The Concrete Prison FAQ
Why did you make Venus lay eggs instead of having a live birth?

Because I wanted to be different :o) The live birth idea had been done before, and to me it seems a bit too unnatural. I know that the turtles are half human and so a live birth would be plausible, but I thought that it would be better if I kind of combined the two. So instead of laying a clutch of eggs, Venus would lay one large human baby sized one. And instead of having an independent turtle hatchling, I decided that it's growth was to be somewhere in-between that of a turtle and a human. Also in the previous fic, The Glass Prison, it was mentioned that the turtles' body temperature was like that of a reptile, so if Venus gave live birth, they would be uniquely classed similar to a monotreme, which I didn't really want.

By the way, for those wondering, Venus' gestation period is based off the common green sea turtle, although I think I extended it a little longer because of the fact that she's got human DNA.
Why a boy?

Once again I wanted to be different. Usually (not all) in fics the first/only child is a female, most likely because they wanted to balance out the genders or tell the story from a female turtle perspective. I too was thinking of doing a girl, but I think the idea of calling the son after the father was stronger and more meaningful to the story.
What problems did you encounter when writing this?

Heh, what problems didn't I have!? First of all, I was partly hesitant to write a sequel for fear that I would fall into the Hollywood trap where the sequels to good movies are crap. So my main problem was to think up a decent storyline that was going to live up to people's expectations. The pressure!! Luckily I had some ideas left over from The Glass Prison and a few others that I could hopefully string together.

The next problem was the setting. I know nothing about Washington DC, I'm an Australian! New York's okay to write about because every second American movie is set there, but there is nothing really to give me an idea about the nation's capital... except for 'Independence Day' and 'The American President' :o) It also didn't help when I discovered that The Pentagon wasn't even in Washington DC to begin with!! Do you have any idea how hard it is to look up the basic facts of The Pentagon without bumping into millions of news reports on the web about the 9/11 attack? Pretty hard, but I eventually found some info. I also knew very little about London, however I was fortunate that my sister had delivered a lecture over there recently so she was able to answer most of my basic questions.

It was also hard to come up with a story line and decide which parts I should leave out, what I should put in and how to end it over all. It took me quite a while to write down and plan the whole plot. Then I had the major problem in figuring out the time zones; eg if Don's in Sydney and it's midday, then at the same time, what time is it in London. VERY tedious... and I think I sought of gave up on that aspect after a while! :o)
What is a selectively permeable membrane?

*Looks up Biology textbook*
Membranes that surround cells and the boardering regions within cells. They are made up of orderly arrangements of protein and fat molecules. Certain small molecules may pass through pores in the membrane but larger ones are held back. For this reason the membrane is described as selectively permeable or semipermeable.
Why couldn't the turtles travel by boat, not by plane, to get out of London? Where's Donatello in all of this?

Well Leonardo and company want to get to Australia, while Donny wants to get to London which is literally on the other side of the world. The biggest problem is the distance. Already by plane it would take three flights over 24 hours. I suppose Leo could sneak aboard a boat going to France, however the problem then is how do you keep a baby quiet all the time? Having a baby is a big hinderance for them and that is why they probably want to take the quickest route possible. Also if they chose to enter Australia by boat... good luck! The security around Australia's coast line is heavily guarded as most boats are checked thoroughly for illegal immigrants. Also, Australia compared to the rest of the world is in the middle of nowhere, so that would be a very, very long boat ride.

With Donatello, he's developed a strong sense of fear. Although he greatly misses his family, he's scared of the consequences should he fail. He feels insecure knowing that he cannot rely on his gadgets to solve his problems, and in order to rescue his family, he has to have numerous flawless plans and backup plans along with a lot of luck. He feels as though he's finally found a safe haven and is quite reluctant to leave it behind, rather wanting his family to find him, not the other way around. This fear continues on when Leo and the others are captured.

Another factor is time. At first the urge to leave London was strong, yet over the many months when the situation seemed hopeless, the turtles slowly began to focus on the short term; gradually losing their over all goal. The same happens with Donatello. Although 'absense makes the heart grow fonder', without his family, Don slowly learns that he can live day to day without them and their company. He knows that he should try and find them, yet as time passes, the harder it is to go back to immediately planning their reunion.
Why the giant leaps in time?

