1999-03 – Letters from Donatello

Greetings Cyberfriend!

Yikes! It’s been many a moon since we’ve last written any updates! It’s been hectic here in Turtleland, that’s for sure! Things got complicated for me when Renet showed up again… with Savanti Romero in tow! But this was a far-flung future Savanti (well… he’s still from our past, but far older than I’d ever seen him before). I was in my lab working on the force field generators and having little success. After we had celebrated Christmas together, I was so preoccupied that I hadn’t seen much of my family for the first few weeks of 1999. Ireally wanted to get this tech down pat, but it’s been resisting me of late. The major source of my problem is, as usual, power supply. Electricity is just too expensive to generate to serve as a viable source of power for the force fields. I’ve tapped into the City’s lines on occassion to try some tests, and it proved that I’d need another power source if I’d ever hope to get things working properly. I apologize for the brief black out that I caused around 57th street that night… heh. Oops! Ah well… Planet Hollywood probably has emergency generators anyway. :)

One night while I was working on the force field problems, Master Splinter, Leo, Mikey and Venus came into my lab and asked me if I wanted to accompany them back to China to meet with some of Venus’ old friends, who she knew through her deceased guardian. To be honest, it sounded like something innocuous and… boring. After having visited China a few months back, I was not in the mood for that kind of traveling again. Leo, Mikey and Venus were disppointed, but the Sensei could see that I was preoccupied with my work, and truth be told, I needed some time alone with my inventions. I think Master Splinter could sense that. I took a few weeks off over the Holidays, and I was itching to get back to business. I’ve seen some of the things I’ve done in the future (thanks to our bizarre time traveling escapades), and as odd as it may seem, I feel like I’m in a competition with myself to make sure that I accomplish the tasks that I’ve seen me do (geez… this type of talk gets confusing real fast!) Seeing the future-me was unnerving in more ways than one… if you ever get the chance to meet the future-you, take my advice and avoid it! I really think that the future is best left unknown! I feel all kinds of extra pressures on myself now, and it’s only exasperated by my brothers when they make jokes about me loafing around… I don’t feel like I have a moment to spare anymore. I guess I should calm down, since the future will be… but then I’m always thinking “But maybe I met the future-me because it served to motivate the past-me”. I hate time anomalies!

Anyway, on a later night I was working in the lab (a few days after Splinter and the others had departed), and who should show up but Renet and Savanti! Not who I was exactly hoping to see! I was brooding about time travel as I worked, and then in pops Renet with her Time Sceptre and “companion”. Oh brother! The both of them looked more than a little worse for wear. Renet seemed a few years older than she was the last time that we had met, but Savanti seemed to have aged a thousand years. He was a shell of his former self, barley able to move and weighing at least 200 punds less than he once had. If I didn’t know better, I’d have felt sorry for him… but knowing how insidious he once was, seeing him in this state was not too surprising. You reap what you sow, and Savanti had never planted anything of value that I know of.

Renet wanted to see Leo right away, but I told her he was gone for a few weeks at least… the only ones around were Raph and I, and Raph rarely came home these days because he was off with the Foot (this news startled her… all she said was “Already?!” and got a very concerned look on her face… not very comforting to see, knowing that she can jump all over the time line and see our future. Who knows what she knew? But I knew better than to ask… I’ll find out the old fashioned way and wait and see). Savanti didn’t care about Leo or the others, he just wanted me to help them. I think Renet wanted to talk things over with Leo and Master Splinter before proceeding, but oddly enough, we were strapped for time and she couldn’t just pop out and come back in a few weeks.

What it boiled down to was that Lord Simultaneous, Renet’s “boss”, had been captured by some sort of evil time-lord type being known as Dark Lady Thurishtia (DLT from now on… her full name is a real bear to type over and over :). Apparently DLT has been a nemesis of Lord Simultaneous’ for countless eons… he was trying to maintain some sort of balance through the timeline while she was striving to exert her chaotic influence over how things went. It turned out that at some point Savanti had gotten her attention and the two had worked together to stop Simultaneous… but of course Savanti had tried to trick her in the process. So DLT had punished Romero through dozens of years of hard labor (so he wasn’t actually a thousand years older, he just looked it. This meant trouble, because it indicated that Savanti was only weakened through harsh treatment… and he might revive at any time). As it turned out, Savanti’s tactics had been sound, and DLT defeated Simultaneous using his plan. As is usual for Savanti, if he hadn’t gotten so power-mad he would have succeeded… but beings of his ilk rarely learn any lessons… Krang and Shredder certainly never did!

