Germani threw his phone at the wall before slamming the door. Another hit on his storage labs. Where was the leak? Someone in his organization was helping UNCLE. Seeing the woman on his bed, he took off his belt taking his anger out on her.
After he left the room, Jo pulled herself out of the bed. Moving slowly she retrieve the phone. Although broken, the last number was displaced. Calling in, she reached Waverly.
“Report Miss Kuryakin.”
As she gave him the phone number, a small groan of pain escaped her.
“Miss Kuryakin are you alright?”
“It is nothing sir that I cannot handle. I still am looking for the formula and the actual sample. I’ll have them when Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin get here.”
“Miss Kuryakin I expect you to be honest with me. Are you in shape to continue this assignment?”
“Yes sir, I am.” She assured him making sure to hold back any sign of pain.
“Solo and Kuryakin are in Houston now. Report in tomorrow.” And with that he disconnected.
The pain from Germani beating had her crawling back to bed. “I do not know how much longer I can keep up this weak and submissive act. It will be a pleasure to kill him when this assignment is over. Not so much for me, but all the women he has treated like this and killed in the past.” she softly said to herself before falling asleep.
The agents woke up as an announcement notified them that the plane was headed into the newly opened Houston Intercontinental Airport. Their hope that they would get a good night’s sleep was granted as they called in their report.
“Open Channel D.”
“Hello, Napoleon. How is the weather there in Texas?” The reception said in a sully voice.
“It’s warm and sunny. The blue sky is begging for lovers to walk under it and enjoy what it has to offer…..”
“Is there a purpose to this weather forecast or do you have a report to give Mr. Solo,” Waverly broke into the conversation.
“Sorry sir. Just notifying you of our arrival. Did Jo...Miss Kuryakin get the number we need?”
“Miss Kuryakin has managed to get the phone number off Germani’s phone and the Houston office was looking into it. You’ll meet up with our agent there and plan your next step.” Waverly clicked off.
Checking into the Houston Best Western, they made arrangements to meet with Juan Lopez Marcos, the Houston agent in charge in the morning.
Rested, the next morning, they entered the field office and headed to Marcos office.
“Napoleon, Illya, it’s been awhile. I hear you’ve been running around the country trying to shut Germani’s operation down.” Juan Lopez said offering them some coffee and sweet rolls.
Although Napoleon took coffee and waved off the sweet rolls, Illya helped himself to a double portion.
“No breakfast this morning, Illya?”
“Oh he ate already, it was a buffet. This is just his morning snack,” Napoleon teased his partner.
“I have a fast metabolism and need to eat frequently,” Illya said looking down at the file on the desk. “What do you have?”
“The phone number Waverly sent was from the Acres Homes area. The conditions in the site are not good. It’s a heavily wooded, sparsely settled slum without adequate transportation or government services. There are a few old factories that were family owned. However with all the tension in the area, they’re empty now and a perfect place for Thrush to hide out.” Marcos explained to the agents. “I had my men out last night, and they think this is the most likely location. No one has used the building in years, but last night there was a lot of traffic in and out of the area. Quite a number of the people had rifles with scopes.”
Napoleon and Illya looked over the photos and had to agree that this was the type of place Germani has been choosing.
“Sounds like they might be looking for some visitors,” Napoleon said.
“And we are not going to disappoint them I suppose?” Illya said closely looking at the pictures.
“I think if we can set up a diversion, we could get in without being seen,” Napoleon suggested looking to Illya for his opinion.
A small smile highlighted the Russian’s face, “I think I could arrange for one.”
“I thought you might be able to handle it. Alright once the fireworks begin, and Illya don’t make it too destructive, we’ll enter the building, retrieve the samples, and then blow the place.”
“I suppose I’ll need to clear this with the Houston police,” Marcos picked up the phone to call his police connection. After thirty minutes of wheeling and dealing including a set of tickets to the 1968 MLB All-Star Game that the Astros were hosting the deal was made.
A questioning look from Illya had Juan explaining. “We do things a little different here. By keeping the police informed of things we might do, when possible, it saves problems later on. And a little grease does move the process along faster.”
“Why would you want grease to get the job done?” Illya asked.
“He means a little bribe helps get things done faster.” Napoleon explained.
“I do not understand why you American insist on using idioms to get your point across.”
Juan and Napoleon laughed before the three of them set up their plan of action.
Late at night, Juan’s men placed the set of charges in the surrounding fields where Illya directed. As the small explosions began in the field outside, the New York’s agents climbed into the building. Once safely inside they crossed the warehouse heading toward the door on the other side of the factory. There they opened the inside door into a dark room.
Illya looked concerned and his eyes rapidly scanning the area.
“What’s the problem?” Napoleon asked feeling his partner’s anxiety as they entered the room.
“This is too easy. I do not like the feel of it. There were so many guards out there that I find it hard to believe there aren’t any inside here.”
“Perhaps that’s because we were expecting you and wanted it to be a surprise, Mr. Kuryakin.”
A voice said as the lights of the room were snapped on. The sound of rifle bolts being slide in place had the agents raising their hands.
They were quickly searched and relieved of their basic equipment.
“You couldn’t have had the feeling before we enter the room,” Napoleon said turning his back on the room.
