Under Wraps Part 14
It had been hours since they searched the prisoner block and Don was no closer to finding Bethany’s mother or his brothers for that matter. The group was growing weary, especially Julie and the new baby. Bethany struggled to keep the little one quiet and Don was forced to take the group into storage room where there were no security cameras or guards. For the time being, they’d be safe. Right off the bat, Don started wiping down his arms and hands with a spare gown, trying to remove the dried blood. There was no way it was coming off without some water and soap.
“He’s hungry,” Bethany said, adjusting her arms. They grew tired from carrying the baby in the same position.
“Oh its a boy?” Audrey asked.
“Yeah, sorry. We wrapped him up so fast and left the cell in such a rush I didn’t really think about the gender. Anyways, we gotta find some formula or something. He’s going to dehydrate fast if we don’t get some vitamins into him.”
Don sighed and threw down the soiled garment, having given up. “We’ll have to find the stockrooms. With a bunker this big, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a large storage with rations. I can probably concoct a supplement for him that’ll work as a temporary formula until we get out of here.”
“We’ll have to find it soon, otherwise he’ll start crying and alert the guards. But its not safe to take all of us,” Bethany said.
“Right,” Don agreed. “I’ll go out and find some food and bring back whatever I get. Hopefully there’s something I can use to make formula.”
“I’m going with you,” Bethany said.
“No. Everyone stays here. I’m going alone.”
“You’re not going to fit everything in that small bag. You need another set of arms,” Bethany argued.
“I’ll find a larger bag.”
“What if there isn’t one?”
“Don’t argue! Stay put,” Don commanded and he glanced over at Daniel. “Hey, Dan was it?”
“Daniel, but whatever,” he replied.
“Sorry. So, you have any training? Fighting, weaponry?”
“I was a marine six years ago. Might be a little rusty, but I was a sergeant and handled a lot of heavy machinery.”
“How about hand-to-hand combat?” Don asked.
“Was part of the job.”
“Good, you okay to look after the girls for a while, Sergeant?”
Daniel smiled. “Be an honor to serve once again.”
Don dropped a hand on Daniel’s shoulder as a sign of respect and he prepared to head out. He slid his bag off his shoulder and started pulling out supplies, leaving the girls and Daniel with whatever they could use in case someone got a minor injury. He kept the scalpel, latex gloves, and a few bandages just in case before slinging the bag back up. “I’ll return soon.” He then moved towards the storage door and silently slipped through before disappearing.
Daniel had the women move to the other side of the room, but Bethany stayed close to the door, still holding the baby. “Bethany, come on this side. It’s safer.”
Bethany turned and looked at the others. She moved towards them, approaching Kerrigan first. “Can you take him? My arms are getting a little sore.”
“Sure,” Kerrigan said and she accepted the baby boy. “I love babies.”
“Good, because you’re gonna watch him for a while,” Bethany said and she jogged towards the door.
“W-wait! Where’re you going?” Kerrigan asked.
“You need to stay here!” Daniel barked and he attempted to block Bethany’s path.
Before getting near the exit, Bethany spotted a pipe on the wall that was hanging clumsily. It needed to be unscrewed, which she easily did. “Listen, Daniel. My mother is still missing and I’m very determined to find her before Stockman experiments on her. She’s old and I refuse to let her suffer the same way we did. After seeing how the pregnant woman died in such a vulnerable state, I’m really concerned. My mother is diabetic and I doubt she’ll survive mutation. I need to get to her first! You try and stop me and I’ll put this bar through your eye!”
“Don said to stay here!” Daniel cried and he wrapped his hand around the bar, trying to take it from her, but Bethany quickly brought her knee up and nailed Dan in the stomach, which was only a temporary disabler. It was enough time for her to slip out the door and run down the hall and out of sight. She wasn’t sure which way Donnie went, but she took a wild guess at an intersecting corridor and dashed down the hall. At one point, she overheard people talking and they were heading in her direction! She stopped in her tracks, terrified because she only had the pipe in her hand and nothing else to defend herself with. Plus there was nowhere to hide! She looked around the hall, wondering what to do and she nearly started to cry. Her hand planted against the wall and she suddenly regretted leaving the others.
