sleeping on your ship," he said petulantly.

"I don't."

"Then why did you hit me?" He knew why, he just need to hear her say something.

"I didn't know where I was. I'm sorry." She still didn't look at him.

"You don't sound very sorry."

Tala whirled at that. She grabbed the bandanna tied around his neck and jerked him to her. Electric jolts from her lips on his sent spasms into his brain. She finally let him go. "Does that convince you? Clean up this mess and put the food you want to eat on a plate. I'm going to check on Zack."

The elevator was already going up by the time he recovered enough to stammer, "Yeah."

Allie awoke with a quick startled motion. She sat up and recognized the metal room with a sinking heart. She reached her feet and looked down in the bed at Zack. The ridges underneath his eyebrows were larger and his fingers were growing sharp talons.

Mike stepped up to her. "Here, breakfast."

"Not hungry."

"The Ronin needs food," he said softly.

He knew what buttons to push. She took the cold slices of pizza from him and sat down in the chair. She mechanically ate the food that only her stomach seemed grateful to get.

Mike swallowed hard as he watched her with concern. "Should I go find Leo and see what's going on or do you want me to stay?"

Her feelings always came first for him. Probably 'cause she always put them last. "I want you to stay. But we need to know what's going on. I'll be okay."

"You sure?"

"Just don't leave me out of any shell kicking."

He grinned, "I never do," and left her alone in the room.

She stared at Zack, unable to look anywhere else. She remembered his first steps. She had been the one to hold his tiny hands and guided him around the room. Their parents were dead and Billy had been taken away. She had been the one he depended on not to let him stumble and fall. And she had failed. Her vision swam.

"Are you okay?" Allie looked up and blinked her eyes rapidly in order to see. The tall woman with short, dark blonde hair that Vinnie had latched onto during the fight stood in the doorway. She was obviously uncomfortable with Allie's presence. Or maybe it was just the tears.

"I'm coping." Allie took a deep breath to control her shaky voice. "You the medic?"

"More or less. I have the equipment and MC has the medical sub-program. But battlefield bandaging doesn't help with this."

"No joke. Am I in the way?"

"I need to get to the terminal. Time to run a diagnostic." Allie got out of the chair and moved back to the other side of the bed.

An electronic-synthesized voice spoke through the speaker. "The changes have slowed but still progressing. A dosage of ibicoian was given at five a.m. local time. The mutation rate and pain reactions have slowed since, Mistress Tala."

Tala stared at the computer screen. "I'm learning more about genetics than I ever expected to. Don't give him another dose. Remember my reaction?"

"Yes, Mistress Tala. But it is the strongest pain reliever available. And your usual dosage was halved for this patient."

"I understand."

"I don't," Allie took a deep breath. "Have you given my brother something dangerous?"

"It's not found on Earth. And MC was in the habit of doubling dosages for anything to have an effect on me. Nearly had a heart attack the first time we used ibicoian. But the dosage in your brother is well below that and it's working fine."

She looked at Tala dubiously. Then at Zack. "He does look like he sleeping."

"All we can do at this point is monitor him and keep him comfortable."

"We really appreciate it. Thank you."

Tala shrugged it off. "One good turn deserves another, I suppose. Sparks keeps saying he saved him." She stood up. "Time to make the rounds and see how intact my building is."

Allie watched Zack as Tala left the room. He slept quietly, undisturbed by anything in the room.

Throttle gratefully drained the root beer can. He didn't remember ever stripping a vehicle as fast as Charley had them strip the yellow and green van. The parts littered the garage bay. They had kept the garage bay closest to the office free for parking, though most of that space was already taken. The lizard-girl sat on the bench next to him. The Turtle in the blue-mask leaned against the wall.

Mona continued to flex and shake her hand. "Did we piss off your girlfriend?"

The tan-furred mouse glanced at the storage space where Charley hid the weapon components. She had disappeared into it, looking for something. "Nah, this is how she gets with a deadline. But she ain't gonna make this one. Your van is just too messed up."