DLT had used Savanti’s plan to capture Simultaneous in a temporal energy field. Savanti had surmised that a few simple magiks used in combination with DLT’s powers could create an energy stasis field that would basically cause a “short” in the time field as Simultaneous attempted to plane shift, trapping him between zones (I think… this stuff was pretty complicated, and Renet and Savanti took turns telling different pieces of the story and spoke so quickly I couldn’t keep up very well). What happened was Savanti had planned your basic “I’ll get his attention while you zap him” approach, and it worked like a charm. DLT ported SR in, he caused a problem for Simultaneous (casting a few seemingly useless spells while he was there) and then DLT popped him back to her time zone. Simultaneous fell for the bait, and when he attempted to follow SR, DLT sprung her trap and Lord Simultaneous was trapped in the nether realms of time and space. Had Savanti been happy to play second fiddle, the story might end there, except while DLT was casting her own spells to ensnare Simultaneous, Savanti was trying to use his own powers to trap her as well. But DLT is far more powerful than Savanti thought, and his attempts bounced off of her protective spells like water off a duck’s back. So she banished him to a prison world labor camp.

Renet was left alone in Simultaneous’ castle, and didn’t know what to do. Apparently DLT was allowed free reign for at least a dozen of our years… so whatever that might result in is anyone’s guess. Renet tried to battle DLT once and was lucky to escape with her life… but her Time Sceptre was damaged in the fight. She tried to round up some help to go after DLT, but she was too late, as part of the Dark Lady’s plan was to take out all the secondary powers in the megaverse prior to her assault on Simultaneous… so Renet had no one to turn to for help… except Savanti himself. The evil ex-time lord was her only hope… so she rescued him from the prison world. For some reasn, Savanti decided that I might be able to help… a job that I certainly didn’t feel capable of handling! I was having trouble figuring out how to power a force field, what hope did I have in conquering an evil time sorceress?

But of course, Savanti had a plan. If we could just stop him from trying to mess it up, maybe we could be successful…

Unfortunately, we were stuck with a mostly burnt out Time Sceptre… Renet’s battle with DLT had damaged it tremendously, and each time she had used it since, it apparently became weaker. Perfect… it’s power supply was shot… ugh! It also had become less trustworthy, as Renet had hoped to have arrived in our time at a point before Raph had taken his sabbatical… but she missed by a few months. She told me in secret that she had missed rescuing Savanti by many years, but she didn’t want to risk any extra trips with the Sceptre working so poorly, and she was actually more comfortable with him in his weakened state. I can’t say I blamed her for that.

So our first job (and the only one SR wanted me part of) was to fix Renet’s time stick… I’d been playing around with my own version of one of these awhile back, so I at least had a vague notion of how they operated. The problem was as simple as it sounded, the sceptre was running low on “battery” power… and after spending a few days researching things (boy am I glad Raph never showed up during that time… he probably would have tried to kill Savanti), I finally had my theory. Renet and Romero didn’t like my findings one bit…

It turned out the the sceptre was tied directly into Lord Simultaneous himself… as his life force fades, so too did the Sceptre’s power. What we had to do was obvious… we had to rescue Simultaneous first, and go after DLT second (Savanti was adamantly against this plan, but we had no choice. He still wasted a few hours of our time with pointless arguments and sulking. The reason he didn’t want Simultaneous freed was because he feared the time lord’s wrath if/when we rescued him. After our first encounter with Simultaneous, I understood Savanti’s fears, but like I said before… you reap what you sow). Without Simultaneous’ help, Romero and Renet might be stranded someplace when the Time Sceptre stopped operating. Renet understood what this meant as well… if the Sceptre was to stop working entirely, that would mean only one thing… Lord Simultaneous himself had died.

Fortunately Savanti finally agreed to our rescue plan… his abilities were practically non-existent at this point, DLT’s attack and 12 years on a slave-labor world had taken their toll on him. He needed the Sceptre’s power more than ever. Alhough it meant facing his oldest enemy in a forced alliance, he knew that it was his only hope to recover any part of his past glory. More importantly to the treacherous ex-time lord, he wanted to exact revenge upon the Dark Lady. The good news was that he knew how to locate Simultaneous… the bad news was we’d need a great deal of magical energy to free him… and we didn’t have much. Once again I was haunted by the problems of power supply! It was obvious from how poorly the Sceptre was operating that Simultaneous was fading fast, so we had to move. I volunteered to help them, and despite SR’s initial resistance, they agreed to let me accompany them. I wasn’t about to let Renet go with Romero on her own… she’s a bit goofy, but she is our friend.

