Allie peered at the brilliantly lit warehouse from behind the totaled car that no one had bothered to move from the curb. "Whatever the Shredder is up to in there, he sure isn't trying to hide it. He must be up to more than just killing cops in his spare time."
"I told you he's behind the Hi-Tech Robberies," Mike reminded her.
"But if he is, why light up the warehouse like that? You might as well put up a neon sign flashing, Villain is here. The Shredder's hideout is in this building."
Mike sat with his back against the car, "How come the bad guys always pick abandoned warehouses? Is it part of their union? And how come the city never seems to run out of them?"
Allie smirked, "Those are really deep philosophical questions and I really hate to bother your contemplating mind, but how are we going to get in there?"
Mike shrugged, "Slice of pizza. I'm a ninja, remember?"
"Okay. Let's see some of that ninja razzle-dazzle."
"Follow me." They crept around to the dark side of the building. Mike slipped a grappling hook and rope off his belt and swung it up. It caught on the edge of the roof and he turned his back to Allie. "Climb on."
"You're kidding." Her grin faded, "You're not kidding. Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"Of course I do," Mike assured her as her arms clasped around his neck. "Skyscraper climbing is our third favorite sport, right after sewer surfing and bully bashing." Allie screwed her eyes shut and clung to his shell. Sure he had muscles, but would he be strong enough to carry both of them to the roof? He scrambled over the edge. "Top floor, everybody off." She crawled off with a sigh of relief. Mike watched her, amused. "You were worried?"
Allie glared slightly. "I maybe considered suicidal, but I have no wish to fall off the side of a building to my death."
"Imagine that," he rolled up the rope. "We actually have something in common." He turned to the skylight. No one seemed to be paying any attention to it but there was no sense in pushing it. He lowered the rope until it hit the second floor balcony catwalk. "Climb down; I'll watch. I don't have to remind you to be quiet."
"Don't worry," she whispered as she threw her leg over the sill and wrapped it around the rope. Deftly, she lowered herself to the balcony. She looked over the railing at the ninjas, then signaled Mike to come down.
He joined Allie's side. "Guards, training sessions, ninjas, a lot of people. What are we supposed to do now?"
Allie froze. She wasn't expecting to be asked, not after the way he had just taken charge. "You mean you don't know?"
"I'm not in charge; I'm never in charge. I just do what everyone tells me to do."
"I was under the impression that you would have a plan at this point." They backed behind a pile of boxes.
"Hmm," Mike pulled at his chin thoughtfully. "A plan. That would be when you say you're going to do something and then you do it, right?"
Allie buried her face in her hands. "We're doomed! We're worst than doomed--we're dead!"
"That's sooo motivating, Allie. I'll go throw myself to the bad guys now."
She jerked her face up and grabbed hold of his arm. The touch seemed to shock them both as they recoiled slightly from each other. "Quiet," she ordered. "This Shredder guy wants me and Zack dead; there has to be a reason. We'll find the reason and take it to the cops. Chief Sterns is a personal acquaintance." Mike stared at her with non-believing eyes. "Okay, he hates my guts. But he'll listen to me. Let's go." Up the balcony from the pile of boxes they hid behind, a man stepped out of a room and switched off its light. He walked straight past the boxes and down the set of stairs to the main floor.
Mike's mouth fell open; the man wore an exact replica of the Oroku Saki Shredder's outfit. Allie nudged him for his attention and they crept inside the room. Shadowy light from the windows revealed that it was an office. Allie tapped Mike's arm and jerked her hand toward another door. They crawled into the inner office. She switched on the desk lamp and started examining the filing cabinet. "Was that weirdo the Shredder?"
"I guess so. But he must be a real fan of the original." Mike stood up and shuffled his feet as he watched Allie's methodical search. "What are we looking for?"
"Anything important," she whispered back. "What's this?" She pulled a file out and set it on the desk under the lamp. The papers inside were thin strips with characters drawn on them. "Do you know Japanese?" Mike shook his head. "Great time to learn."
"Are they important?"
"They were in a locked drawer. Somehow, I get the feeling it's not his mother's sushi recipe." She held up a key ring with two keys on it in answer to Mike's unasked question. "Left on the desk. Let's get out of here." They eased out of the offices and crept down the balcony to the rope. Mike looked behind his shoulder and missed seeing Allie freeze. He stumbled into her and they both tumbled down the stairs. A group of ninjas aimed wicked-looking, scientific laser guns as they surrounded the Turtle and the girl. Allie looked up. "Oh no, not again!" she cried sarcastically.