The voices were coming closer. In fact, they sounded like they were running and she was almost out of time! Her head spun around, eyes looking desperately for a hiding place and only spotted the piping above. It wouldn’t be enough to hide her but she had to try anyways. She jumped and found she couldn’t reach without assistance. The guards were coming closer and right around the corner! Her adrenaline was moving and this time she kicked off the wall, her foot using a crack as leverage and she was able to grab a pipe. She was never good at climbing, but a swing of her feet and her tail suddenly wrapping around a pipe allowed her to ease her way up. She squeezed between the larger of the pipes and waited for the soldiers to pass underneath.
She could see them jogging down the hall and she prayed they didn’t spot her. She shut her eyes in fear and listened as the men spoke. There was a quick mention of escaped captives except for cell block F. Not once did the men look up and Bethany breathed a sigh of relief when they disappeared. She slowly slipped out of the tangled mess of pipes and dropped to the floor. When she landed, she noticed something unusual about her arms and legs. They were gray in color and splotchy…just like the pipes. She then inspected her tail. It was the same and she caught on.
“Camouflage…” she muttered. Everything except her gown was colored just like the piping. This would come in extremely handy. With her own pipe in hand, she started trotting down the hall again, looking for a sign to point her to cell block F. It took over twenty minutes before she even found one.
The corridor was long and there were doors everywhere. She peeked into each cell, almost all of them being empty except for the last one…
Bethany pulled open the lock and the metal door creaked open. Inside was a woman restrained to the wall with a metal choker around her neck and a heavy chain dangling from the ceiling, keeping her centered in the room. The grey hair dangling around the prisoner’s face looked familiar and Bethany cried out. She rushed into the room, not caring if an enemy heard her. “Mom? Mom!” she wailed and brushed aside her mother’s hair. She was not responding. “Mom….oh my god! Please wake up!” Bethany begged, shaking her mother’s shoulders. She started bawling when her mother refused to awaken. “No, no, no! Please don’t be dead!”
After trying so hard to get a response, Bethany knew in her heart that her mother had passed away. Judging by the state of the body, her mom had been tested with the serum, but died mid-mutation. Her limbs were discolored and swollen and her face was covered in bruises. She’d been beaten and tortured. Now she wished she never trusted Cassie in the first place. If she’d only stayed put like the turtles asked her to in the beginning, her mother would still be alive. She slumped to her knees and dropped her hands to the floor, in a state of disbelief. Her tears fell and she began to sob. “M-mom…”
Her crying had attracted a set of ears, ones that were friendly. Donatello had appeared in the doorway and spotted the tearful woman on the floor, crying at her mother’s feet. He wanted to berate her for leaving the safety of the storage unit, but he didn’t have the heart to. Instead, he slipped inside, approaching slowly. “Beth…”
She was startled for a moment, but didn’t turn around. The voice computed in her head and she relaxed her shoulders, but her tears wouldn’t stop flowing. “Donnie…I’m so…lost now…” She hiccuped and sniffled, wiping away her tears as they dripped over cheeks.
Don approached the pair and he looked at Bethany’s mother, lifting his hand to her neck. No pulse. They were too late. He guessed this woman had been dead for a few hours now. Afterwards, he knelt down and hooked his arms underneath hers, helping her to her feet. “C’mon, there’s nothing we can do now.” Once she was on her feet, he draped an arm around her shoulders and guided her back out of the cell. As they walked, Don listened to her gentle sobs and attempted to comfort her by stroking her back. At the same time, he needed to be vigilant in case they encountered an enemy. So far they were lucky and eventually found their way into a new sector of the compound. A quick descent down some stairs and a quick beating to a supply guard later, Don kicked open the door to a large storage room and they were greeted with wall-to-wall shelves of food and supplies.
Bethany was still incredibly mopey after her horrible reunion with her mother and only paced around in a circle, not really searching for anything.
“Beth. You okay?” Don asked.
She suddenly grew angry. Of course she wasn’t okay! She just saw her mother’s body in a cell and one-by-one, her family was being destroyed! She ran her fingers through her hair and closed her eyes, then she suddenly started pulling at her strands as hard as she could. The stress was too much…
Don heard her begin to scream and he stopped what he was doing to rush to her side. She was having a massive panic attack and she fell to the floor, her breathing sped up and her body started shaking. “Beth! Just calm down! Relax!” He pushed a loose strand out of her face and tried to pull her into his lap. “You’re okay, you’re okay! Just take a breath.”
