This story was written in 1990. I've never showed it to anyone outside my family. I don't think Mum liked it and I don't remember Brian's comments. I don't know where I got the thing about there being a beach on Manhattan Island from. I've been there (twice) and I'm sure there's no such thing. I do hope New Yorkers will forgive my error. The story needed it. I hope you like it.

Galatea

Beneath the city of New York there grows a second city, a new subterranean Metropolis being built to house the ever burgeoning population. On a human scale the new city is immense; and it is growing A single element within the underground cavern it is being constructed in, it has become a part of that cavern. Vast structures rise and curl beneath the earth like fantastic ribs holding together some fabulous animal of titanic dimensions And like an unborn child, it is not still. Within it people work, visible from the far distant glow of arc welders to the close up sight of simple manual labour, a ditch being dug by hand.

The site is surrounded by earth, a vast subterranean cavern, but still a part of the New York above. Beyond the layers of time piled in geological strata, are the layers of the city, sewer and subway, pipelines and cables. On the street above the new city is a skyscraper whose glass and metal hide glitters like the chitin carapace of some unlikely, limbless arthropod.

Inside the building is an office, a room of subtle and unmistakably Japanese ambience. In its sparse,  ascetic decoration it speaks volumes about its owner. This is not the sumptuous abode of a Kurosawa warlord. There are no bonsai trees or goldfish here.  There is more of the same hardness as the outside of the building; cold metal and sharp edges, Oroku Saki the Shredder lives here.

Oroku is not alone. The man he is with is small and feral and possessed of no redeeming physical feature, save possibly that smallness, which makes him easier to overlook He has a repetitive, obsessive manner and he somewhat resembles an orb weaving spider, forever twirling round and round the cartwheel of its web, hecking tension, replacing broken strands His name is Hideo Yoshiwara.

Hideo was in no way impressed by the larger build of Oroku. He sneered with his gargoyle face at the taller man, "You are hidebound Oroku.  Your old ways are too slow." He seemed to almost preen with his stunted little arms, "I can make things so much more easier for you."

Whether Oroku was interested or merely annoyed by the ugly little man he did not show. "What makes you think I want things easy, Hideo?" he  said "Where is the lesson learned in a fight that's not hard won?"

Hideo drew back as though the very words gave him pain. "Afraid for you honour Oroku San?" he made a proppy, satirical little bow at the larger man. "You see what I mean? Lessons and fights...that's all talk of the old ways. Your brains is in the eighteenth century and so is your hardware. If you want to do this thing properly, you must do it my way, or you will fail, just as you did before."

Oroku would not be baited. "The only force strong enough to stand against me is the turtles," he said, "and I have their measure. You may think my philosophy is hidebound, Hideo, but in this I know I am right: the seed of the solution lies within the problem, and I will get them. Down there."

***

Life on the construction site went on. Two groups of workers both going in the same direction took the same path. A man from one group called a name, thinking he recognised someone in the preceding group. He rushed to the person he thought he recognised and puts his hand on their shoulder, "Hey, George!"

"George" turned around, to reveal to Bill a case of mistaken identity. From the front this is definitely more like a "Georgina". "Huh! Thanks a lot, buddy!"

"Sorry," said Bill quietly, feeling very embarrassed.

His friends had seen it all, though, and laughed at him. "You're not going to impress women talking to them like that," said Sam.

"Nice try, but no cigar, man," Joey added.

Bill shrugged, laughing himself now, "Ah, it's these overalls they make us wear, we all finish up looking like a bunch of clones."

"Whaddaya want?" said Joey, "Pink for girls and blue for boys?"

"Hey, Bill, if George looks as good as that girl, why don't you just ask him out?" said Sam.

The men walked on, separating from the other group. They turned down one of the dingier
alleyways, where the brilliant lighting shone only indirectly, sending much of the alley into black shadow. Eventually they arrived at their worksite, a dank and gloomy, where the air was stale and the light dull. The sewer ran by their workspot like an open canal. They took up their tools and began to work. Hard, dirty labour, but something  to which these gentlepersons were no strangers. These were not the kind of guys people stare at in bars.