Before we departed I’d decided that we’d better try to boost the Sceptre’s powers. I know nothing of supernatural “magik”, but I know a few things about science. I’d had a notion that maybe I could reverse the field generator on the Sceptre to absorb Savanti’s inane magical abilities rather than sapping the ever-weakening Simulataneous. Needless to say, Romero hated this idea, but after talking things over for quite some time, he finally agreed. There was no guarantee that I’d even succeed (and I didn’t mention this, but there was a good chance I’d ruin the Sceptre altogether in the effort. But nothing ventured, nothing gained). It was a fairly simple matter of discerning how the Time Sceptre was “grafted” to Simulataneous, it was an ancient artifact and very primitive by other standards. I found an small sampling of an organic substance in one secret compartment of the wand. I analyzed it and was at first totally baffled by what it was, but when I took a blood sample from Renet and Romero, I discovered that it was a small, dehydrated sample of Simultaneous’ blood. I learned from Savanti the importance of “blood sacrifice” to the old magic items… but from the amount of blood that Simultaneous had left, I’d say “sacrifice” was a bit of an exagerration. I stuck a pin in Savanti’s finger and squeezed a drop of his (very unusually constructed) blood into the Sceptre’s compartment. Nothing happened… so I went back to work, analyzing the wand, scanning it and compiling complex 3D computer graphics to explore its interior… and that’s when I found the second secret “room”. Using the 3D map of the Sceptre and zooming in at a magnification of 100, I saw the true compartment that demanded the blood sample. The problem was, how the devil I was going to be able to open such a miniscule door. Renet said that Simulataneous probably reduced himself and walked in… great… none of us had the ability to shrink to the size of an atom… now what?

Renet suggested that we use the Sceptre’s failing power to transform Savanti to the size we needed and have him “install” the sample. That part I thought would work fine, however, I explained to her that once he did that, he might be stuck in the wand, as the Sceptre would be powered by Savati’s own strength at that point. Any extraneous action that he took would only serve to weaken both him and the rod, possible exponentially due to his close proximity to the power supply itself. This could short out the wand entirely, and we needed it to be as close to fully charged as possible. She didn’t agree with me, as she figured Simultaneous must have done the very thing we were discussing… but I wasn’t so sure that the time lord had actually gone in the Sceptre himself. He could have had someone else do it for him. As we discussed this, Romero got impatient, grabbed the wand, invoked a few words of power and disappeared into thin air. The Sceptre bounced around a little bit, so we knew what he had done… after a few moments it started glowing and spinning in mid air. Just as suddenly a low wail started that quickly rose into a horrendous roar. The wand kept spinning faster and faster and the light that it emitted intensified greatly as the noise continued to rise in decibel. I thought we’d go blind from the light and deaf from the noise. I grabbed Renet’s hand to get her out of the lab before something horrible happened.

And then all went still.

The wand dropped to the floor and stopped glowing. “Like, wow!” was all I could get out of Renet for several minutes. I waited about 20 minutes before I picked up the Time Sceptre… despite what had just happened, it didn’t look any different than it had before. I quickly took it to my apparatus and scanned it… and sure enough, it radiated much more energy at that point. I surmised that Savanti had succeeded in transfering the power-drain to himself… but now we had a bigger problem… as he was the only one who knew where to find Simultaneous! As Renet and I pondered this, the wand began spinning again…

And Savanti appeared out of nowhere and caught the wand in mid-air. He was now fully restored to his former self, and had a wicked grin on his face… “You fools!” he laughed. “I knew that you’d fall for that scheme… but you certainly took your time in doing so! I thought I played my role well, did I not?” Needless to say… Renet and I were taken aback! But then just as suddenly, Savanti transformed back to his weakened state and he started laughing. “Heh heh.. sorry… couldn’t resist. Just a little joke…”

I can’t say that I enjoyed his sense of humor, but I was happy to see him… especially in his weakened appearance. He said that he’d cast a very minor illusion, and that he didn’t know how long his powers would last, as he could feel the Sceptre sapping them with a voracious appetite.