The tremors refused to stop. Bethany allowed Don to pull her head in his lap. “Donnie, y-you have…n-no idea what I’m g-going through…”
He frowned. “You’re partially right, I suppose. I’ve never lost a spouse, well an ex-spouse. But I have lost a parent. My father, remember? We told you that he passed away. Was the most important figure in our lives. I took it pretty hard, almost as hard as Raph. I shut myself up in my lab for weeks and refused to speak to anyone. Not until Leo knocked on my door and had a lengthy conversation with me. He really stepped up. I had my new support beam; my brother. Now I treat him like a father figure, same as my other two brothers. We needed Leo as that support. It was the best thing that ever happened to us since Splinter died.” He peered down at her and saw her eyes were red, but her tears slowed down some. Her body wasn’t shaking as much. His words were calming her and he relaxed a little himself before continuing. “You need someone as your beam now, Beth.”
Bethany sniffed and thought about what he said. She had her son and her father and brother left, but she couldn’t see her dad and brother in her current state. “I only have Luke now,” she whispered.
“No, there’s more than Luke. You’ve got…y-you’ve got…” he struggled to finish the sentence.
Bethany sat up, not facing Donnie, but still listening. For some reason, she felt that her broken heart was being lifted out of her chest and healing before her eyes. Her shaking had nearly stopped and she was able to turn around and look him in the eye and she finally said, “You’re right. I just couldn’t see it. No, I didn’t want to see it before. Now, it’s obvious…”
Donnie swallowed hard and brought his hand up to her jaw, letting it slide to the nape of her neck. His thumb caressed her cheek and he finally found the courage to finish. “You’ve got me now, love…”
She smiled and brought her hand up, curling her fingers around his. She closed her eyes briefly and let two more tears fall.
He rubbed away the solitary tear on her left cheek as he glanced over her lips. They looked so inviting…and he couldn’t help but lean in and capture that soft pout in a tender kiss. Now he was certain that what happened between them the other night was legitimate and not just Bethany redirecting her emotions. He held the innocent kiss for a while, at least long enough to pull her closer and share in the warmth of her body for a couple minutes. Afterwards, he held her in a sweet embrace before she was relatively back to normal. Her shaking stopped and her crying had ended. Only her swollen eyes remained, evidence of her heartache. It was now that he let go of her and decided they needed to begin raiding the room for goods. “We have to start searching for supplements and food and water. The baby is waiting on us.”
Bethany nodded and she climbed to her feet. Her loss was still eating away at her, but she’ll be damned to allow a baby to die. The two of them separated and began pulling apart the shelving, digging through cans and boxes. There was so much to sort and Bethany had to climb up a shelf or two since they were out of her reach. There was a large stack of cans at the very top and she pulled one down to read the label. “Protein powder. Don, will this stuff work?” She dropped the can into his hand once he approached.
“It’ll be one ingredient, yes. But we still need something with mixed vitamins and iron. If you find any water, grab it.” He went back to the other set of shelves and tore through the packages. He found granola bars and other things like dried fruit and jerky. He stuffed several packages in his bag along with the protein powder. The bag was slowly filling up.
“I think I found something,” Bethany said. She pulled down another can and jumped off the shelf. “Vitamin and mineral powder.” She handed over the potential ingredient just as Don collected several bottles of distilled water.
“Good, this’ll have to do. At least the protein has a vanilla extract in it so it won’t be flavorless. Hopefully the baby will take it.” He put the small can into his bag and zipped it closed. “Bag’s full. Let’s head back.”
Leonardo and Michelangelo had their hands full with a group of militants and their guns. When the turtles located the armory, they attempted to be cautious, but Mikey accidentally tripped a wire and set off an alarm. So now they had to deal with a group of men, completely weaponless against heavy gunfire. Leo already promised to give Mikey the workout of a lifetime when they returned home. For now, they plowed through a hail of bullets and fists flew as they took out soldiers one by one. Leo took on a particularly large guy who was swinging a kabar knife at him and he dodged a strike and followed up with an elbow to the man’s gut. Mikey was doing what he did best; speeding around the room and nailing the militants in the head with his feet. He was the fastest turtle and he had no problem showing off.