If the turtles existed in real life and they escaped, people wouldn't give up searching for them after only a few months. In actual fact, scientists are still searching around rainforests for rumoured Tasmanian Tigers, which have been clasified as being extinct for many, many years now. For the sequel, I want to show how the glass prison has affected the turtles' lives, which will also take longer than just a couple of months. I didn't want the fic to end up being a simple rescue for Donatello which would only take a couple of days. I also wanted to introduce a lot of new themes such as genetic problems, family upbringing and even a few spiritual elements, along with some of the old themes that were seen in The Glass Prison. The main reason though was that I wanted Raphael to grow up as I didn't want him to be a baby the whole fic through, and I hope that you agree with me on that one.
Leo and Venus get their first kiss together, then two chapters later they're married! Why didn't you give more detail on their developing relationship?

The Leonardo and Venus relationship has been done before numerous times. So the idea of hooking the two up wasn't an original one and I felt that didn't have to be written as, like I said, it's been done before. However, even though Venus and Leo are commonly seen as a couple, what hasn't been done before is a fic about Venus' children. So far I haven't found a fic where Venus' children have grown up. I've found fics where she's been pregnant or she's just given birth, but never a fic where the second generation has grown up considerably, and that's what I wanted to accomplish. I jumped the fic drastically into the future so I could focus more on that than the relationship which has been done before.
Are the stories about snapping turtles and snakes in Sydney's drains true? Is Sydney's weather really that unpredictable?

Yes, what I've said about snapping turtles and snakes are true (although the possibility of having more snapping turtles down there is more of a rumour than fact). New South Wales is currently declared to be around 90% drought ridden, including most of Sydney. Over the years, the weather has been increasingly unpredictable, most likely because of the ozone layer hole which is really close by compared to other countries. Sometimes in the middle of summer, there would be tropical thunder storms at the end of each day for about a fortnight, then there'd be no rain at all. Don't get me wrong though; it does rain quite frequently in Syndey, just that the rain doesn't fall near the catchment areas so everyone has to be on water restrictions. Out in the country though, if it hasn't rained, then the ground becomes really dry, and when it does rain, the soil can't soak the water up. With dry leaf little and daily thunder storms, bush fires are quite common in summer. It doesn't help either when eucalyptus trees are extremely flamable and will explode when ignited. The smoke created from the fires are usually pushed up along the coast because of the Sotherly winds we get from Antartica, causing the smoke to build up in the city. This is seen in chapter 17. But don't get me wrong; this may all sound dangerous and untame, but really you get used to the weather, and with the fires it is rare that a house is lost.
Why do you like Venus so much? I've seen NT:TNM and I must say that I found Venus quite... annoying!

Yeah, Venus annoyed me too sometimes in NT:TNM. Like I said in The Glass Prison FAQ, I need Venus for plot development otherwise the fic would be missing a whole bunch of themes and things to do. I don't like everything about Venus, however I believe she was a good concept with all the Shinobi stuff, and that she had a lot more potential than what she was granted on the show. It's also more of a challenge for me to write about Venus and make you remotely like her! :o)

I've heard a lot of people say that they didn't like Venus because she stole the show or that she was too dumb, when rather she barely had any lines in some episodes and she was considerably smart by the fact of how educated she was in the Internal Arts theory. I believe that the REAL reason Venus was hated was because, for female fans particularly, she destroyed any mental visions of what a female ninja turtle would look or act like. I think that Venus would have been a lot more popular if her character was based more off Raph or even Don, but with her being like Leo, it skewered most of the stereotypical images of what a female turtle should be. This attitude is reflected in fanfics where authors will go out of their way to create their own female turtle character even though Venus already exists; Mary Sues as they are sometimes called. Also, it unbalanced the group as the four boys already covered most of the personalities with Leo being serious, Don being smart, Mike being funny and Raph being, dare I say, 'angry'. Venus didn't have a strong personality and that became her downfall. Another thing was that people thought it was just a marketing ploy and Venus was used as a token female, thus causing people to hate her just because she was for political correctness and stereotypicality... But that was going to be an obvious reason as to why people would dislike her and it isn't the first time this has happened... Have you noticed that there aren't too many April fans?

