It had been a long time since Allie had ran on foot. But she had to give the Turtle credit, he kept up with her pace and rapidly-changing directions. Finally, she stopped and leaned against a building. "I think we lost anybody following us," she panted.
Mike groaned, "I think I just hit the wall all those runners talk about. And it hurts!"
Allie gulped down air. "This running around ain't helpin' us any."
"What do you call staying alive?" Mike demanded.
"We need to find someone who got some answers," Allie finished.
"Must be your lucky night, Sister." A group of punks stepped into the light, their speaker holding a baseball bat. "There's a big price on your head and we're," he gestured to the other punks with the bat, "gonna get it."
Allie smiled nastily, "Just try and get it." He rushed forward, swinging his bat. She ducked under it, kicked, and swept the punk off his feet. She grabbed the bat and held the thinner section on his throat as she knelt over him. "I would seriously reevaluate my career choice if I were you. You're just not cut out for this."
Mike pulled out his nunchukus and stepped between Allie and the group of punks. "I don't think you want to interrupt their conversation." The punks stepped closer. "Let me put it this way." He removed his hat, "Boo!" He chased the frightened punks off the deserted street. "Works every time."
Allie stared at the punk's face. "If you like your body the way it is now, receiving oxygen, you better tell me who put out that hit!"
The punk gulped, "He calls himself the Shredder. Believe me, I don't know why he wants you dead. All I know is the reward is a thousand bucks."
Mike stared at the punk in shock. "That's impossible! He can't be the Shredder!"
"Why not?" Allie asked, not looking up.
"Me and my bros took out the Shredder--twice! And the police found his body the last time." Mike looked around as a figure dropped into the shadows of a nearby alley. He signaled Allie to stay quiet and walked closer to investigate. A black figure leaped out in a fury, knocking him across the alley. Mike hit the side of a building and slid down to the ground. Allie looked up, distracted. The punk pushed her off and ran. Mike sat up, groaned, and shook his head. "Did anyone get the name of that truck?"
Allie held the bat and confronted the figure dressed like a ninja. "Who are you? And just so you'll have fair warning, I'm not in a good mood."
The ninja's voice was distinctly female and Oriental. "I am a friend. More ninjas are coming. You must leave." She jumped up and grabbed hold of the fire escape. She swung herself onto the metal stairwell and ran up to the roof.
Allie ran into the deserted street. "Come on, Mike! We have to get out of here." Mike stood up and groaned. "This is not the time to be getting slow on me!"
Mike stumbled out of the alley and joined her, hearing a low rumbling. "I must have got hit pretty hard. My ears are still ringing!" He started hitting the sides of his head.
Allie's eyes opened wide. "That's isn't your ears; it's motorcycles! Run!" The motorcycles roared onto the street and circled Allie and Mike. Allie swung the baseball bat, knocking a biker off. She dropped the bat and grabbed the motorcycle. "Come on!"
Mike swung on behind her. "Do you have your license?"
Allie increased the speed. "No. Why?"
He gulped, "No reason. I want to get off now."
"I know what I'm doing," she snapped. "Don't get soft-shelled on me. Duck!"
The bike ripped through the chain-linked gate. The other bikers followed as she weaved between the equipment and metal beams in the construction site. Mike gulped as she headed into the building. "Basic rule is not to ride bikes in a building!" Allie ignored him. "You don't listen to nobody!" She plunged through open doorways and half-built walls. A large section of floor was missing ahead of them. "I hope you aware that we're running out of road!"
Allie let the bike roar closer. "Jump!" She and Mike threw themselves off the bike and rolled behind a row of drum barrels. The bike fell down the hole and exploded. The bikers stopped, then left the site. Allie and Mike crawled out from behind the barrels. "That worked out beautifully. I still haven't lost my touch."
Mike pressed his hand against his stomach. "I feel sick."
Allie looked sympathetic. "You do look a little green." She grinned at his grimace and walked out of the building. Mike frowned but followed. "I think I recognized this neighborhood. Yeah, I do." She turned to Mike. "I know how to get to Dan's from here."
He brightened. "That's a good--no--great idea! We can go there, get something to eat, call my bros...."
Allie started walking down the street. "Do what you like, but I'm checking up on Zack and leaving."
He ran to catch up with her. "You could check on him a lot quicker if you just come with me to our Lair."
"You're crazy, you know that?"
"That explains why I'm hanging with a talking turtle."
"When are you going to admit you need help?" he yelped.
"The day I admit I need help--mental or otherwise--will be the day we reach infinity," she replied coldly.
