2001-10 – Letters from Leonardo


For the first time ever, we’ve organized ourselves to tell our story in increments. Don is to handle the intro, I’m supposed to handle the Krang/Shredder ordeal, Michaelangelo is going to tell you about Master Splinter’s escape plan and Raph is going to wrap it all up. Let’s see if it works out! :)

Onto the mid-tale: once we had been captured by the Triceraton militia, they quickly took us back to their mother ship via the now fully functioning Transmat (and when I say mother ship, I mean it! Their ships are HUGE!) Waiting for us there were Krang and Shredder and a host of Triceratons. We weren’t very surprised to see Krang and Saki, as we knew sooner or later they’d be back to plague us. They always come back (unfortunately).

We’ve battled the saurian aliens in the past, so they were as eager to witness our demise as our two old foes were. Krang explained, in great detail, the hardships he and Saki had endured on the garbage world they’d inadvertently trapped themsleves on. I must remind you that they had tried to send my brothers and I there, but in typical fashion, their plans went awry and they sent themselves instead. Based on these facts, we felt no sympathy for the two, although I’m sure that it was a terrible existence for them. Or perhaps it was simply “just deserves,” as Raph put it.

So, as he is wont to do, Krang gave us the entire tale of how he and Shredder managed to escape the garbage planet. I’ll spare you the details, because they are not pretty, and again, it was their own fault so they deserve no sympathy. Suffcie it to say, that over time Krang was able to build a communications station from the raw material and wreckage found on the trash world. After months of sending out interstellar distress signals, he finally reached some sympathtic ears, namely, our old enemies the Triceratons. Fortunately for Saki and Krang the garbage planet that they had banished themselves to was still in operation, and the Triceratons had arrived to dispatch their refuse. Krang, as usual, promised them the moon, stars and Earth if they would help him get his “revenge” against us. When we pointed out that their imprisonment was their own fault and thus required no vengeance, it fell upon deaf ears. Big surprise.

So after the introductory ceremonies, we were taken to sparse prison quarters, held captive with all sorts of different aliens of all shapes and sizes (and manners). We were split up, so we never had a chance to plot with one another. My cellmates were civil save for one, but I “explained” things to him in short order and quickly was left to my own thoughts… which were all about escaping the prison! I was soon to have a freedom of sorts, as Krang and Shredder’s plan was to profit through our demise. The Triceratons’ number one sport is to watch Gladiators battle to the death. They televise the battles 24 hours a day, and they never pause for a single break. There’s always a battle taking place in each of the numerous arenas that they have. Since we are competent fighters, we won many battles and made tons of intergalactic cash for Krang and Shredder… our “agents.”

As it turned out, each of us was sent to a different mother ship, to decrease the odds that we could ever escape. I was forced to fight two to three times per day. Resistance was, indeed, futile. The beatings that I took for refusing to fight were far worse than those that I faced in the arena, because at least in the coliseum I had a chance to fight back. Any gladiator who refused to fight was shot with a stun gun from outside the bars and promptly beaten while unconscious. Waking up from that was no pleasure.

My battles were supposed to be to the death, but I always refused to kill my fellow prisoners. I was rewarded for this by being beaten on a regular basis after my arena fights. This only strengthened my resolve to maintain my honor and integrity. However, it took its toll on my body. From speaking with my brothers, they each had the same experience… well, save for Raph, who became the hottest ticket in town thanks to his escapades in the pits. Due to his ferocious temper and fighting techniques, Raph quickly bested his opponents, and so was given increasingly difficult foes to fight. Raphael may never learn.

This scenario went on for weeks, and we quickly became malnourished and physically exhausted. This was all part of Krang’s plan, to wear us down for a final battle. A fight that we would surely lose due to our poor condition from weeks of abuse and neglect. At least that was how Krang pictured the results.

Much to our surprise, after about a 5 weeks of this horrible lifestyle, we were brought together in a single cell. After much rejoicing (we had no idea whether or not the others were still alive), we set about to make plans to escape. However, our reunion was short lived and we were quickly rounded up to be lead to the stadium for another battle. Our spirits were high because we were together again, but sensing the electricity in the air, we knew we were in for some major trouble.

We were lead to a huge stadium, by far the biggest any of us had ever seen. Apparently we had each been battling in the “minor leagues” up to this point. I don’t have the words to express how overwhelming the “major league” coliseum was. There had to be at least 200,000 Triceratons in attendance, and the flying TV camera crews were everywhere. We saw many banners made out in Raphael’s favor, so he had built his own fan base. The crowd roared as each of us was introduced, but they went absolutely insane when Raph’s name was announced. It was utter pandemonium.

Standing there amidst the din of the bloodthirsty crowd, I could only picture the ancient Roman coliseums of Earth, and I knew how those long dead warriors felt when they emerged from the tunnels beneath the arena. It was not a good feeling.

The Triceratons are a warlike and violent people, and the gladiator pits are a barbaric practice, but by now we were seaosned veterans. The last time all four of us were together in one of these arenas (years ago), we had managed to escape, so this time we were chained to the ground by our ankles. The chains were about 30′ long and made of a very light but durable metal. They inhibited our abilites tremendously, but then we weren’t there to win this final battle, we were there to lose it. I suppose that we should be thankful that the Triceratons give their victims a “fighting” chance rather than just murdering them, but it’s hard to be grateful when you’re chained to an alien ship and some giant monster is breathing down your neck.

Krang emerged from a podium above us and began another speech. The crowd grew quiet and restless, and so the TV crew cut Krang’s gloating diatribe off before he had finished, which enraged the diminutive alien but delighted the crowd. Shortly after Krang was cut off, drums began to play and the crowd went insane. Shredder added the final insult to our dilemma by putting hoods over our heads to blind us.

“You like to wear masks so much, I want you to have these as my special parting gift,” Shredhead told us as he roughly pulled them over our heads and fastened them around our necks with some sort of metal collar.

Of course, Raph took a shot at Shredder when he approached him, and he was rewarded with a shot from a stun blaster, which knocked him out cold. I could hear Shredder and Krang laughing while Raph was hooded. I was definitely starting to feel the heat and found no humor in our situation. We didn’t know what we were going to fight, we weren’t going to be able to see it AND 1/4 of our fighting forces was disabled. To compound the problems, we were in a completely unfamiliar territory. As far as making battle tactics goes, it doesn’t get much worse than that!

So there we were, on a Triceraton Mother Ship, surrounded on all sides by countless enemies who meant us harm, soon to be attacked by some unseen enemy force. Just another day at the office for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ;)

I’ll let Michaelangelo take over from here.

Be well!

Master Splinter

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