Round 1. Battle 2.
Sitting in their VIP box above the arena, Casey07 and April07 squeezed each others hands in delight as their own Raphael won the fight. Beside the couple, the Turtles friend Keno sat with his fist screwed up in his mouth, his body shaking with excitement. The lad was practically bouncing off his seat and radiating energy as he longed to be in the arena and fighting alongside his friend, Raphael. Next to Keno sat Karai07, her eyes narrowed with concentration as she observed the fight with calculating eyes. To her side, Professor Jordan Perry was sitting, a small smile lighting his expression.
"Is it just me, or has Raph gotten stronger?" Keno asked as he turned to the mysterious lady sitting next to him.
"Raphael is a powerful adversary. "Karai07 whispered. "I had no doubts he would win. Especially when I found out his rival was only thirteen."
"Thirteen?" Keno choked. "What the hell?"
"Dimensional time-hopping at its finest! Each set of turtles from their own dimension will be a certain age, and this can fluctuate." Prof. Jordan Perry explained, rubbing his hands together with glee. "From what I've worked out, the turtles from our dimension are, by far, the oldest versions. Therefore, it was never going to be a very fair contest. You have the Prime, literally starting out in the world having faced only a few villains, then you have our Raphael who has been fighting threats for years."
"I don't get it," Casey07 scratched his head. "Ain't the Primes the first turtles ever? Shouldn't they be the oldest?"
"Sure. If it worked that way." Prof. Perry rooted around in the small man-bag he had brought to the arena. "Here, this is the source material. The Primes are literally taken from this first comic book."
Casey07 took the first edition comic book and looked in doubt at the cover. "This don't explain nothing. Ain't they fought their own battles? There has to be more comic books than just this one. Right?"
Perry sighed in annoyance. "It doesn't work that way! When the Primes were attacked by Shredder from the 2003 universe, the villain homed in on the youngsters from their first ever comic book. Before all their adventures truly started. They were more vulnerable, less experienced. Being only thirteen years old, barely starting their life as warriors, that evil Utrom Shredder sought to destroy the source of turtle life forever. It was easier for him to take them out at thirteen than wait until they were battle-hardened."
"Could he have done that? Gone for older version of the Primes?" April07 asked. "It seems very unfair that he went for them as children."
"It was the same source universe, so it didn't really matter when Utrom Shredder attacked them. I guess he wanted to have an unfair advantage. Further down their timeline they would have greater skills and be far less easily murdered," Perry explained. "Plus, there is a special energy linked to that first comic book that transcends dimension and time. By destroying the Primes at such a young age he would (a) not only wipe out their entire future as warriors, but (b) target that special energy that comes from the first comic book - the true main root of all turtle life."
"Wow. At least that evil Utrom Shredder has been wiped out now. So, the Prime Shredder, when he went for Home World, what was all that about?" April07 squeezed her boyfriend's hand for comfort.
"There will always be a new threat, there are villains running rampant in all turtle worlds. With Home World it was slightly different, however. ShredderPrime reasoned that the root must have come from a seed. The seed was a universe all its own."
"That's one very powerful seed." April07 murmured.
"Some of them are here today, from that legendary Home World. I believe that even Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are among the spectators here today. They were plucked from the year 2013 to join us today." Prof Perry smiled at the thought.
"This stuff is blowing my mind." Casey07 admitted.
"Wait!" Keno leaned forward excitedly. "The next battle is about to begin!"
Karai07 rolled her eyes at the youth's energy and hid a small smile behind her hand as she observed the two Donatellos re-enter the arena. The tall one was still shaking but seemed more centered. Karai could understand the turtle's fear. Being surrounded by thousands of people was something a ninja could never anticipate. Don12 was only reacting normally to his unusual situation.
Don12 stepped back out into the glare of flashing cameras and a roar of support from an over-excited crowd.
"You okay, Donatello?" Don87 asked gently.
The youngster nodded and gulped. "I think so. It's just ... this is so ..."
"Cool?" Don87 waved at the spectators and a roar of applause swelled from the depths of the masses.
"Yeah. Very cool." Don12 agreed. He was shaking a little still, but the energy from the crowd was invigorating him and giving him strength.
"Go on Donny! You can do it!"
Don12 turned to the audience and scanned the row of faces for the person who had shouted at him. He nodded nervously and readied himself, dropping into a familiar crouch and waiting for his opponent to make the first move. The bo was slick in his sweaty hand and he trembled slightly - nothing in his training had ever prepared him for this.
His adversary smiled encouragingly and primed himself. Don87 was more at ease in this situation, but he would give as much support as possible to the youngster, who was absolutely terrified and still reeling from the overwhelming situation. The older turtle sympathised with his doppelganger, it was a strange new world to suddenly be dropped into. The flashing lights, a swelling crowd of indistinct faces, the sudden shock that you are the centre of this amazing new world, yet the parodox was driving the young turtle mad. They were ninja, sworn to the shadows and completely unprepared for this moment. A moment when they were the focus of so many.
"So, working on anything new?" Don87 asked as he went in for the first strike. Both staffs collided and a wooden 'clunk' was heard across the now silent arena. Don12 had easily blocked this first strike and his posture eased as he realised his training wouldn't let him down - he could still be frightened and fight.
"A few things. I'm working with the Donny from Third Earth to merge Kraang and Utrom technology. Seems like the two have a lot in common." Don12 felt his confidence grow. Talking about science helped him forget the weird and overwhelming situation, and helped him engage in battle more easily. He twirled his bo in a fancy manoeuvre and hit out at Don87. The older turtle blocked the move and fell back with a slight smile ghosting his lips.