So the next step was to use the Time Sceptre to teleport us to where Simultaneous was being held in stasis. Savanti thought that freeing him from DLT’s spells would be difficult, as she was a far greater sorceror than he… but perhaps we’d get lucky. I had a good idea that we would. Savanti handed the Sceptre to Renet and began an incantation. She held the wand above her head as the room started spinmning and some became a vortex that engulfed the three of us.

…blackness …

It stretched towards infinity in all directions. Somehow, I have no idea how, I could see Renet and SR fine. Renet later explained that I was viewing their auras… but I’ve seen plenty of auras and they’ve never revealed stark details before… but who am I to argue? It was definitely my first trip to the netherzone between time and space. Simultaneous was nowhere to be seen. “We’re here.” Romero said, a wicked smile creasing his lips… I was ready for another trick or bad joke, but none came. I suppose he was nervous, becasue he would soon be trying to free his mortal enemy… who he had help ensnare.

“Which way?” I asked… I couldn’t see anything anywhere.

“No way. We’re, like, already here. There is no ‘way’ here. We’re just here, y’ know.” Renet stated.

“So where’s Lord Simultaneous?” I asked. And no sooner had the last syllable left my lips than he was there… he appeared to be floating right in front of us, although we all had apparent solid footing. He also appeared to be unconscious…

“You try to wake him with the wand… I’ll try to break Thurishtia’s spells. We must do this quickly, and forgive the pun, simultaneously. The powers of the Scpetre are both weakened and strengthened here, and I know not what will happen when we try to use its powers while I attempt to use my own.”

With that, Renet nodded and commanded the Sceptre to awaken Simultaneous at the same instant that Romero started several spells, wildly gesticulating. And then we all froze, immobile, but aware of our surroundings. I guess Savanti’s mouth had been frozen open, because I heard him gurgle with fear as a figure approached from the distance.

She was the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever seen. Clad in a full-length black leather gown with a high collar and a long flowing cape made of something that seemed to be alive, as it moved with its own purpose, rather than from wind current or gravity. In her left hand she carried a staff made of an obsydian mahogany… carved in the form of a long snake. It’s jeweled eyes gleamed with a fiery life. Her face was as pale as porcelain and set off starkly from her all-black garb. Her lips were bright crimson and her large eyes were both alarmingly warm and icy cold at the same time. Her long hair was pulled back tightly against her skull, and cascaded down her back with black tendrils. If Mikey had been here to say it, she would best be described as “awesome”… but I was thinking more along the lines that she looked like an executioner rather than a dark angel.

“Ah, Savanti dear. You’re looking… interesting. I see a few years of hard labor and minimal talent has not stilled thy treacherous heart. I’ll always admire that in you, dear child.” She was creepy, alright. She approached Romero as she talked, and stroked his cheek, almost remorsefully. He couldn’t move a muscle, but sweat began pooring down his forehead. I admit that I felt sorry for him at that moment.

She turned from Savanti and snapped her fingers, and he was gone. Where she sent him I had no idea, but from the look of terror in his eyes, I’m sure that it wasn’t anyplace good. She then turned on Renet and snatched the wand from her grasp. “Truly astounding how children’s toys can so often trip elders…” Thurishtia mused as she turned the Time Sceptre over in her hand. “I sense that this has been attuned to our dear Savanti… not bad, turtleman” with this she addressed me and then walked over to face me. I was worried, but I can’t say that I was afraid of her. Something in her eyes was telling me not to be frightened, although her grim smile spoke volumes otherwise. “These are matters that you should not concern yourself with, turtleman. You have other destinies and other talents… I advise you to trouble yourself no more with magiks… you don’t have the stomach for it.” With that she broke the Time Sceptre in half, and we all heard a howl of pain and fear from a distance… there was no doubt that it had been Savanti making the cry.

I tried to focus, to center myself, so that I might b able to move. I didn’t know what I might do, but I knew I had to do something… but all of my efforts were for naught. I hate the supernatural more than anything. It doesn’t make sense.

Dark Lady Thurishtia then walked back to Renet. “What to do with you, child?” she thought as she tapped her forefinger against her chin. As she started to snap her fingers an old, vaguely familiar voice rang out.