"Don't you dudes ever give up?" Mike glared at them. If they so much as laid a black-clad finger on her, he would kill them.
The ninjas parted to allow the armored and caped figure to come forward. He picked up the folder Allie had dropped and thumbed through it. Mike helped her to her feet. "I doubt you understand the seriousness of these documents." He turned to the ninjas. "Take them."
Mike tried to pull Allie behind him as the ninjas advanced toward them, but she launched herself at the Shredder screaming, "You killed my brother! You!" She succeeded in wrenching off his face mask before he kicked her away. Mike sighed with relief to see the young, unscarred Japanese face underneath, but the ninjas grabbed him before he could make sure Allie was all right. Other ninjas yanked her back as she jumped up to attack again. She kicked and tried to pull away. "I'm going to make you pay!"
The Shredder picked up his mask. "A foolish move. But then your family has always based their decisions on emotions."
"You don't know anything about my family!" Allie snarled.
"I know more that you think," the Shredder replied coldly. "You have given my ninjas much trouble for what purpose? You wanted to surrender to me personally?" He threw his fist toward her face and stopped the punch, the claws on his hand millimeters from her cheek. Then he shifted his hand and slapped her across the face. "I am honored," he spat.
"Leave her alone!" Mike snarled, struggling against the three ninjas that held him. "Hasn't anyone told you that heavy metal is out! But I guess you have to learn that the hard way, like Shredder Senior."
"So, you are one of the four." The Shredder narrowed his eyes. "You look like an intelligent... turtle."
Mike's eyes opened wide with surprise. "I do? I'm afraid you have me confused with Donatello--the one in the purple bandanna."
"You can surely infer that will enjoy extracting my revenge from you, my
friend. You have made a grave mistake by interfering." The Shredder turned to
his ninjas. "Take them to the Technodrome."
Splinter frowned. "April, can you explain your actions?"
"Don't worry; I blindfolded Clin-san. He doesn't know where the Lair is. Clin-san, Splinter. Splinter, Clin-san." April sat having conducted introductions.
"Nor would I want to know," Clin-san answered. "I was sent to America from the Foot Clan dojo of Japan to find Hamato Yoshi. The leadership has been restored to him."
"You have come too late," Splinter replied as Zack sat beside him. "Oroku Saki killed my Master and Tang Shen."
"But they left a son. He is dead, but he left children. Children that Oroku Nagi now tries to kill. Because they will lead the Foot Clan instead of him."
Splinter pulled out the bandanna. "This is his symbol, Saki's younger brother. That is why he killed Billy."
"I'm lost," Zack complained. "I thought Billy was killed because he knew something about the Hi-Tech Robberies."
"That's only part of the reason," April explained. "You, Allie, and Billy are the grandchildren of Hamato Yoshi, who's the rightful leader of the Foot Clan. Oroku Nagi, or the Shredder, gets the leadership if you're all dead, since Hamato Yoshi and your father are already dead. Where are the Turtles?"
"They went after Michaelangelo," Splinter answered. "A Nickey's Blues Bar. This is the address." He handed her a slip of paper.
"Allie's probably in terrible trouble and I can't help," Zack grumbled. "She never trusts me. The only thing she ever trusted me with is this stupid memo pad." He pulled it out of his jeans pocket.
"Can I see?" He handed it to April who flipped through it. "Zack! This is Billy's case notes! It has everything he ever found on the Shredder, including an address! We have to get to the guys. Come on, Clin-san!"
Zack scowled as they climbed out of the Lair. "I get left out of everything and I don't even know what's going on. It's not fair."
"Come, Zackery," Splinter replied as he patted a footstool near his chair.
"Let me tell you story. Many years ago in Japan...."
Keno threw himself on Dan's couch. "I hear your girlfriend is stirring up major trouble."
"She's not my girlfriend, more like a sister. But she is getting into trouble and I'm not sure Mikey can handle her."
"Poor Mikey," Keno shook his black hair. "I wonder what he did wrong that he's getting punished for it now?"
Dan jerked the door open. "I've got to stop her. Somebody's going to get hurt or worse. Are you coming?"
"Sure, Dan. Anything to help the Turtles, you know that. Do you have any ideas where to look?"
"There's a bar on the other side of the neighborhood--Nickey's Blues Bar. Allie goes there for info. Maybe she'll show up."
"Awfully slim chance."
"It's better than sitting here doing nothing," the red-headed boy retorted.
"Good point," the Japanese-American youth contended. "Let's go."