Proud of his city, Brattner explained the area’s history to the New York agents. “When you came over the Sixth Street Viaduct, the land under it is considered the Menomonee Valley. It a U-shaped land formation along the southern end of the Menomonee River. There’s about 1400 acres, much of it converted from wetlands to dryland.
“With its access to the river and railroad yards, most of the valley was used for disbursing goods made in the city in the early days. It became the warehouse district in the early 1900’s but most of the places moved out of there to more suitable locations leaving many of the buildings empty. I don’t have a map of the valley but do have this picture.”
Illya glanced over the picture. “This is a large area to try to search, do you have any ideas?”
“If I had to guess, I’d say the Pfister and Vogel tannery building. It’s one of the strongest buildings still standing. The river and train tracks are still right there and the building isn’t due to be razed for five years or so.”
Napoleon whistled at the sight of it. “And the owner now?”
“A company called Mughetto Enterprising. Do either of you speak Italian?”
“Thrush in Italian, surprise, surprise,” Napoleon shook his head. “I’ll never get over how brazen these guys are. Okay, it’s too dark to do examine it tonight when we don’t know the area. Do you have any suggestions for a place to stay?”
“Waverly has allowed us to make an agreement with Comfort Inn and Suites Downtown. It’s on Ninth and Wisconsin and has a view of the valley if you get a room on the building’s South side. I’ll get you a room or would you rather two rooms.”
“One will due. Mr. Waverly does not believe in coddling his agents,” Illya said lifting his eyes from the pictures in front of him. “This is a large area to search Napoleon. We will need to narrow it down before attempting to get in and out safely.”
“I’d be willing to help you guys out,” Brattner offered. “I don’t get into the action too often.”
“How about we meet here tomorrow and see what we can come up with?” Napoleon suggested as they left for the hotel.
After checking for electronics in their room, the agents reported in. Waverly had relayed that Jo hadn’t been able to get the Houston phone number yet, but that she was still working on it.
The window in their room did give them a look at the valley. With binoculars, they were able to see the warehouse they would be exploring the following morning.
“The river and train tracks would make it easy for them to get their part of the formula out without going through the airport. They could transport it to a small airport and then ship it out.” Illya said turning from the window.
“I was thinking the same thing. Let’s get some rest. I have a feeling tomorrow will be a long day.”
Brattner although unhappy not to be included in the searching for the warehouse, he was actually relieved to be manning the communication center.
Napoleon and Illya parked their car on one of the side roads of the Valley. They moved as close to the tannery as was safe and watched the activity going into and out of the building. The number of white coat men present reaffirmed that they had the right building. Also the men standing in the doorway and walking around the building assured them that Thrush was there in number.
“I wonder if they were this well guarded before our actions in New York.” Illya said more to himself than his partner.
“Our actions? If I remember right you’re the one who imploded their building,” Napoleon teased.
“Well you stole their formula,” Illya reminded him.
“Ok, true. I think we’ve made them a little nervous. However, I don’t think these guys believed the warning. Look how they’re relaxing on their rifles and the white coats are just standing around smoking. I suggest we take advantage of their disbelief and get the formula before you blow the place.”
The dark hid the agents who were wearing camouflage makeup and Illya had a black hat to cover his hair.
Surprised to see other white coats men outside, they waited until two were returning to the factory by themselves. Following the men in, they ensured no one else was around before Illya took out the small one while Napoleon place his gun to the other one’s head.
“Don’t move!” The American ordered.
Illya quickly stripped his downed man of his white coat and ID before hiding the body in an empty room.
“Do you need rope?”
“I’m afraid I hit him a little too hard so no rope will be needed.”
“You killed him?” The prisoner Napoleon was holding asked.
“He’s dead. Now unless you want to join him you’ll take us to the labs where the drug is being made.” Napoleon emphasized his point by pressing his gun in harder.
‘Which drug do you want?”
The question surprised the agents and after a moment of silent communication, Illya asked. “How many drugs do you have going here?”
After some hesitation the gun was pushed harder into his back, the frightened man answered quickly, “Three at this time but only two of them are completely made here.”
“Where are the labs?”
“Third floor,” Now that the man was talking he was answering every question without thinking about it twice.
“How many people are in right now?” Illya asked knowing that anything Thrush was creating would not be for the betterment of the human race.
“No one. It ‘s lunch time and everyone was outside.”
“What do you want to do?” Solo asked Kuryakin.
“Get as many of the samples as we can. We have,” he looked at his watch, “Only 30 minutes before my presents go off.”
While waiting for the right time to go in, the two had placed explosives where Illya had directed.
“What’s your name?”
“Okay Samuel you’re going to lead my partner and I to the lab without any trouble. My response time with the gun is very good so I wouldn’t try anything.”
Samuel led the way with Napoleon behind him and Illya watched the rear. The ground floor was covered in old machines and leather products. The lighting was poor with most of the lights burned out.
When they arrived at the stairs, they could see moisture covering the walls and the metal steps. Rising careful they found the third floor door refinished. Samuel opened the door slowly and step through quickly followed by the UNCLE agents.
Illya hurried into the modern lab that had three counters loaded with papers and beakers of liquid. He gathered the samples and paperwork while Napoleon kept watch. Within ten minutes, Illya rejoined his partner and they headed out of the building.
When they reached the bottom stairs, Illya pulled the fire alarm sending everyone outside running away from the building. They joined the fleeing men and had made it almost to their car before they heard, “That’s Solo and Kuryakin!” shouted from one of the guards.
Pushing Samuel away from them, they jumped into the car and Illya began to pull out. A few bullets hit the back of the car as Illya reached the railroad tracks followed closely by two cars. The bouncing of the car caused Napoleon to miss the cars behind them until one lucky bullet managed to blow out a tire causing the car to flip over.
Once they were free of the tracks and on the street, Illya turned toward St. Paul Street. What they didn’t expect was the factory whistle announcing the end of the night shift and people pouring out of the buildings before them.
Illya stomped on the gas causing the tires to screech as the car shot forward. Napoleon had continued to have his gun out but he couldn’t risk shooting because of the overcrowded street. The innocents didn’t stop Thrush from firing at the agents with the metal plunk of bullets hitting the trunk but missing the back window making Illya drive faster.
Making a sharp left, the car skidded around the corner on two wheels before it straighten out and landed on all four. Rushing forward, Illya cut off a large truck just missing its front bumper and then taking a right into an open parking garage. The car following them missed their turn and hurried past them.
Letting Thrush get further away, Napoleon checked himself over and asked. “When was the last time you qualified for your driving skills?”
“Actually just last week.”
“And you passed?”
“I did not say that. The instructor said he would retest me next time we were in town.”
“Well I would suggest you don’t drive like you just did or you’ll never pass. I think we’ve lost the car. How close do we need to be for the signal to set off the explosives?”
“We are fine,” and with that he pressed his watch. The responding blast could be heard from a few miles away.
“Do you think they found any of the explosives?”
“From those sounds, I doubt it. Hopefully they took our warning to heart and cleared out.” Illya said. Killing was something he did, but didn’t enjoy.
“Let’s report to Brattner and Mr. Waverly. Maybe we’ll get a break and get to spend time in bed before heading for Houston.”
Chapter 1 http://jkkitty.livejournal.com/49897.html
Chapter 2 http://jkkitty.livejournal.com/50022.html