Before the men really had time to even pick their tools up and begin to work, they were under attack. With lightning speed, warriors trained in the Foot technique struck, pounding at the men. Bill, Sam and Joey had been together a long time though. They'd worked as a team and helped each other through a lot of scrapes. They lacked the hard discipline of the foot warriors, but they weren't about to sit around and just allow themselves to be beaten up. Work tools good weapons, too. They swung together and accounted for one of the Foot warriors. They
were badly outnumbered though. In the confusion and yelling Bill was flattened and two of the foot clan faded him away into the shadows. Just as it seemed his two friends would also be taken, four green dudes materialised to even things up a little.

Leonardo swung one of the Foot warriors off one of the labourers and held him up, face to face. "Do the words fair fight  have any meaning for you?" he asked politely.

Michelangelo was holding one of the warriors with both of the man's hands in one of this own. The Foot warrior lashed at the turtle with his feet, but Mike hardly seemed to notice. "They think a fair fight is something that happens in a carnival," he said.

Raphael, holding a limp warrior by the belt, grimaced and shook his head sadly at Mike.

Donatello sent one of the Foot warriors into the sewer with a kick that would have left the man reluctant to sit down for a week. "Hey, Mike, the next time you decide to tell a joke that bad, would you mind giving us some warning, so we know not to listen."

Raphael hit Michelangelo's dangling Foot warrior over the head with the limp one he had been holding. Both of them fell to the ground, and a moment later they were gone, a third warrior helping carry the man who had been unconscious. Only Sam and Joey and the four turtles remained.

"Hey, How about that!" said Leonardo. "We scared them away."

"They probably left because they were afraid Mikey was going to tell another bad joke," said Raphael.

Sam picked himself up off the ground and looked dazedly around,  "Did you see Bill?"

"There's no bill," said Leonardo. "We do this for nothing."

"Just the love of the job," said Donatello putting his hand over his heart.

Joey flicked at his face, leaving a smear of blood. "No, Bill. Our buddy. He was down here with us, kind of a tall guy with blue eyes." His hand hovered in the air, about Bill's head height.

Raphael shrugged.  "Sorry. All humans look alike to us."

"Maybe when he saw the odds he decided not to play," suggested Donatello.

"Not Bill," said Joey.  "He wouldn't desert his buddies. He's streetwise, he knows we have to stick together."

"He may be streetwise," said Donatello, "but is he sewer smart?"

"I think the dude just came unglued," said Michelangelo.
 
A moment later the turtles were gone. Sam and Joey were left standing there wondering what had happened. Not knowing where Bill had gone.

"Who were those guys?" said Sam eventually.

Joey shrugged, "I dunno, but if I was them I'd be onto the union about that safety gear they're wearing. Made 'em look like a bunch a turtles."

***

Michelangelo's comment about Bill coming unglued was probably the best description of what really went on. It was only moments before the Foot warriors bore Bill and their injured companion to their master, Shredder. He stared down at the men. "Well?"

"We have brought another one for you, Master."

"One." He stirred the body of the unconscious Foot warrior with his foot. "And what's the matter with him?"

"We engaged in combat."

"You are trained in the skills of Ninjutsu. You do not need to fight these people."

Mr. Hideo watched the performance, laughing. "One for one. How very balanced. You will do things my way at last, Oroku, because you are not stupid. Stubborn, but not stupid."

"Master, the turtles came," said one of the Foot.

"You fought with the turtles?"

"No, Master, we did as you ordered, although we feel as though we are acting without honour, to run away without fighting with the turtles, your enemies."

Shredder gazed at him, his expression blank, unreadable. The warrior had no warning, not knowing whether to prepare himself for his master's acceptance or wrath, or simply dismissal without explanation. He could only wait. "You do not dishonour me by avoiding battle with my enemies." I will fight them in my own way. I will use my Master's skills; to overcome my enemy within their own home."



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