Go-go dancing, Thrush villains, and Kolob Canyon are the backdrop of a new project by Thrush. The agents need not only to put a stop to it, but first they must find out exactly what the project is.
Napoleon led the way up the stairs to the next floor and the labs. A large machine sat on the table directly in front of them. With no one around, they entered the room.
“I do not like the quiet,” Jo complained.
“You’re sounding like your brother now, always wanting to do things the hard way. It’s the middle of the night, why would you expect people to be working?”
“Really, I’ll see if we can find any files about the project while you set the explosives. We’ll search for Naan so set the timers for thirty minutes. I don’t think there’ll be anyway for us to get that machine out of here.”
“I still don’t like it,” she mumbled as she set to work setting the plastic explosives in the corner when she first heard it.
As she placed the first ball of explosives on the machine itself, Napoleon opened the file cabinet. A small boom set the papers inside on fire. He jumped back unable to get even one of the folders out of the drawer.
“Jo, set those charges now, we need to get out of here.” He said as the flames began to spread to surrounding areas.
“Now what?” he said moving away from the flaming area.
“I am no longer concerned about the quiet.” She pointed toward the ticking bomb that was hidden in the floor grate.
The clock only had two minutes left on it. As they ran toward the stairs, they dropped the plastic explosives along the way. If the building was going to blow they would make sure it went all the way.
They took two steps at a time and opened the outside door just as the discharge ripped through the building. It sent the agents flying through the area landing in the parking lot out back.
Jimmy came running to help them up. “Mr. S, Jo, you guys okay?”
“We’re okay. Let’s get out of here before the police start asking embarrassing questions. We’ll have enough of them when Waverly finds out what happen here.”
Sitting around the table in the conference room after being checked out by medical, the four agents were waiting for Waverly to address the situation. He was not happy and made sure his agents knew it.
“So let me get this right. A group of my best agents not only didn’t get the device or any information about the device does but did manage to allow Naan to escape. Perhaps someone would like to explain to me how this was possible.”
“Sir, the place was wired to blow. We just barely made it out before the building turned into a raging inferno and came down around us." The CEA explained not as an excuse but a statement of fact.
“Mr. Solo and Kuryakin find out where Naan is and what the device does. Miss Kuryakin and Mr. McLaughlin interrogate the prisoners and see what you can come up with. I want results and I want them now.”
Before dismissing the agents he glanced at the soviet’s face that was different shades of purples, blues, and reds. “Are you medically cleared to continue with the assignment Mr. Kuryakin?”
“Yes sir, I am capable of proceeding. I am fine.” A glare at the other agents prevented anyone from contradicting him.
With that, Waverly dismissed the agents.
As they walked out of the office, Napoleon said. “You’re fine? That’s not what the doctor said. I believe he suggested you take a few days off.”
“Suggested not ordered. There is no reason I cannot continue.”
Knowing that arguing with his stubborn partner was useless, he commented to the group, “Well that went better than I thought it would.”
“Better? How can you say that Mr. S? He seemed pretty steamed to me.” Jimmy noted.
Napoleon had given up trying to get Jimmy to change how he addressed the two senior agents. “We could be heading for Antarctica for a six month stent. Illya and I will look over what research and security has on Naan and his latest movements. You two work with the prisoners and while you’re at it, see if you can find out how they knew I was coming. I don’t believe that phone call was coincidental.”
About an hour later, Jo and Jimmy stood outside the CEA’s door.
“Do you think Mr. S will be upset?”
“Well let us just say that Mr. Waverly is not the only person that can send us to Antarctica and hopefully Napoleon will not remember it.”
“I’m glad you’re the senior agent on this. I don’t envy having to tell Mr. S what happened.”
“I could order you to tell him,” she suggested.
“Sorry. I’m just a junior agent and am just learning from you.”
They entered the office to see both agents’ desk covered in papers.
“Good what do you have for us?” Napoleon asked.
“Would you like the bad news, or very bad news?” Jo offered a choice.
Sitting back, hands folded and fingers rubbing his nose, Solo looked frustrated at the agents before him.
“The bad news?” Napoleon said hoping somehow the worse news would improve when she told him.
“We have not been able to question any of the men.” She said waiting for the next question.
“And why would that be?” Napoleon was at the end of his patience as they had nothing to go on so far, Waverly was far from happy with them and there was no sign of Naan or Thrush’s new project.
