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Chapter 13

Within fifteen minutes, FBI Agent Justin Walker arrived. Justin appraised the picture. “Well done, Haroldson.” He said. “Do we know their names?”

Mr Haroldson turned to Larry. “Henry Stevens and Shyla Evans, sir.” Said Larry.

Justin took out his cell phone and made a short phone call. He returned, and announced, “Agents have been sent to fetch them and bring them here.”

Mr Haroldson smiled. “Well done, Larry.” He said proudly.

There was a knock on the door. Clarisse opened it. After a short conversation with the two men outside, she let them in. Henry and Shyla were in the living room relaxing when the two men entered. “Um,” mumbled Clarisse. “These are two FBI agents. They would like you to go with them.”

Henry nodded, and both of them stood up. They followed the agents without a word out to their car.

In the car, Henry had a quiet word on his phone to Master Wong. After a short discussion with the master, he cut the call.

The door to the rundown news agency on the south side of Rutherford’s CBD opened, streaming the afternoon sun into the room. The two agents entered and stood on either side of the door. Henry and Shyla entered. Shyla concealed herself behind Henry, hyperaware of her surroundings, and readying to defend herself if necessary. Justin stood up from the desk. “Shyla,” he said kindly. “There is no need to hide behind Henry like that. We won’t hurt you.”

Shyla took a small step to the side, but stayed on the alert. Henry looked at Justin. “We can’t start this meeting yet.”

Justin sat back in his chair. “Why not?” he wasn’t used to being told what to do.

Henry looked at Shyla. “We are waiting for our trainer. He has the ultimate say in what happens with us. If he says ‘no’, we walk away and you forget you ever met us.”

Justin nodded, and sized up the two ninjas in front of him. Not even ten minutes after Henry’s explanation, and elderly man walked into the agency and shut the door behind him. Justin rose to his feet, walking around the desk towards Master Wong. “Master,” he bowed. “It’s been too long.”

Master Wong smiled. “Justin, have you been well?”

Justin nodded. “Yes, Master Wong. The FBI has been a fantastic opportunity for me.”

Master Wong looked at Shyla and Henry, then the two agents at the door. Justin understood, and motioned for the two men to leave. Once they were alone, Master Wong indicated to Justin to sit. “Justin, meet Shyla and Henry, or Ginger Ninja and Dark Ninja. Shyla, Henry, meet Grey Ninja. He was one of my best students.”

Henry‘s eyes widened, and he looked at Shyla. They both looked at Justin, who smiled.

Henry looked at Master Wong. “The FBI were looking for ninjas to help with some undercover work. We know you need to sign of on it. And, apparently, your input is definitely needed here.”

Henry glanced around. “Why the subterfuge? Could they not just ask?”

Justin shook his head. “Liborio Fragale has contacts in the FBI. One of them would be alerted if anybody made a direct request for a ninja. This covers our bases and protects our brothers and sisters.”

Both ninjas nodded. They understood the loyalty Justin referred to. It was the cornerstone of what they stood for. The master took a seat opposite Justin. “Let us get down to business. Grey Ninja. What do you need?”

Somewhere on the outskirts of Ronaldton a girl looked through the bars of her cell. She had just been returned to the dingy place after extensive questioning from Liborio Fragale concerning ninjas. She knew nothing of what they were asking, but they suspected she was hiding something from them. The afternoon sunlight filtered through the dust in the yard outside. The girl shifted the bar she was clutching, and it moved. Just a little, but enough to give her hope of escape. She began to scrape at the plaster holding it in with her nails. It would take a long time, but she needed to get out soon.

Henry, Shyla, Justin, and Master Wong all sat around Gary Haroldson’s desk. Justin had laid out the plan to the ninjas, and Master Wong sat back in his chair. “This is all well and good, Justin, but how can you ensure the complete safety of my ninjas? They are the best trainers I have.”

Justin sat back. “I understand your concerns. So we will have a watch on the area as long as they are there.”

Master Wong nodded. “Will my ninjas be armed?”

Justin smiled at the master’s insistence on calling the ninjas ‘his’, since the master had being doing that since as long as he could remember.

“The FBI can issue them with firearms, and hand to hand weapons. Will that suffice?”

Master Wong nodded. He turned to Shyla. “This mission is important. It might seem like a menial job, but this could bring down Liborio Fragale for good.”

Justin smiled. “Great. I know school is out for the summer next week Friday, so the timing is perfect for Shyla to start work at Chubby Chuckies.”

Shyla looked up at Master Wong, then across to Justin. “Exactly who am I protecting?” she asked Justin.

“The owner, Jake Russell. He has Liborio Fragale after him for not paying protection money. You are fairly unassuming, and can become a trainee cashier.”

“What about me?” asked Henry. “Do I have a roll to play here?”

“Yes,” replied Justin. “You will be the guy washing the cars out back, general maintenance, stuff like that. Unfortunately, that was the only available job slot in the convenience store.”

“I’m cool with it, sir.” Replied Henry. Master Wong agreed.

The master turned to him. “I have to get one of the other ninjas to give you a crash course in vehicle repair. You should be good to go after that.”

Henry stood up, and Shyla followed. “We won’t let you guys down.”

“You two will start next Saturday.” Said Master Wong, looking across at Justin. “Good luck.”

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