1998-07 – Letters from Leonardo


We’re back home after a long, long, long vacation overseas! It was great to get away for awhile, but I’m very pleased to be back home.

The trip was difficult most of the time, but through it all we managed to survive and perhaps come out of it a little stronger. Key word being “little”.

As Donatello stated in his message, we wanted to take Venus home for some rest and relaxation. It’s been a long time since she has seen her home, and we felt that she needed some time away from the City and the fighting (we at least got her out of the City). Don rigged up a shrinking ray gun to make us all small enough to fit on the sub and “not be banging heads together at all times” (Raph’s terms… could you guess?) Don’s gizmo made each of us about 1 foot shorter, and seeing as we’re all around 4′ tall, that’s pretty significant! I had to make a new shoulder strap, as mine just wouldn’t fit without utterly destroying it.

The shrinking gave us enough head-room to fit comfortably on the submarine. We only have 5 bunks, so we gave Master Splinter’s private chamber to Venus and we took shifts sleeping. This worked out well, as we always had someone piloting the craft while others were sleeping. It’s a really long trip to China by sea, so we needed to keep moving as best we could. Don has done a fantastic job with the vessel, as it can plunge to depths far below other sub’s capabilitie with no ill effect and runs as quietly as a whale. This is important, as we’d be crossing some territory without permission and we didn’t want to run into problems. Famous last words, as you might imagine!

We packed all of our “sub survival” gear. Dehydrated food products, canned goods, med kits for various toxins and fishing spears and tackle for when we hit topside for leisure and navigation check. Venus had never been on a long submarine trip, so we were briefing her on what to expect. Mikey suggested that we lock her into an old deep freezer for a day for her to get the “true” feeling of subtime… but we thought that was a little extreme. :)

Having packed and thoroughly frightened Venus (we thought that it would be better to have her feel that things were easier than we described than more difficult), we set off. We told Venus that we were going to Japan to visit some friends, as we wanted the arrival in Shanghai to surprise her.

We set off through the New York harbor with ease. The trip was going quite well for the first few weeks. We’d spend “daylight” hours in deep sea and surface in the evenings and night to get solid bearings (we had plenty of navigation computers on board, but Donatello wanted to make sure everything was accurate by plotting by the stars as well). We were happy to surface, as the air gets stale when you’re down for great lengths of time, not to mention that it’s nice just to climb out of the hull and stretch and fish for awhile. Mikey and Raph really like spear fishing, and the best time for that is apparently in the early evening, as the predators start to come out and the schools of fish start to mill about. We didn’t have any close encounters with any sharks on this trip, although we spotted a school of hammerheads again. Maybe those guys are following us? :)

Venus seemed to adapt very well to the environment. She and Master Splinter have grown very close, and they would spend hours talking and meditating together. I think that Venus is teaching the old rat a few new tricks… and I’m sure he is doing the same for her. We are all very glad that Splinter has been able to take the place of her deceased sensei. We would be so lost without Master Splinter.

So things were looking great in May… but June was a different tune! I’ve told enough of the tale so far… check out Mikey’s missive to see what came next!

Be well!

Master Splinter

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