Several more bullets went flying and the turtles took cover, crouching down so their shells took the brunt of the attack. The bullets bounced everywhere, ricocheting off objects and some returned to those who fired them. Several men fell to the floor, dead. When the firing stopped, Leo turned slightly and saw the enemies scattered all over the floor, unmoving. “Coast is clear,” he said.
The two of them cautiously stepped over the bodies, heading towards the back of the armory. If their weapons were here, they’d be locked up somewhere out of sight. When they almost made it, they heard a groan and Mikey jumped nearly a mile in fright.
“Calm down…” Leo whispered and he turned to look at what made the pained sound. There was a human leaning up against a wall, holding his leg and moaning. Obviously hit by a reflected bullet. Leo approached the soldier and reached to grasp him by the shirt. He yanked him to his feet. “Where do you keep prisoner belongings?” he yelled in the injured man’s face.
The soldier did not answer.
“Talk!” Leo demanded.
“Maybe he doesn’t speak english,” Mikey said.
“Focus, Mikey…” Leo said and he pressed a hand against the soldier’s throat. “You gonna talk or do I have to strangle it out of you?” His patience were growing thin with this man and his refusal. When the soldier only spit in Leo’s face, the angry turtle slammed the soldier onto the floor, still holding him by the neck. “Let’s do this the hard way then.” Keeping his grip, Leo dropped his other hand to the man’s injured leg and he harshly grabbed the bloody thigh and started to squeeze.
“Gaaah!!” the soldier screeched as a world of pain was inflicted on his limb.
Blood gushed out of the wound and dribbled down Leo’s hand, but he did not let go. “Speak! Where’s our weapons?!” he growled.
“I d-don’t know!” the soldier yelled back, but he cried out even louder when the turtle squashed his thigh again, this time with more force.
“We’ll do this until you spill it!” Leo barked and pressed even harder.
“Fuckin’ bastards!” the soldier yelled, voice strained and clearly in agony.
It was now that Leo tried something different. “Hold him,” he told Michelangelo. His brother did as he asked and claimed the soldier’s arms, keeping him upright while Leo took to ripping the pant leg of the soldier’s fatigues covering the wound. Once the skin was exposed, Leo brought his thumb down to the bullet hole in his leg and slid it inside, causing more damage and pain. The soldier couldn’t take it anymore and started to plead for them to stop.
“Don’t f-fucking….do that!” the soldier groaned. His leg was on fire and his breathing was labored.
Leo did not let up on his torment, at least not until the soldier finally broke.
“S-stop! Enough! All right I’ll talk!” he cried. He felt a load of relief when the turtle’s digit pulled out of his wound. “There’s a k-key on that soldier’s belt down there…” He looked over at a downed soldier by the doorway. “Just get it and go back out into the c-corridor. The prisoner storage unit is two doors down.”
Mikey continued to hold the soldier until Leo fetched the set of keys from the corpse and then they shuffled out into the corridor, following the new instructions and keeping the soldier close in case he lied to them. They found a door labeled ‘Enemy Arms’ and Leo tried several keys before one finally opened the heavy steel door. All three of them entered and Leo began searching around, pushing aside several high caliber rifles and an assortment of other weapons.
“Where are they?” Leo muttered and he opened a large chest to find knives, brass knuckles, and other small arms. It was wall-to-wall weapons, like searching for a needle in a haystack.
“Yeah?” Leo replied, not looking at his brother as he spoke.
Mikey gestured to a part of the wall that looked unusual. “What about there? There’s a crack in the wall.”
Leo looked in the same direction as his brother and spotted the large crack in the wall. He jogged over to the chipping cement and reached up, grabbing a large chunk. The wall came crumbling down and Leo smiled. “Good call, Mikey!” Leo reached into the wall and pulled out Donatello’s staff and his gear. He slipped the oversized pack on his shell. “How does Donnie do it? This stuff’s heavy…” Then he retrieved his swords and had to slide them into his belt since his shell was already occupied. Mikey’s nunchuks and Raph’s sais were next.
Mikey’s face lit up when he saw his weapons. “Boy did I miss them!”
“Put the guy down. We’re gonna look for the others and get the hell out of here.”
The soldier collapsed to the floor and Mikey took his weapons. “You want me to carry anything?”
“Take Raph’s weapons, but keep them on your person. Raph’s still under punishment.”
Mikey nodded. “I’ll make sure these are safe. So, what about this guy?” He then tapped his foot on the soldier lying unconscious at their feet.