"We'll have to add Dimension X technology to the mix. I reckon we'd have something amazing - super charged tech with immense potentiality." Don87 swung at his younger counterpart, following through with a sweep of his leg. Don12 dodged both moves and fell back, holding his bo and shaking with excitement.
"Please! I'd love that! We'll have to come together and put all of this technology together. It would be incredible!" Don12's thoughts turned to the merging of all this technology and his focus on the battle faded. His eyes were distant and large with all the possibilities floating around in his powerful brain.
"Donatello?" Don87 grinned.
"Yeah?" Don12 focused again, and the staff tightened in his grip.
"I'm going to come at you full-on. I want you to knock everything out of your mind and just concentrate on beating me. Can you do that?" Don87's voice hardened as his focus returned to the fight they were engaged in.
"I think so. It's just ... the thought of all that technology in one room with so many versions of myself ... I can hardly wait!" Don12 trembled with anticipation.
"Focus, Donatello. Take those thoughts and store them in a box inside your head for safe-keeping." Don87 waited patiently.
"You're right. I have to focus on what is happening now." Don12 mused to himself. "I've discussed this with sensei before, I just have to live in the moment. Clear my head of all distractions."
"That's right. You have to be mindful. Acknowledge your thoughts and let them pass but be fully in the moment." Don87 stepped back and prepared to strike.
"Mindful. Right. Just have to ... argggh!" Don12's body went onto autopilot as the older turtle suddenly attacked with a flurry of experienced moves. He was forced to move backwards as the other's bo collided with his own, shaking his entire frame with the strength behind each strike.
Don87 held nothing back. He was powerful and determined, his eyes narrowed as he forced his counterpart backwards toward the clapping spectators. Don12 found himself strangely devoid of thought as he battled his opponent. His mind had shut down, the superior intellect taking a well-deserved backseat to a more primal state. He blocked, he weaved, he somersaulted, all with the grace of a trained and capable warrior. The staff from his opponent rarely met flesh, and when it did, Don12 minimised the impact by darting backwards and allowing his shell to take the full force of the blow.
Don87 was faring equally well, which was a little surprising to the older turtle. He was impressed with the youngster's skill - each move connecting with a well-rehearsed block, until the inevitable happened.
One of the Donatellos made a mistake. The other, now seeing his opening, moved in for the final strike.
Don87 spun wildly out of control as the foot swept his legs from under him, and landed awkwardly on his side as his eyes widened in horror. Don12 had launched himself from above and was bearing down upon the older turtle with the full weight of his bo primed for a final strike.
"No!" Don87 put an arm to his face, his other hand wildly scrabbling for his weapon which had fallen several feet from his outstretched hand.
Just before the fatal blow connected, a shimmering white light enveloped the frightened turtle and Don87 was immediately transported to the holding room. He arrived still shaking and lying awkwardly on his side, arm lifted to protect his face from the oncoming blow. "Wait!"
"Easy. It's okay." A gentle hand pried away the trembling arm and Don87 looked up into the eyes of another. His expression melted into wonder as he took in her female body, her sweet eyes and her caring manner - all in the body of a turtle. "You are safe now, Donatello."
"Thanks, I think." Don87 rose to his feet with the help of the female turtle. "You must be Venus. I've heard a lot about you."
Venus stepped to one side and allowed Don87's master to attend to his shaken student. Leo87, Mike87 and Raph87 were all gathered around their brother.
"Dude, you did great!" Mike87 slapped a hand on his brother's shell. "That fight was awesome."
"You think?" Don87 looked a little downcast. "I got beaten by a fifteen year old. How did that happen?"
"A fight is savage and unpredictable, my student," Splinter87 explained gently. "What matters is that you fought with honour and came back to us intact. You have made me a very proud sensei."
"Thanks." Don87 blushed and looked at the floor. "Where is the other Donatello? Is he back yet?"
"The winner is receiving his glory," Splinter87 stated. "He will return to the holding room shortly."
Don12 looked in surprise as his bo connected with solid ground. He had meant to pull back at the last moment, but his youth and inexperience had almost resulted in a deadly blow. Shaken, he barely registered the crowd cheering and chanting his name.
Gyoji, the Daimyo's right hand assistant, appeared before the shaken youngster and proclaimed the winner in a loud voice. The cheering was deafening, and Don12 made his way back into the holding room, pale and exhausted. He couldn't savour his moment of victory - he was concerned about Don87 and needed to see him immediately.
"Is he okay?" Don12 trembled as he sought out his opponent. He barely registered the female turtle as he caught sight of Don87. "I meant to pull back. I wasn't trying to kill him."
"Donatello is fine. Remember, you can't kill anyone here at the Nexus." Splinter87 patted Don12's arm. The turtle shook violently.
"It's just ... I didn't mean ... I'm sorry." Don12 looked at the ground, downcast.
"Hey, you did great." Don87 smiled warmly. "I'm okay now. Don't worry about it. I keep forgetting how young you are, but you did great. You won a fair fight."
Leo03 surveyed the scene and prepared himself for combat. He had been meditating solidly for the past three hours, his katana laid before him as he knelt with his arms folded on his knees. The sudden appearance of Don87 had alarmed him somewhat, but he was glad that the teleportation was working correctly. From his own past experience, the safety measure didn't always work when needed.
"Shelladelic, dude. Ready for some green time?"
Leo03 opened his eyes and smiled warmly at the clumsy version of himself. "Sure. Do you prefer to be called Leo or Leonardo?"
"Just call me Leo - or the turtle that brings a shellful of pain!" Leo97 raised his thumbs and grinned broadly.
"Right ... Let's go." Leo03 rose to his feet and lifted his Battle Nexus swords, neatly sheathing them on his shell as he stood before the other version of himself, smiling gently. "After you, Shellful."