The ninja shoved April into a chair. The Shredder loomed over her with a snarl. "Call them!" He threw the Turtle Comm in her face without letting go.
"I'm not playing your game."
He slapped her cheek with his palm. "Your loyalty to your friends is admirable but you will call them."
"There is no way that you will blackmail me into leading the Turtles into a trap. You don't have anything to hold over my head that could make me."
"I do not? If that is what you believe, I should remind you of one sick rat, one frightened boy, and two bruised and battered teenagers. I hold them in my grasp and can make their deaths extremely painful. Call the Turtles and I will spare them that."
"You're going to kill us anyway."
"I won't kill you, April O'Neil. I have different plans for you. Could you
really live with yourself hearing their screams echo inside your mind?" He
grinned sadistically. "And you will hear them scream."
Casey glanced at his watch with a frown. It had been almost an hour since Dan had called, worried that he couldn't reach Zack. But Zack and Splinter should be back by now.
Mike dropped into the Lair. It had been a boring patrol, none of the Shredder's bunch to beat up. Casey looked anxious, that was weird. "Where's Splinter and Zack?"
"I don't know."
"What do you mean You don't know?"
Casey grimaced at Leo's tone. "I don't know where they're at. They left hours ago to go to a temple."
"A temple? Why?" Donnie perched himself on the arm of another sofa.
"Splinter wanted to go. But they should have been back by now."
"Perhaps they went to see Allie," Lotus suggested.
"And didn't tell somebody about it?" Raph shook his head, "That don't sound like Splinter."
"Maybe he did tell somebody," Mona answered. "Just not us."
"He didn't tell Dan. He called me about an hour ago trying to find Zack."
Leo pulled out his Turtle Comm. "No answer from Zack. No answer from Splinter. No answer from Dan."
"Try Keno," Raph inched closer.
"Try April," Donnie tried to hold his worry back.
"Try Allie," Mike blurted out.
"What is it, Leo?" Allie looked tired on the small video screen.
"We got an answer!"
"If this is your idea of prank calling, it needs some work."
"This is serious, Allie. Have you heard from Splinter, Zack, April, Dan, or Keno in the last couple of hours?"
"No, but I just got back from the library and turned my Turtle Comm back on. Why?"
"Thanks!" He cut her off and turned to the group. "Something's wrong."
"So how are we going to fix it?" Raph demanded.
"First we have to discover what's wrong exactly," Donnie started pacing the floor. "For them all to have their Turtle Comms off is a bit too coincidental."
"Could something have happened to all of them? This is New York," Mike reminded them needlessly.
"The same big thing or lots of different small things to each of them?"
"You lost me, Donnie."
"There must be a rational explanation," Mona declared.
"Yeah, trouble." Raph threw himself into an easy chair.
Leo's Turtle Comm beeped and he pulled it out. "April! Where are you?"
"A prisoner of the Shredder."
"Let me guess; Splinter, Zack, Keno, and Dan are with you too?"
"Are they okay?" Donnie asked.
April heard him. The Turtle Comms had good microphones. "We're fine. But that's probably temporary."
"What does the Shredder want us to do?"
"Surrender, With Lotus and Mona too."
Leo repeated the address she told him out loud. "Don't worry."
"I know I can count on you guys." Her transmission was abruptly cut off.
He closed the Turtle Comm. "What are options?"
"Surrender or let the Shredder kill our friends." Lotus rested her hands on his shoulders.
"How did the Shredder miss Allie?" Casey gazed at their faces. Mike's brightened a little.
"I don't know but it's not going to help us any. We either surrender or we don't."
Raph stood, "Let's go."
Casey stood up with them. "I'm going with you."
"April didn't say anything about you. We may need you help later." Leo couldn't look him in the eye.
"After the Shredder takes over the city?"
"If we're going down, we're takin' the Shredder with us."
"Life sure isn't boring with you, is it, Lover-boy?"
Casey sat down and watched them leave. "I hope you know what you're doing, Leo."
The Turtle grabbed hold of the ladder, the last one to leave. "I hope I do,
Allie's boots hit the floor. "What's going on? Where is everybody?"
Casey perked up, "Allie?" She appeared in the doorway. "The Shredder never got you? How'd he screw up so bad?"
"I don't know. All I know is my dorm room is a mess, my roommate is missing, Leo doesn't where Zack, Dan, April, Splinter, or Keno are, and now you're telling me the Shredder has something to do with it!"
"You don't look good in black." Her skin and hair were pale against the black leotard, tights, and cut-off shorts she was wearing.
