THE RED-HEADED ROBYN AFFAIR
When the light flicked on in the second story window the numbing boredom of inactivity flushed from Napoleon Solo's body in a flood of adrenaline. "Bingo," he growled. Collar up in the dank alley, he brought binoculars to eye and cursed the night's weather. But even through rain-blurred windows, the flaming red hair of one of the individuals inside was obvious.
Solo pulled out his communicator. "Open Channel D."
"Yes, Mr. Solo?" Mr. Waverly sounded alert for it being near midnight .
"I believe I have Mr. Robyn in sight, sir."
"Excellent. I'll direct the others to break their stakeouts and back you up."
"Thanks, sir, but I'll be going in immediately. Since I didn’t see him get in, I don't want to lose him going out."
"Is he alone?"
"No. He's with another man. Brown hair. No distinguishing features. Any idea who it could be?"
"None. It's disturbing."
"No word from Illya, then?"
"Not since he told us about his planned meeting with Mr. Robyn. I'm surprised he's not in that room making the deal we put together."
"Maybe these two are getting the goods to take to Illya."
"Possibly. Move in, Mr. Solo, we don't want to lose him now. I'll inform your backup that you'll be inside."
"Yes, sir. Solo out."
With barely a whisper of noise he slipped across the street, keeping to the shadows. How Dexter Robyn had evaded UNCLE's radar for so long was almost admirable, as nuclear peddling was not easy to hide.
Slick wetness made the drainpipe difficult to scale but Solo was soon at the office window. His fingers clutched the casing as he peered between the blinds into a poorly lit office.
Now that he was closer Solo could see that the slight built, red haired man fit the description of Dexter Robyn down to the large mole on his right cheek. The second man was also slight, but very plain. Solo could think of two dozen men that looked like this guy.
They clinked cocktail glasses in a toast and drained their drinks. The plain man consulted his watch and spoke. Solo couldn't hear the words but they resulted in Robyn moving to a wall panel that moved aside with the touch of his hand. Low chatter continued as Robyn opened a safe within and pulled out a metal attaché, which he cuffed to his wrist. The subsequent tenseness of the redhead's body told Solo that something valuable, dangerous, or both was in that case.
As the wall panel closed the second man wiped the drink glasses clean of prints, turned, and flipped off the lights. The street light supplied just enough dirty yellow highlights for Solo to see that they were leaving.
Solo acted instantly. He pulled his gun, smashed the window and pushed into the room. Immediate gunfire met him as he rolled toward a massive desk and returned fire. Bullets plucked his jacket and collar. When he bumped the desk, he shot from the hip and the redhead went down with a yelp. The other man bolted.
Solo leaped to his feet and zeroed in on Robyn and planted his knee in the injured man's back. Sticky blood stained the agent's hand as he checked his captive for weapons. Then he firmly gripped a shoulder and rolled him over.
In the shadows of the room, a black stain blossomed from the injured shoulder. Glazed blue eyes pierced the darkness, however, from beneath an askew red wig. The mole was hanging from a cheek by a thread of glue. A familiar voice snarled at him.
"Get off, Napoleon, he's getting away!"
Solo gaped. "Illya?"
Kuryakin pushed his stunned partner roughly back. "Well, I'm certainly not Rasputin!" He struggled to his feet with a groan.
Solo leaped for the exit. Retreating footsteps led him to a dead end. His ear on the wall told him there a hidden staircase behind the paneling. Recalling the office trigger device, he felt around and found it almost immediately. The panel slipped open and footsteps echoed up from the narrow, circular stairs. Illya joined him, gasping and gripping his bloody shoulder.
"Underground parking lot." Kuryakin's voice was strained.
Solo glided down the stairs and burst through the bottom doorway gun first. He heard the sound of a car starting in the darkness, but the location was indeterminable. Illya stumbled from behind and cut right.
"Over here." Illya was winded, his voice faint. Solo followed and found him on his knees by a steep ramp. "Only way out."
Solo quickly set himself at the top of the ramp, gun raised. The roar of the engine grew and as a car charged from the darkness. Solo emptied his clip into its windshield and coolly began to reload.
A loud clank followed by a gurgling noise made him pause and frown. Immediately, the engine raced to a squealing pitch and the wheels began spinning impotently. The car began a slow slide backward down the ramp. Before it came to a complete standstill, Solo vaulted on the hood and pulled the non-descript, squirming driver through the shattered windshield.
When Robyn was cuffed, Solo realized his partner had thrown motor oil on the ramp just before passing out.
"So, Dexter Robyn never revealed himself to any of his clients?"
Illya nodded. "The deals are set up entirely by phone. Prior to the exchange, the clients are isolated, stripped and given the red hair and fake mole."
"So, no one sees Dexter Robyn."
"Yes, they do, but they don't realize it. He passes himself off as Robyn's represntative. Anyone that observed a buy always saw the redhead there, so our intel assumed Robyn was the redhead. It's an old magician's trick of deferring attention. How did you know where to watch?"
"Since we lost contact with you, we covered all locations with Robyn's name on a contract." Solo smiled. "I was lucky enough to get the right one!"
Illya winced. "And I'm lucky you're a lousy shot."