Leo frowned. "Can it be fixed? We sorta need it."

"Charley can fix anything," Throttle declared.

"And you guys have given her plenty of practice," Mona replied with a smirk.

"Howdja know?"

"It's a girl thing."

Throttle crushed the can in his hand. "As I was saying, she can fix it, but not before we get those people away from Limburger and company."

"He's your enemy; what are his weaknesses?"

"You gotta couple of free years?"

Leo chuckled. "That bad, huh? Getting Donnie and Di will be easy at least."

"Yeah? Take a look." Throttle waved his hand at Charley's binoculars on the windowsill. The Turtle picked them up and focused out the window.

"Well, do either of you two have any bright ideas what to do about the norms?" Mona combed her bangs straight back with the rest of her hair. The bangs refused to stay.

"The what?"

"Norms, normals, non-mutated humans, the prisoners."

"He's gotta army around that building!" Leo's voice rose slightly as he adjusted the binoculars. "Nobody thinks that's weird?"

"No, they don't." Throttle sighed and turned back to Mona. "I really don't know. We can't use our usual tactics with that many people. Maybe we can use Tala's transporter."

She gave up trying to fix her hair. "Transporter? Beam me up, Scotty?"

"Yeah, the Plutarkians got the technology from somebody and spread it around the galaxy. Only problem is Tala likes getting paid for doing hero work."

"You can get paid?"

"Are those laser guns? Gees, over fifty of those on that wall! And cannons on the roof? The Shredder was never this obvious."

"Limburger's never heard of overkill." Throttle told him.

"Apparently." Leo turned from the window, setting the binoculars back. "Never had the chance to sneak into a place as heavily guarded as that building is."

"I'd be more worried about the getting out part," Mona said.

Charley crawled out of the storage space on her hands and knees. She stood up and kicked the small door shut. "Where are the laser cells? Laser energy cells?" Throttle continued to look at her blankly with a small shrug from his shoulders. She blew her bangs away from her eyes. "The ones from the Stench Carrier?"

"Oh those. They're at our pad. Too big for the garage."

She sighed. "Well, that idea will have to wait." She stared at the van.

Mona sat up straighter. "Does this mean the break lasts longer?" She wilted slightly under Charley's dirty look. "Gees, I guess they've given you a lot of practice with those too."

Leo sighed as he turned back to the window. "And they said things would be worse if we stayed in New York." He stiffened, turned back, and pulled Mona off the bench. "A human is coming," he said quickly before she could protest.

Throttle grabbed the car creeper and slid beneath the van. Hopefully, the Turtle was as good at hiding as he was sneaking up on people. They just had to hang tight until Charley got rid of whoever it was. He heard her jog to a yellow body panel from the van and drag it on top of two sawhorses.

"Señorita Charley? I need... I need...." Throttle heard a body crumple on the concrete.

"Manuelo?" Her boots pounded against the concrete. "THROTTLE!"

He pulled himself out and ran around the van. Charley had Manuelo's head in her lap, trying to wake him back up. He knelt next to their friend, who was in worse shape now than he was in the Pits. A white-powder covered his clothes, but a Band-Aid had been placed across his nose. "What the hell happened to him? Manuelo? Amigo?"

Charley looked behind him. "Get some water!"

Mona grabbed a paper cup from the water cooler dispenser set outside the office door and filled it. She passed it to Charley. "Got a first aid kit?"

Manuelo's brown eyes blinked open. "Throttle. Amigo."

He clasped the coffee-colored hand with his gloved-hand. "Yeah, it's me. What happened?" That unleashed a torrent of Spanish from the small man. The field specs slid down his snout a little, but seeing a confused expression didn't make Manuelo switch back to English.

Mona gasped. "He said his family was taken to Limburger Tower in black vans. The norms they took last night!" Her expression gained more annoyance glancing at Throttle and Charley's faces. "What? Just because I'm green means I can't be bilingual?"

Throttle looked back down at Manuelo while Charley helped him sip the water. "All of them?"