"What the hell is going on?"
"The Shredder has April, Splinter, Dan, Zack, and Keno. The Turtles went to surrender."
"Lotus and Mona too?"
"He'll kill them!"
"I know that. They know that. But what choice do they have?"
"They don't. But I do."
"Allie, what are you going to do?" Casey limped after her.
"What I have to!" The sewer cover clanged shut.
"Well, damned if I'm going to miss all the fun," Casey muttered. He hobbled
to the first aid kit. He grabbed the tape. He was used to taping up whatever
hurt from playing hockey. Nothing different from usual; his ribs had almost
healed. He grabbed his hockey stick and goalie mask. "Now, we're ready to
"This doesn't look good," Mona muttered.
The ninja gestured for their weapons and they reluctantly handed them over. The rooftop of the building was covered with Foot Clan ninjas and Purple Dragon gang members. "I agree," Lotus murmured.
"Where's the Shredder?" Raph growled.
"So eager to die, Turtle?" They faced the armored ninja who led his prisoners to the roof. The Foot Clan ninjas gathered around them, separating the groups.
Leo took a half-step forward. "Let them go, Shredder. You have us."
"Do you think that's all I want, Turtle? My leadership will not be threatened by my enemies. And you are all my enemies."
"You are a fool, Oroku Nagi," Lotus spat. "The Foot Clan did not follow you before and they will not follow you ever."
"With no Hamatos to lead, they will have no choice."
"But you forgot a Hamato, Shred-head," Mike crowed. "Allie's safe and sound."
"Foolish Turtle. Your lover is now on her way to join us."
"She might be. But it won't be to surrender."
The Shredder ignored him and started barking orders in Japanese. The two groups were pushed together and surrounded by ninjas. Donnie moved to Splinter's side. "Are you all right?"
"I feel fine. Is Allison safe?"
"She was safe when we left. But then, when we talked to her we didn't know Shredder was grabbing everybody to blackmail us into surrendering."
"Michaelangelo is very sure that Allison will resist."
"There's not much Allie does without putting up a fight."
"That is true."
Zack looked up at Leo. "If I had know this was going to happen I wouldn't have taken Splinter out."
"I know. I'm not blaming you. I'm glad you were then to take care of Splinter."
"Is Allie all right?"
"I don't know."
Mona gave a silent whistle at the sight of Dan and Keno. "You look like you've went through the ringer. What happened?"
"We were stupid," Dan answered.
"By the way you look, I'd say that was a given."
"We pissed off the Dragons sent to escort us here," Keno winced as he shifted his shoulder. "And they made sure we knew they were upset."
Raph cleared his throat, "The Shredder don't know Allie. He's probably overestimating his ninjas' brain power."
Mike glanced at his brother. "Why do you say that?"
"Because it's true. And because you needed to hear it. Look, I know me and Allie have our problems, but if anyone can get out of this situation it'll be Allie. So don't worry too much."
"I'll try not to."
Casey pulled himself onto the rooftop of a neighboring building that hadn't been demolished. He glared through his binoculars at the ninja-seething roof. April, the Turtles, Splinter, and the others were surrounded by ninjas. The Shredder seemed to be clearing a fight space on the rest of the roof. So he was going to try to get the most fun out of killing the Turtles. Well, he was going to have to try real hard.
Suddenly, he felt the point of a sai against the back of his neck. "Turn around slowly, friend Casey Jones. It would displease my mistress if I accidentally killed you."
Casey raised his hands and turned slowly to face the ninja. All he was missing was the Foot Clan's bandanna wrapped around his forehead. The background of the roof he was on was crawling with gang members. "I don't know you, pal, so I'm not a friend."
"I am Taro. I am positive your friends, the Turtles, have told you of our encounter."
"Yeah, they told me your mistress is the Ronin."
"What does she want with me?"
"She does not want you interrupting the proceedings."
"If the Shredder makes a move toward my friends, I'm going down there."
"The Ronin will not allow your friends to be harmed. That is not her desire."
"She wants to destroy the Shredder."
"Why do you follow her?"
"She saved my life. The Shredder would have destroyed my being and all that I believe in. I owe the Ronin my sanity."
"So you fight for your therapist," Casey smirked.
"I owe her my life."
"So you repay her by helping her be a vigilante."
"You are a vigilante."
"You are as well as your friends, the Turtles. Why should you despise her for doing what you do?"
"I don't know. I don't despise her, I just think she's crazy."
"Because she wants to destroy the Shredder? She has more reason than anyone else in this city to hate him."