"Exactly how far away is it?"
Leo didn't like being this close to so many cops. Even though they fought for the same cause, the cops tended to be more afraid of him and his brothers than of the crooks. And he was in no hurry for the cops to learn that they didn't wear costumes.
April grinned at her fidgeting companion. "Nervous, Leo? Chill out. No one's going to bite you here."
"Easy for you to say. You're not on their wanted list." April grinned.
A cop grabbed her arm and pulled them into an empty office. "O'Neil, you are going to get me into the hottest water with Sterns!"
"Have I ever let you down? Now what do you know about this Baker case?"
"You like handling the explosive ones, don't you? Baker was a good cop, unlike some others we got here. He suspected somebody is getting paid off about these Hi-Tech Robberies."
"Sterns?" Leo asked hopefully.
The cop shook his head and April backed him up. "Sterns may be a pain in the butt, but he's honest."
"Yep," the cop agreed, "he just doesn't like someone getting the better of him. Billy started investigating the Robberies for Sterns. He must have stepped on someone's toes."
"Do you have his case notes?" April asked eagerly. If luck was with them.
Luck wasn't. The cop shook his head. "No one has them. They're not even in the station. Sterns could throw a fit, except that Baker's working on the case is a secret. Now get out of here before I get in trouble."
Leo sighed as they left the police station. "Well, that was helpful."
"It sure was, wasn't it?" April grinned cheerfully. Leo looked at her curiously. "We know he was working on the Hi-Tech Robberies case. And we know the ninjas that killed him are involved in the Robberies. I'm seeing a connection."
"But we don't have the case notes," Leo complained. "How are we going to find out what Baker knew that got him killed?"
"It's called digging," April goaded. "Now you know how I usually feel."
"Hey April!" A slim boy of Japanese descent bounded up the steps carrying two pizza boxes. "Working the late shift?"
"Something like that, Keno," April admitted. The teenager was part of the gang, having helped the Turtles defeat the Shredder a second time. Now he kept the Turtles supplied in street news and pizza.
"Hi Keno, how goes life?" Leo gave him a high three.
"The same as usual. Nothing ever changes for the pizza delivery boy. I bet you guys are here investigating the cop murder."
"How did you know?" April asked. She figured the streets probably knew about the murder and maybe about her coverage, but how would Keno know she was investigating it?
"That's all they're talking about in there." Keno jerked his thumb toward the station. "That and the Hi-Tech Robberies. This is my fourth trip up here tonight. They don't like you guys helping."
"We don't have a choice," Leo told him. "We have to do something to keep Raph from blowing his top. But other than the cops, we don't have anything to worry about."
"That's not what I heard," Keno declared. "Are you guys sure Shredder bit it the last time?"
"You saw the body; it couldn't be anyone else. Why?"
"Someone calling himself the Shredder is the mastermind behind these Robberies. I just found out a little while a go from my feelers. I don't suppose you wanted to know that."
"This is getting to be too much," April moaned. "I'm ready for another vacation."
"It has to be someone calling himself that," Leo frowned. "Oroku Saki is dead."
"We have to find out why this new Shredder killed Billy Baker. He had to know something about the Hi-Tech Robberies." April bit her lip.
Keno shook his head. "I haven't heard anything from that angle, but I'll stick out a feeler. Poor Allie and Zack."
"You know Allie and Zack?" Leo questioned. He knew Keno knew many people but this was too much!
"It's hard not to know Allie. Moody, blonde girl that hangs out with Dan. Zack's her little brother--black hair and eyes. I feel sorry for them. First, they lost their parents, now Billy."
"Keno, is there anyone you don't know?" April asked, slightly astonished.
"Actually, I heard about Allie before meeting her. She's called the Allie Cat on the street because of her nine lives. How do you know them?"
"Dan brought them to us for help. It seems the ninjas that killed their brother are trying to kill them too."
Keno stared at the Turtle. "You're not joking." He finally remembered the pizzas. "Look, I gotta split, but if you need any help you know where to find me."
"Right, Keno. And thanks." Leo turned to April. "I don't suppose you have any Shredder wanna-be's in Channel Three's database, do you?"
"Can't hurt to check. But I don't like the sound of this. Do you think Mikey's okay?"
Leo frowned. Mikey wasn't the smartest, fiercest, or most trained of the group, but he was still a Turtle. And he loved living. "I think he's okay. All he has to do is make sure Allie doesn't kill herself." At least, I hope that's all he has to do.