“Why, you never listen to me when I do?” Illya responded ignoring the men surrounding them.
“Gentlemen, I believe your attention should be on me instead of this silly arguing you’re engaged in. My name is Emiliano Loyola, the head of this operation here. As your have guessed I have one part of the formula and intent to keep it. My fellow agents who sites you destroyed are no longer with us. I understand they were introduced to the completed formula, something I don’t intend to join them in.”
“I can’t say I’m happy to meet you.” Napoleon said.
“Well we’ll see if we can make you happy. Seeing you’re so interested in the lab, I think we’ll give us a tour and a taste of our produce.”
“We’ve ate already this evening but thanks for the offer,” Napoleon quipped.
“Oh but I insist. Besides, I understand Mr. Kuryakin is always hungry. Take them to the lab and be careful. They didn’t earn their reputation by accident.”
On the walk to the lab the agents were watched over and surrounded by Thrush agents. The only point in their favor was that they were forced to keep their hands on their head and not tied behind them.
At the lab door, they entered and were immediately encircled by the guards. Allowed to lower their hands, they looked over the lab. Two lab assistants were sitting over Bunsen burners ignoring the men who had entered.
“Gentlemen, this is where the final portion of the drug is created before it sent to Germani.” Loyola saw the look from Napoleon and Illya.
“Don’t you find it interesting Illya, how often Thrush has to brag about their activities and how that bragging allows us to defeat them in the end.” Napoleon said flippantly.
The Thrush chieftain shook his head. “The destruction you did to the other factories will be quickly resolved as long we keep in business. And now that we’ve you as our guest, there shouldn’t be anything that keeps us from completing our plans.”
“And they always say they will win. They just do not give up, do they Napoleon.”
“Enough!” Loyola yelled losing his temper. “This isn’t a joke. It will take an hour or so to mix up enough of the ingredients for the drug, and then we’ll see how funny you find this. Take these two to a cell. Make sure their separated and search them thoroughly. We don’t want them to leave before we allow them to try out product.”
The guards shove their guns into Illya and Napoleon’s backs directing them toward a reinforced cell.
Illya had been waiting for the careless moment like this. Turning quickly he kicked and connected firmly with the guard’s hand sending the gun flying through the air and landing several feet away. In answer to Illya's attack, the guard brought a fist up toward Illya’s face but the Russian was able to turn causing the punch to hit his shoulder. Sidestepping the rushing guard, he delivered a karate chop to his neck bringing the attacker down.
Illya’s attack managed to distract Napoleon's guard long enough for him to fall toward the gun. Before he was able to reach it, a kick to his kidney followed by one to his ribs caught him by surprise and had him rounding into a ball. As his guard went toward the gun, Napoleon scissor kicked him bringing him to the ground.
The two rolled on the floor attempting to get the best of the other. When the guard was on top he attempted to use a left hook to knock Napoleon out, but a quick move had the fist missing and hitting the cement floor followed by the falling guard. The second it took for him to rise, Napoleon placed a karate chop to his trachea. The breaking sound was soon followed by choking as the man died.
“It took you long enough,” Illya complained.
“Smart-alert Russian. They always have the bigger guy watching me,” Napoleon said.
Offering him a hand up, Illya watched as his partner grabbed his back. “Are you okay?”
“Ask me when I need to pee next time. Let’s get out of here and set this area ablaze.” Limping Napoleon followed his partner out as quickly as he could.
Napoleon and Illya ran though the warehouse just as Juan Lopez men entered. Between the UNCLE agents, the Thrush personnel were rounded up and taken to a holding area except for Loyola.
The Thrush chieftain was escorted back in the building while Napoleon retrieved the samples and paperwork.
“So Mr. Loyola, would you like to talk to us, or should we leave you go and let Germani get his hands on you? I understand he’s still looking for guinea pigs for his drugs.” Napoleon offered.
“You can’t that. UNCLE doesn’t allow it.”
“UNCLE isn’t here just Illya and I, and we don’t always follow the rules. Your choice?”
Looking at the two agents, the Thrush agent could see they were serious. “You’ll keep me safe?”
‘“It’s our job whether I like it or not. Personally I’d like you to refuse the deal and let Germani make you his new lab rat, but you’ll be kept safe in jail,” Napoleon said.
Nodding, Loyola followed the CEA out.
Illya set an explosive that would destroy the room and it’s contains but would be easy for the fire department to control.
“I suggest we hurry before the fire traps us,” Illya stated.
Once outside the fire department arrived and put out the fire although the room had been destroyed.
Leaving Loyola with the local office, the men headed toward San Diego and Germani.
Finally in San Diego, Napoleon and Illya took a few hours of down time to catch up with their sleep. Each stop had been a fight and now they had reached the end of the line.
“They will be expecting us and will not be happy with what we have done to their operation up to this point,” Illya said as he lay down.
“I know, but Jo’s here so we’ll have support. Plus she’ll have the formula and samples. It’s just too bad she couldn’t clear out until we were able to destroy the other cities. I’m surprised Germani hasn’t suspected her yet.”
“Waverly said her cover was foolproof. Is four hours enough sleep for you?”
Nodding his head Napoleon wondered what type of cover was protecting her as his eyes closed in sleep.