“Well the very bad news is that all but one of them was able to kill themselves before we could question them. The last one is in a coma, as security got to him before he took all his poison.”
“How did this happen?” He shouted while slamming his fist on the desk. “Who’s responsible for this gross oversight?
Anger rolled off the CEA. It wasn’t often that he lost his temper but when he did the dangerous spy came to the surface and heaven help those got in his way. Illya went to stand by his partner, placing his hand on the American’s shoulder.
“Perhaps you can wait for an explanation of what happened before you take someone’s head off,” he offered softly.
Taking a deep breath, Napoleon motioning for Jo to continue.
“They had poison on their finger nails. By the time security realized what was happening, they could only stop the last man from biting his more than once. A few drops were released putting him into a coma though the doctor doesn’t believe he will recover.”
“So we have nothing?” Napoleon sighed.
“We were able to find credit card slips in three of their pockets from the same store in Cedar City, Utah. Also a phone number from New York that has been disconnected but research is looking into it.”
Napoleon thought for a few seconds, “Okay Jo, Jimmy follow-up on the phone number and find out what you can about the person it belongs to. Illya, you and I are going to Cedar City, Utah. I have a feeling we’re running out of time. Let’s get to it people.”
A knock on the office door brought the agents heads toward it. “In!” Napoleon shouted still upset.
“Miss Kuryakin, here’s the information you requested. The lady is a street walker who has moved from the Bronx and now lives in a West Village apartment.”
Napoleon whistled, “Now that’s a considerable jump. Anything else?”
With a shake of the head, the messenger left the room.
“Let’s get on this and put an end to whatever Thrush is up to this time.”
Solo and Kuryakin arrived in Cedar City at eight pm a three hour difference from New York. A full day of preparations and lack of sleep the night before caused them to be tired and hungry. They decided to head for their hotel and dinner. A car was waiting for them with maps of the local area and Utah in the glove compartment. As they drove the three miles to their lodging and the center of town, Illya read the guide book that he found with the map.
“Cedar City is located in the southeast Great Basin and is about 20 miles northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert. The city is located on the western edge of the Markagunt Plateau in a high desert valley and its elevation of 5,840 feet gives it hot days and cool night in June,” at this point he began mumbling to himself.
“What was that?” Napoleon noticed the absence of his partner’s voice.
“It says that the city is surrounded by Cedar Mountains rising 10,000-feet on one side of the city, rolling hills and slot canyons going from the canyons of Zion, Bryce Canyon , Cedar Breaks and Kolob. But what I find interesting is there is no natural water in this area and never more than one inch a month and only half an inch at the most in the rest. Why would Thrush want to set up in a location where there is no water?”
Napoleon thought it over for a few moments. “Knowing Thrush whatever IT is, they need this type of environment to make it work. Let’s hope we figure it out before they’re able to launch it.”
Both men retreated into their thoughts until they reached the hotel.
Napoleon headed toward the Abbey Inn check-in desk while Illya watched their back while pretending to read the brochures by the door.
With a large smile on his face, he informed the pretty desk clerk, “I’m Napoleon Solo. I believe you have a double for me?”
Looking over her book she smiled with an invitation suggesting that she would be more than willing to check him in. “It says here there would be two of you.”
“My partner’s looking over some of your city’s and surrounding area’s points of interest. Perhaps you could suggest some places for us to visit.”
Disappointment showed on her face but quickly disappeared. “Anything you want to see in specific?”
“Well, we like the natural so no place where they’re currently building or have recently built.” He had found often you could get more information by hinting around than actually asking straight out.
“Well then I would stay away from Kolob Canyon. I heard there has been trouble between the locals and some company that set up a lab in the area. Big secret supposedly, but everyone knows about it. It’s about 20 minutes southwest of here. Other than that, everything is open and wonderful this time a year.”
“Thank you my dear. We’ll stay away from that area.” Taking his key from her, he lifted her hand and kissed it.
Illya came over as he was finishing up, rolled his eyes saying, “Are you ready? I would like to get some supper.”
Napoleon winked at the receptionist before following his partner to their room in the back of the inn.
“Really Napoleon, do you ever just check in?”
“If I did we’d have no idea where to start our search.” The attitude coming through his voice made it known he had been successful in getting a starting point.
“And that would be?”
“After we eat we’ll head out toward Kolob Canyon area. Seems the new neighbors and the natives don’t get along. Their presence is a big secret.”
“In smaller towns secrets never seem to stay that way do they? Can we eat now?”