“We lock him in here. They’ll come looking for him eventually,” Leo said and he led the way out of the storage unit. Afterwards, he locked the door and he and Mikey were rushing back down the corridor, determined to find their brothers. They didn’t need to get far before they heard more rapid gunfire and people shouting. One voice sounded like a woman and there was an overload of men yelling.
Leo and Mikey picked up the pace, curious to see who was fighting. Upon arrival at a vehicle hangar, they saw that several militants were shooting at two mutant figures, one they recognized immediately.
“It’s Raph!” Mikey cried.
“Shh! We don’t want to attract the soldier’s attention yet. We’re gonna help Raph, but sneak in and take out as many as you can before they discover us,” Leo said.
From inside the hangar, Raphael and his new female companion were busy fighting back against the soldiers. The girl was pretty vicious and went as far as biting and jamming her newly acquired knives into her enemies. In a way, Raph found her methods unorthodox and unpredictable but he really liked her savage nature. Having gained a pair of knives himself, he stuck to the ways of his master and brothers, only killing if he had to. In this case, he was forced to take out a dozen or so since they were backed into a corner, face-to-face with guns. Most bullets missed them, but a few managed to graze his flesh, leaving marks here and there. Others just reflected off his shell. When the soldiers took the time to reload, the two of them attacked outright and claimed as many enemies as possible.
Eventually, they started to fatigue and had to rotate their attacks; one rests for a moment and the other fights. Soon enough, they were overwhelmed. The bullets came whizzing by at a greater rate and they were running out of ideas.
“Fuck this, let’s just rush in and take out as many as we can!” she growled.
Raph had to chuckle. That sounded like something he would say to Leo, but he knew better than to run into battle half-cocked now. “You want a death sentence? Be my guest, darlin.’ But I got other plans!”
“Like what, chicken-shit?!” she retorted.
“Don’t you be callin’ me names, bitch! I’m more than happy to accommodate ya with a fight again!”
As they argued, they didn’t realize that the gunfire was slowly declining until only two or three soldiers remained. There was a bit of scuffling and some shouts from the men, but all was quiet two minutes later.
“What the hell’s goin’ on out there?” Raph questioned and he peeked up over the top of the vehicle that he was crouching behind. The girl followed suit and they both saw no signs of militants anymore. “Hey! Who’s out there?!”
“I saw movement!” the girl said and she leapt over the hood of the vehicle and charged towards whatever inhabited the room with them. She tackled whoever was on the other side of the jeep wrangler in the corner and found herself face-to-face with another mutant.
“Woah, easy girl!” Michelangelo said, keeping her knives at bay by blocking them with his chucks. She was seated on his torso, pressing down against his strength, but it was only a few seconds before another person tackled her down and knocked her weapons out of her hands.
Raph knew what was going on once he saw Leo come out of his hiding spot and leap at her. He flew to the scene and witnessed his older brother pin the girl to the floor and hold a weapon to her neck. “Leo, relax! She didn’t know Mikey was there!”
“Who is this mutant?” Leo asked, not removing the blade from her throat.
“Actually, I don’t know her name,” Raph said. He scratched his head. “I found her in another storage room. She was a militant under Stockman, but they tried to kill her and now she’s runnin’ for her life. I told her I’d help her escape if she helped me find Luke and the others.”
“You lost Luke?!” Leo cried.
“He was abducted while I was defending him from soldiers outside. This girl said she heard a kid screamin’ a few hours ago. That’s gotta be Luke.”
Leo shook his head in disbelief. Bethany was going to have a breakdown if she found out Luke was taken again. He also believed Raph when he said this woman was going to help them, but he didn’t trust her. Still, he let go of her arm and withdrew his knee form her back. “Fine, but she better be telling the truth.” After letting her up, he studied her form for a moment. She looked suspiciously like…
“Dude, look at the rattle on her tail!” Mikey said and he crouched to the floor for a closer look. “Stockman match you with a snake?”
“That’s my guess,” she replied, growing a bit uncomfortable with the orange turtle’s close observation. “I feel like I’m under a microscope…”
“Relax. My brother can be a bonehead at times,” Raph said.
“What’s your name, girl?” Leo asked sternly.
She regained some composure and scooted away from Michelangelo before stating her name to everyone. “Sophia. You laugh at my name and I’ll fuckin’ kill ya.”