“That’s quite enough, mother.” it said in a loud booming voice that I remebered as Lord Simultaneous. Suddenly I was half-freed… Thurishtia’s attention was quickly and drastically diverted. I could turn my head just enough to see that Simultaneous was free… whatever Savanti and Renet had managed to do before DLT showed up, it had been enough. I had the idea that if we removed the Sceptre’s power drain from Lord Simultaneous, perhaps it would grant him the extra boost in power that he’d need to break free. Perhaps all three of our efforts had worked. Simultaneous was standing with his arms crossed, and was almost glowing with anger. “I never thought you would stoop so low, mother… killing father was bad enough, but trying to slay me is simply unforgiveable”.

From that point things got loud, bright and nosiy again. A huge magical battle ensued that I could only see through my peripheral vision, as I didn’t yet have full control of my motor functions. No further discussion was made… apparently Thurishtia had said all she had to say to Simultaneous in the past. After what seemed an eternity, I suddenly fell to my knees… I could move again! Renet was by my side and she helped me to my feet. Both Simultaneous and Thurishtia were gone… but we were still apparently in the netherzone. I was happy to be alive… but I was afraid that we were now trapped where Simultaneous had been!

“Like, whoa… she was like really bummed to see old Simmy among the living! And I’venever seen him throw his weight around like that before! Like.. wow!” Renet was saying as I was busy walking around looking for some clue as to what had happened… but all was blackness.

“Like… uh oh…” Renet murmured… and I turned to see Thurishtia standing before us. She looked as darkly radiant as ever. “My son has requested a happy ending, and so I am compelled to grant his final wish of me…” with that she snapped her fingers and I was back with Renet in Lord Simultaneous’ keep. Simultaneous was nowhere to be found, but his most powerful magical artifact was… the Digital Cosmic Quartz… an item infinitely more powerful than the Time Sceptre! There was a note attached to it that read “Renet: I have done my best to teach you the discipline you need to be an effective governor. The time has arrived for you to assume your role. Use the Quartz well and as I have taught you. Thurishtia will trouble you no more, but I can longer serve my former role, as the sands have shifted and I now have other duties. Protect that which needs protecting. Be wary and be careful and for goodness sake be wise for a change!” it was signed by Lord Simultaneous.

“Like… WOW!” was all Renet said for about 45 minutes.

Eventually Renet came to understand what had happened and what her new “job” was. It was a difficult transition for her to make, and I stayed with her for several weeks to help her adjust. She was all alone now in a vast megaverse… heiress to a throne that she never assumed she would ascend. But she is a good person, and she will do a fine job. I’m no magician and I can’t see into the future, but I am a good judge of character.

Once Renet had settled into the concept of being a time lord herself, she began to set things right that Thurishtia had disrupted earlier. She met no resistance. Her final act before taking me home was to seek out Savanti Romero… to find out if he had survived, if nothing else. It was a long search, we spent over a week just doing this, but we found him. Thurishtia had sent him to a far removed planet in an ancient time. She had removed any magical abilities he had left when she destroyed the Time Sceptre… and he had been captured and imprisoned by a primitive people. They had not been kind to him. He was in worse shape than ever once we found him… his body was battered and bruised and his spirit was broken. Renet took him back to her Keep and restored him to his former body (Simultaneous had mutated him into a demon-like being as a form of punishment). I pitied Savanti then, as he lie in bed in his human-looking form. He was an utterly defeated old man, haunted by the horrors of imprisonment and despondent over his lost abilities. He seemed to be dying, and Renet saw to it that he was as comfortable as possible. I cautioned her that he might betray her goodwill, but she insisted on helping him. She was sure that his efforts to free Simultaneous had allowed the Lord to save us all in the end. Perhaps she’s right… perhaps Savanti’s final act as a free being had been one of goodwill. I’d like to think so anyway.

We buried him a week later in a flower garden Renet had planted at the base of the castle. She had made many changes to the keep and its grounds since Simultaneous’ departure. “Simmy’s tastes were grim, monochromatic and yucky!” she exclaimed to me after I asked her about the goldfish she had placed in the moat “If I’m going to be a guardian of goodness throughout time and space, I at least want my house to look happy!” I didn’t say anything when she painted the drawbridge pink.

She took me home shortly thereafter. All of my family was back, and while we were all a little worse for wear, we were very excited to be together once again. Our time in this world is far too short. It’s a real blessing to have good friends and family to share our brief moments with. I count my blessings everyday and am thankful that I’ve been given so many.

Thanks for reading this. I hope you’ve been well, my friend.


Master Splinter

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