Part 2

The turtles had returned to their home, the sewer cavern where their master, Splinter the rat waited.

Michelangelo waved his hands about in excitement, almost forgetting to bow to his sensei, "You should have seen us, Master, there were many of them."

Donatello squatted on the mat before Splinter before adding to the story. "Yeah, beating up on two guys, but they took one look at us and they were out of there."

"You fought well?" said Splinter.

"We didn't have to," said Leonardo.

"You should have seen those guys move," said Donatello.

"We weren't fast enough to catch them," said Raphael. "They just took to their heels."

"Still builds up an appetite, though," said Michelangelo thoughtfully.

"Pizza?" suggested Donatello.

"Let's make our own," said Leonardo. "Hey, Mikey, ya wanna go get the makin's?"

"Sure. I just love to groove along to the all-night supermarket."

"You're not going alone!" said Leonardo. "I'm coming come too and choose the topping. We're not risking caramel sauce on our pizza again."

Raphael tucked his sais into his belt and reached for his overcoat. "Those guys on the building site just got me warmed up. I need some action."

Splinter cast a worried look which Donatello intercepted. He took the overcoat from Raphael's hand,  "Why don't we stay here and practice a few falls?"

Raphael let him hang the overcoat back up. He rolled onto their dilapidated sofa and reached instead for the controller  for a video game. "No," he said, "I want to wipe your high score off the set."

Donatello joined him on the sofa and watched for a few seconds before prodding Raphael in the ribs and generally annoying him, trying to put him off.

Leonardo skewed the battered leather hat down onto Michelangelo's head, "Don't worry about those Foot guys, Mikey. We scared them off, right?"

Splinter flicked one ear. "Leonardo, even when there is no victory, there is honour in the lesson learned, and yet you are troubled."

Leonardo nodded, "Shredder is on my mind, Master."

Donatello left off annoying Raphael for a moment. "Shredder? Why burn up dendrites thinking about that geek? He's gone. He's dead."

Leonardo reached into his shell and held up the headband from one of the men they had been fighting. On it is the mark of Oroko.  "I got this off one of those guys we were fighting. I don't think Shredder's dead. I think he's just keeping low."

"Shred-head's about as low as they come," said Raphael, not looking up from his game.

"What I mean is, he's trying to keep away from us," said Leonardo.

"What, are you worried that your personal hygiene isn't up to his standard, Leo?" said Raphael.

"Nah. You smell much worse than I do."

Michelangelo shrugged. "Well, so long as he's keeping away, I don't see the problem."

"I'd like to know what he's up to, that's all," said Leonardo.

Donatello gave Raphael's scarf a twist so that the eyeholes were misaligned and he couldn't see at all. "Hey, Leo," he said over Raphael's squawks of protest, "You're not scared are you? You wouldn't be worried about Shredder sneaking up on us or anything?"

Raphael took his mask off and shoved it into Donatello's mouth.

"I just don't like waiting around on account of him, OK?" said Leonardo.

"Well, you know you can't make a good pizza if you don't give it time to cook," said Michelangelo, adopting a sage expression.

"Oh, that's just what we need; pizza philosophy," muttered Raphael.

"C'mon, Mikey," said Leonardo, "let's go shopping."

***

In another part of his office building, Shredder has a large desk and a medium sized architect; Martin Kelly. Shredder indicated a set of blueprints to Hideo. "You have seen the plans?"

"Indeed. Mr Kelly has had the kind generosity to show all of them to me."

A veritable mountain of plans and blueprints littered Oroku's desk. Kelly the architect sat beside the desk, an average looking man of indisputable ability though he was somewhat less than animated. There was a dull, glazed look about him, as though he had just been woken from a deep sleep in a strange bed and was yet to orient himself.

"And you can isolate them?" said Shredder, ignoring Kelly.

"A simple matter," said Hideo.  "I see what you mean when you say the seed to the solution lies within the problem, the sewer is not a very salubrious home. Full of dirty air. Full of gas. Tell me, what do you do when you drop something down the sewer?"

For a moment, Shredder's face remained impassive. Then he smiled and it was an expression of neither warmth nor joy. "Flush it," he said.

"A natural solution," said Hideo. "We will first use the explosive qualities of the methane presently around in the sewer system. We can organise a build up of the gas by blocking these vents here...and here... and here." He indicated various points on the map, outlining them with a pencil.

"Won't they notice the build up of the gas?" said Oroku. "Won't they smell it?"

"Methane has no smell. No colour. Only a big bang. There is plenty of it in the sewers. Your turtles are using power from this cable. We will cut it here and leave them in the dark. When they strike a match to light a candle, they will see what a big bang methane can make."

"And then the water," said Shredder.

"And then we flush," Hideo agreed. "But not just with water. You see, when you want to exterminate some verminous pest, then you need to use some force. I have a little something, unpleasant for humans, very nasty for reptiles. Possibly fatal, though it's hard to tell with mutants. I can promise nothing since you won't catch me one to play with. At best what we are planning will kill them. At worst it will keep them out of our way for a long time."



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