NEW YORK CITY — Teenagers and turtles alike were shocked this week as Foot Clan Chief Executive Officer Oroku Saki announced that Lord Krang of Dimension X had denied his emergency request for interdimensional portals, drilling transport modules, unlimited Technodrome access and hunter-killer “Roadkill Rodney” robot drones.
“Due to insufficient capital, unprecedented write-downs of turtle-related losses, and a failure to secure additional investment,” announced the Japanese expatriate known as “The Shredder” for his aggressive negotiation tactics and deadly forearm blades, “I regret to inform you that the Foot Clan has filed for bankruptcy protection and will immediately cease ninja operations.”
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The collapse of the storied Foot is the largest failure of a ninja clan on record and marks a sudden and catastrophic end to an operation that once spanned six continents, the center of the Earth, two dimensions, Saturday mornings, and most weekday afternoons, dominating its competition in a wide variety of ninja-related crimes, from kidnapping to unlicensed biogenetic experimentation to second-degree larceny.
“Even as recently as five years ago,” remarked a local homeless sporting-good-themed vigilante who commented on the condition of anonymity, “If you bought a color TV in this town, there was a 1 in 3 shot that within a week it would be stolen by ninjas. Now, you can keep a TV set for a year, maybe more, and nobody will touch it. The stores are full of unsold TVs, and people are losing their jobs. This isn’t just a ninja problem — it’s a people problem.”
The Foot Clan was founded when a blood feud between the ninja masters Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi spilled over into the Lower East Side of New York in the mid-80s. Saki originally started training disenchanted adolescents (and later, robots) in the art of ninjitsu to hunt down Yoshi and assassinate him, but in the last two decades, the Foot Clan he created evolved into a truly global brand, with its trademark ninjas spotted in markets from Manhattan to Moscow, Perth to Paris to Philadelphia.
“If you wanted to kidnap somebody, if you wanted to give a rhinoceros a tank top and teach it to fly a helicopter, or if you wanted to kidnap somebody else to use as bait to lure in your real target, who you also kidnapped, there was really no clan to use but the Foot,” said Foot clan ally-turned-enemy Napoleon Bonafrog. “I always thought they were too big to fail.”
But lately, the Foot was getting kicked by hard times. A run of exceptionally costly mission failures caused by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles decimated morale, prompted staff defections, and, most importantly it seems, severely hobbled investor confidence.
“You used to think, sure, the mind control ray is destroyed and everyone on the cruise ship gets to go home safely, but the Foot can absorb the loss,” said Channel 6 News reporter April O’Neil herself a 12-time kidnappee of the Foot, “They have, like, a million ninjas. There’s always going to be something to do with a million ninjas.”
“It became clear to the market that you could throw ten, a hundred, a thousand of these Foot Clan ninjas against one ninja turtle, and it still wasn’t going to reverse the losses,” says Morgan Stanley Analyst Baxter Stockman.
“These were highly rated ninjas – ninjas that had previously completed all sorts of daring acts of stealth and criminality, and if the Foot Clan had managed to ride out this cycle, perhaps until these turtles were no longer teenagers and would have to deal with being twentysomethings, you might have seen these perfectly good ninjas bounce back and generate profits.
But in that environment, it became very difficult for the market to value them. Next to the turtles, Foot Clan ninjas became effectively worthless. Eventually, even Lord Krang has to get frustrated with financing that kind of organization.”
The Shredder’s appeal to Lord Krang, a disembodied brain in an android body (or sometimes a flying chair or a tripod with wheels) known for financing organized crime in the New York area and elsewhere, seemed likely to revive confidence in the Foot Clan and help it turn the corner against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Global markets had all but assumed a deal was imminent. While the immediate cost to Lord Krang would have been considerable, the plan included the possibility that the Foot Clan could more than recoup its costs and potentially even provide Lord Krang with a new body by 2011.
“What you really had here was a crisis of leadership,” says the Rat King, an underground political consultant. “The Shredder framed the request for aid as a demand that had to be met at all costs and with no changes, and Krang didn’t stop gargling or yelling ‘Shredder, you imbecile!’ long enough to have a serious discussion.”
“Lord Krang has long shown that his temper hurts his ability to make important decisions,” said prominent Creole Mutant Crocodile Leatherhead, “but I don’t think he ever considered the possibility that the Foot Clan would actually go under. I think they both lost sight of the fact that the meeting wasn’t about culpability for past failures, it was about finally killing and eating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a soup or stew, which is really something everybody wants.”
Leatherhead added, “I guarantee.”
Leatherhead later clarified that he offered no insurance or guarantee on the Foot Clan’s considerable liabilities.
Foot Clan assets, including its underground skate park / dojos and the world’s largest collection of grappling hooks, will be seized by federal authorities on Wednesday morning. Rumors circulated yesterday afternoon about a possible sale of advanced weaponry and hovercrafts to internationalist terrorist organization COBRA, but no deal seems to be forthcoming, and the Foot Clan’s holdings are likely to be liquidated at auction.
“In the end, it’s just like Keynes said,” Stockman said as he prepped his transformation beam and swatted a fly away from his face, “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay a ninja.”