However one of the major reasons why I think Venus is disliked is because she gave hope to the turtles (it's quite depressing to think that people would rather let all the turtles die off rather than to let Venus live on!). I've taken this fact and used it as a theme in The Concrete Prison in hopes of showing that just because Venus is female, that doesn't neccessarily mean that the species is going to be fine. Hopefully I've made you question about the ninja turtle's future when concerning the third generation in particular. Sure, the creation of the second generation is easy... but what about the third? Fourth? Or even fifth? All Venus really does is prolong their extinction, and I hope to achieve in making people stop hating Venus for the reason that she gave the ninja turtles hope...
In real life, what do zoo keepers really do?

It depends on what type of animals they work with, but essentially the basic plan for everyday is the same. At the start of the day, they clean up the enclosure and do food prep (cut up and prepare the food for the animal). Then they'll check the animal's health (usually by letting it perform a few tricks eg; to check that a tiger's paws aren't cracked or cut, they'll command the feline to rise up on two feet and place their front paws on the cage bars so the zoo keeper can check underneath), before going out into the enclosure to disperse the food they've prepared for behavioural enrichment purposes (so the animal has something to do and doesn't get bored quickly). The animal is then released and is allowed to roam the enclosure freely for the rest of the day. Between morning tea and lunch, zoo keepers usually have to fill out some paper work (eg; feeding schedules) and depending on how confident they are, they have to deliver keeper talks. After their lunch break they give the animals a bit more food, before completing a few odd tasks depending on what species they look after.

Some of the different things that have to be done are;
- For birds, any bird that isn't currently on display can sometimes be trained for air shows etc. The same is true with seals.
- With the big cats and any other predator, special safety procedures need to be taken. Eg; Another zoo keeper needs to be called in to double check all the locks.
- Shredded newspaper and other toys have to be added to the apes nighttime enclosure for extra behavioural enrichment and also because the newspaper is needed as bedding.
- With reptiles, the enclosure's temperature has to be checked regularly and insects have to be bred specifically.
- With nocturnal exhibits, the room's lighting is set on a timer so that when it's day, it's night for the animals, and when it's night, it's day, hence they sleep when there are no visitors. This means that the enclosures have to be cleaned earlier than usual in the morning otherwise it becomes too dark to work.
Bonesteel's work phone number seems awfully familiar...

Hehe, that's because 212-555-0674 is actually Mike's pirate radio station phone number in TMNT:TNM!
Did the story line ever change when writing this story?

A little bit. I had a couple of different ideas running through my head. Originally, Dr Aquel was going to free the turtles, and Donatello was going to fall for her, but I decided against it as I thought a love triangle between Mike, Don and Sarah was more original. I also thought Joseph Fiffer and Sarah would look cute together as well, but obviously I changed my mind on that one. The thought of killing off Diana had also crossed my mind, but in the end I couldn't see the point in doing that.
What's with the Krispy Kremes?

Lol! It's an inside joke. Krispy Kremes has only just been released over here in Australia, so there's a lot of hype going around at the moment. Also, because they've only just come out, there's very few stores. So, because of their rarity, whenever anyone is remotely close to Krispy Kremes, they'll buy a box. The person doesn't even have to like the things; they just buy them cause they're there at that moment! It's really quite bizarre. Hehe, and because they're so had to get, you see people at school who live in the area trying to barter them off, or whenever there's a chance to fundraise money at school you'll see tonnes of boxes being completely sold out. It's a really wierd phenomenon! It's like whenever someone goes to the city, they come back with a box of Krispy Kremes for no apparent reason! So since Donatello was near the airport (there's a store near there), he suddenly reappeared with a box of Krispy Kremes. Hehe.
No matter how random it is, if you have any other questions regarding The Concrete Prison that you'd like to be answered, then drop me a line at [email protected]
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