As Anthony debriefed Justin on the situation, Anna crawled under the nearest SUV. She had seen something of interest, and proceeded to examine the engine carefully. Her hands were coated in diesel and oil from where the fuel pipe had detached, but she still managed to keep a hold of the wrench she had used. She became aware of feet beside her head, and stilled her movements.
One of the police officers bent down next to where she was working, and shone his torch onto her. “What are you doing under there?”
Anna frowned at him. “I’m checking something under here.”
The officer didn’t seem convinced. “You’re not authorised to be in this area, young lady. I need to ask you to get out from under there so we can escort you to safety.”
Anna growled under her breath. This had to be another hot shot cop, fresh from the academy and eager to make his dent in society. And clearly he had decided that, somehow, Anna was in danger. Anna scowled. “Firstly, get that torch out of my face. Secondly, I’m very much authorised to be here, since I helped put some of those idiots out of commission.”
Anna could see she was pissing the cop off. Good. The police might think they were the final law in Rutherford, but until Liborio Fragale was taken down, ninjas would always be on top. Besides, what cop ever thought it was normal for a seventeen year old girl to decide to do some maintenance under an SUV ten minutes after a gun fight had just happened? Especially at four o’clock in the morning.
As Anna decided this cop must be an idiot, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He reached under the car to pull her out, but was stopped by Steven. The other ninja had merely bent down next to the cop, and smiled at Anna. “What did you need a second look at?” he turned to the cop next to him. “Leave her alone. She’s our mechanic.”
The officer switched off his torch and stood up, clearly confused and embarrassed. “Your mechanic?”
Anna pushed herself out from under the SUV and stood up. The diesel and oil that had spilled onto the asphalt had now coloured her corn blonde hair a dark grey. A smear of engine grease across her cheek completed the look, and she scowled at the officer. “Do that ever again, and my wrench will find itself where-“
Before the threat could be completed, Justin stepped in. “I assume you weren’t down there to tune up the engine, Ms King.”
Anna blushed, grateful Justin had stopped her. Ninja immunity only took somebody so far. They might be on top, but social boundaries still needed to be respected. “No, sir. But you’re going to like this.”
Anna took the officer’s flashlight, and smashed the driver’s window of the SUV. The look of horror on the face of the cop was almost humorous, and Anna felt herself smiling as she handed the torch back to the stunned cop. She popped the hood, and bent excitedly over the engine. She was joined by Steven on her one side, and Justin on the other. “I noticed this when I disconnected the fuel line.”
Anna pointed to a black box underneath the main engine block. Steven bent forwards, and grinned when he realised what he was looking at. “Hot damn. That’s a complex GPS tracker. We can track every move this vehicle has made for the last six months.”
Justin grinned with him. “If we can link this vehicle to any of the attacks in the area, we can take them down.” He turned to Anna and clapped her on the shoulder. “Good work, Anna.”
Steven’s specialty subject had been Electrical Engineering, and he wanted a closer look at the device. They managed to jack the car up, and spent some time under the SUV, examining everything.
Anthony was helping the police process and clear the scene of any debris. He had kept an eye on Anna and her situation, but he knew she was strong enough to defend herself. Her takedown had been quick, efficient, and clean. He continued to work with the police, and soon went to see what Steven and Anna had found.
While he, Steven and Anna pored over the SUV, Henry sat with Essie on the grass. Her thin frame was tucked up against his side, and he had wrapped a blanket around her to keep her warm. He put his arm around her shoulders, and held her close. “Don’t worry. Shyla’s the best at what she does. Shaun will be okay.”