Turtles Forever... A Trilogy

Dimensional Ass-Kicking Crime Fighting Teams

Chapter Thirty-Four...

The Challenge

The sofa was crowded with Michelangelo's. MikePrime lounged on the seat's back as the other versions of himself were playing video games. With the exception of Mike87 who was still in the dojo meditating, they played relentlessly - much to the delight of Mike12. It was a distraction from waiting to hear further news on Leo87's condition. Mike03 was beating his other selves with little effort as he was used to playing games from his own dimension.

"Dude, this is so unfair. You've been playing these for years." Mike07 grumbled as his game avatar died for the fifth time.

"I am the ultimate dimensional warrior!" Mike03 crowed, his face shining with excitement. "Even in video games I am the Battle Nexus Champion!"

Raph03 heard the remark from across the room and slapped his head with a groan. "Mikey! Not that Battle Nexus stuff again! I'll come over there and ..."

"Battle Nexus?" RaphPrime asked, raising an eye ridge. "What's that?"

Raph03 groaned. Now he was going to have to explain his defeat to a bunch of other Raphael's. "It's a competition in-between worlds. Every four years the best warriors from all dimensions come together to fight and see who the ultimate martial artist is."

"You lost to Mikey?" RaphPrime's eye ridge raised even further. "You lost to Mikey?"

"Hey, he was windin' me up." Raph03 defended, crossing his arms in defiance. "I knocked myself out."

"Sounds fun. How do you sign up?" Raph07 was chewing on some cereal in the kitchen area.

"There isn't one due for some time." Leo03 added. "We've already got the date free."

"Mikey beat you?" Leo07's lip curved upward as he watched Leo03 carefully. "How?"

"I wasn't beaten in the competition." Leo03 sighed and shook his head. "An assassin tried to take me out."

"An assassin?" Leo07 seemed deep in thought. "Is the game a deadly one?"

"No, no. It's just a friendly between warriors. You get zapped out of the arena before too much harm is done." Mike03 shouted from the sofa. "Well, you're supposed to. Most of the time it works."

"Interesting." Leo07 turned to Leo03. "Do you think they would hold a competition between turtles from different dimensions?"

Leo03 grinned, his eyes twinkling with mischief. "I think they might. I'd have to ask permission to use the arena from The Ultimate Daimyo. I think he'd find it ... interesting."

"Huh?" Mike03 looked up from the video game, his eyes wide and unsure. "What do you mean? I won. You can't just start up a contest like that. I'm not losing my trophy."

"Mikey, the trophy was destroyed anyway." Leo03 huffed impatiently. "I'll ask around, see what I can do."

"Do you think it would be okay if I entered?" Casey03 asked, a huge grin lighting his features. "Might not last long but I'd like to give it a go."

Raph03 shrugged. "Hey, you wanna take on a turtle? Let's hit the dojo right now."

"Can't. Those little turtles and their sensei are using the dojo. They've asked not to be disturbed." Leo07 added.

Splinter03 was listening to the conversation, his eyes closed. He was still waiting near his bedroom, ready to assist the other version of himself should it be needed. "I can arrange a competition, my sons. The Daimyo is my friend, and I'm sure he will be intrigued by the proposition."

"Cool. Give me a chance to have a rematch with Mikey." Raph03 flexed his muscles with an evil laugh. "I've been waitin' for this!"

"We'll give little Leo a chance to recover first then arrange the competition." Leo07 mused. He looked happy and eager to have a focus. "Are there any other turtles from other dimensions that we can drag into this?"

DonPrime wandered out of the laboratory, catching the end of the conversation. "Actually, yes. I've been talking to the other versions of myself. Leatherhead and April03 were the ones to find another dimension of turtles. They may seem a little clumsy but they are proficient in fighting."

"What dimension are you talking about?" LeoPrime asked. "We really don't need any more turtles to have a competition. There's enough of us already."

"You'll like these ones. I promise." DonPrime smirked. "They are ... interesting. They fight dragons in their own dimension. They also have a female among them."

"April?" Leo03 asked. "Is she a ninja there too?"

"Not April. Venus. A girl turtle." DonPrime grinned, showing his white teeth fully. "I can't believe it either. How cool is that?"

"Venus. She gonna enter too?" Raph03 asked, twirling a sai in anticipation.

"I would think so. She is a warrior." DonPrime winked at the other turtles and walked back to the lab.

"A few months of preparation before the contest, then a big brawl to see who is the best overall fighter." Leo03 mused. "Hey Mike! You ready to defend your title?"

Mike03 chuckled nervously. "I'd rather just hold on to it. Can I retire undefeated?"

"No." Leo03's grin grew wider, the look of mischief curling his features into a naughty smile. "Reigning champions don't get to retire, Mikey."

Mike03 gulped and watched Raph03 chuckling ominously to himself. He really didn't want to have to fight for his title.

However, it looked as if he had no choice.

Splinter12 observed the small turtle carefully.

Leo87 was moaning in his sleep, tossing and turning, having a horrible nightmare. He leant forward and touched the wounded warrior on the arm lightly. "Rest easy, my son. You will recover from this."

"Master Splinter?" April12 whispered from her sitting position next to Don12. "Will he get better?"

Splinter12 nodded. "Of course, April. Close your eyes and focus hard. That's right. Relax. Do you feel that, April?"

April12 closed her eyes and felt a rush of energy overwhelm her. "Wow. What's that?"

"This little turtle's family are uniting with his spirit on the astral plane. They are keeping him grounded until his body recovers from the trauma inflicted. He will recover well. His family will ensure that." Splinter12 fondly looked at his human student. He was amazed that she had felt the undercurrent of astral power. Her ninja training was yielding some amazing results.

"That's powerful, Master." April12 said in awe. "They must be really strong ninja's to do that."

"Yes, April. Very, very strong. Very, very powerful. Their small forms are deceptive. They have a strength which transcends bodily might." Splinter12 lay a hand on Leo87's forehead. "This little leader is a champion."

April12 smiled and turned to look at Don12. He was buried in a mound of blankets and pillows, sleeping restlessly. "Easy, Donny. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."

Splinter03 settled back and closed his eyes. He focused on The Daimyo's physical features and felt his spirit soar.

The babble of voices from the main room became a dull throbbing ache in the back of his skull. He felt his mind disconnected from his body and sighed deeply. His thoughts were whirring and distracting him from his focus. He imagined each thought as a helium balloon and gradually let them go, one at a time. Finally focused, his spirit became a powerful entity, reaching out between dimensions and time.

So many events had happened in such a short space of time. He shook his head and refocused.

He settled into a meditative trance and felt all his energy converge on The Daimyo's location.

The Ultimate Daimyo was sitting on his throne, waiting listlessly for the next few years to fly by. The wait was too long between contests and he wanted to host a battle right now. His energies and focus was fractured with lethargy and boredom.

His young son was babbling excitedly to him about the great warrior known only as Michelangelo.

The communication came from Master to Master, from enlightened mind to enlightened mind. The Daimyo felt Splinter03's presence and warmly greeted his old friend.

As Splinter03 outlined his request, a small smile forced itself onto the Daimyo's face.

Maybe the next few years wouldn't be as tedious as he thought.

He jumped to his feet with a renewed energy and shouted for his guards. "Quickly! We have much to do. The arena must be prepared immediately."

His guards looked at each other bemused. The Daimyo smiled at their confusion. "A one-off contest is to be held here in the Battle Nexus. A tournament between ninja turtles from different realms. We will hurry! The Battle Nexus Turtle Tournament will begin shortly!"

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