"Sí, all of them." Manuelo blinked back the upwelling of tears in his eyes.

Throttle closed his eyes with a grimace. Manuelo's wife, Serafina, who reminded him so much of Modo's mother, holding their family together while Manuelo was gone. His sister, Nina, who helped Charley patch him and his bros up when they got hurt really bad. And the kids, he could still feel Isabel's arms around his neck and hear her giggles as he carried her piggyback in the race against Modo and Felipe and Vinnie and Manuela. Anyone who hurt their friends would pay. For Limburger's sake, nothing had better have happened to them yet. He felt his face harden and he pushed the field specs back in place before opening his eyes. "We'll get them back. Biker's honor."

The first glimmer of hope appeared in Manuelo's bleak expression. "Gracias, Throttle, gracias."

"There is no way we can get seventy people past that army," Leo said standing somewhere behind Throttle's back.

"Then we'll just have to come up with a way."

The phone started ringing before Leo could respond. "Answer that, please." Charley ran her fingers through Manuelo's curly, black hair looking for more injuries.

Leo sighed, but the phone was picked up. "Last Chance Garage? Um, Charley's a little busy right now. How did you know? Okay, I'll tell her." He stepped out of the office. "That was a Pete, who said to tell you that he trusts you, but he wants to know the whole story after this mess is cleaned up, or he'll tell the strays all the embarrassing moments he remembers from your childhood."

Charley's cheeks went red. "He would, too. Oh boy, this is gonna be fun."

The phone rang again. "Last Chance Garage?" Leo was silent for a while. "Uh huh, okay. I think we're done here. We'll be there as soon as we can." He hung up. "That was Vinnie. Apparently, they're getting antsy back at Tala's."

"Vinnie stays antsy," Throttle replied. "But we do have work to do. Manuelo, can you ride?"

"Not a bike."

"Get him to my tow truck," Charley ordered briskly. "I'll drive it back."

Throttle nodded. "Let's roll. We got people waiting for a rescue."

Raph stopped in the garage of Tala's building. His anger was fading but the pain of seeing her remained. Damn, damn, damn. Why doesn't she trust me? Why didn't she trust me then? Maybe if we had known we could've protected Zack.

She was still trying to play him, still spying. Damnit, why don't she just come clean? Then we can move on. He sighed. Move on to where? I don't want no psycho girlfriend.

Not that Allie and Lotus were psycho. It's just Lotus took the whole enlightenment quest as seriously as Leo. There was more to life than meditation. And Allie, she had to be cracked. First trying to be a ninja just because her grandfather and brother were ones and then trying to take their job. Though she did have more reason than anyone to kill Oroku Nagi. But it tore her apart. She should've left it to us. He headed up from the garage. Someone needed to check on Zack.

She was still there, staring at her brother like a carved stone statue. Don't she feel anything? "How is he?"

Only her eyes moved, flicking to see him and flicking back to Zack. "They gave him some pain killer that is working. Other than that no change."

How can she be so calm about her own brother? He's dying instead of her! "Why didn't you tell us about all of this?" he demanded.

"The same reason I don't tell anyone about you guys." The muscles on her throat clenched slightly.

"You should've said something! Zack is dying because they were after you!"

"I know that!" She swallowed hard, and continued staring at Zack. "But I'm supposed to break my word to potentially keep Zack safe?"

Raph clenched his fists. "Hide behind honor, you coward! You ran away from your fight and didn't want us to know that you did. And you won't even talk to that Limburger guy about an antidote, too afraid of a trap!" She was staring at him with that same calm, infuriating expression. "We'll save your ass just like we always do!"

He couldn't look at her anymore. He stormed away, feeling even worse about the situation. She couldn'tve foreseen us getting attacked. Or maybe she just figured she'd be in New York. But that doesn't change the fact that she should've told us. That rational voice inside his head wasn't making it better.

"Where is a bad guy when you need one to pound?" Raph bellowed as he stormed out of the spaceship.

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