He was dressed like the local gangster wannabes in boots, black denim pants, black tee-shirt and a short, worn leather jacket. His blond hair was longer than usual, wild and unkempt.
The cover story he’d developed was one of being from a crumbling Victorian house on a poor block of South London that suffered the worst rocket attack of the Blitz, there 168 people were killed in a Woolworth’s. It was a place no one paid attention to, nor the ragamuffin people who still lived there. Thugs, thieves, pensioners, old punters as well a families with too many mouths to feed were those who occupied the place.
No one cared to check his story as Illya Kuryakin looked and sounded the part. His accent was spot on as he’d lived in London going on nearly five years; not quite two while on assignment at Cambridge University for GRU, and then three years for the U.N.C.L.E. under apprenticeship with Harry Beldon.
There came a time however when Kuryakin realized that Beldon had an agenda, one that the young former Soviet agent wanted no part of at all. Illya disliked being a pawn in Harry’s little chess game.
That problem was solved by requesting a transfer to New York, and Mr. Waverly gladly obliged. Apparently it had been the Old Man’s intention all along to bring Kuryakin under his wing and Illya’s request simplified the matter.
And now here Illya was now back in London on assignment and ingratiating himself into the infamous Kray gang. Not an easy task, and one that none of the local UNCLE agents could perform as they were known to the Krays and their lackeys. It therefore made it impossible for the agents to infiltrate the gang known as ‘’The Firm.”
The Kray brothers, twins Reggie and Ronnie, were English gangsters and the foremost perpetrators of organized crime in the East End of London beginning in the 1950s. They had upped their game from armed robberies, to arson, protection rackets, assaults and a fair few murders. And now Reggie fancied himself owning several clubs, mostly to impress his eighteen year old girlfriend Frances who was thought to be wide eyed and niave, but she was in fact a wild child and into drugs.
She knew what he was and wanted him to stop being a gangster but on the other hand she was enjoying the posh life that Reggie brought her. It remained to be seen if the power of love would have sway over Reggie Kray. He had plans to move up in the world and had his eye on owning those night clubs that would open the door for even more nefarious ventures for the Krays.
Kuryakin’s services were offered by Waverly, given the Russian’s familiarity with London,his ability to blend in and appear to be a local. He was also unknown to the Krays and their cronies. It was his task to help Scotland Yard gather evidence against the Krays in order to bring them down.
The Krays had upped their game from armed robberies, to arson, protection rackets, assaults and a fair few murders. Illya had managedto work his way into their good graces as he could pass as a young thug, or just as easily as a mod dressed in the slick clothing of the day, and that opened many’s a door for him. He was a tough little wanker as Ronnie liked to call him, smart and versatile and that’s what they liked about him.
The assignment had been going well, with Illya living the life as one of the Firm’s members, scouting out potential targets for heists, roughing up whoever needed it. So far he hadn’t been asked to rub anyone out, but Illya had a bad feeling that was coming soon. It would be a true test of his loyalty.
The day came when Reggie demanded that Illya...known as Johnny Murphy, ordered to do that fateful deed. Instead of killing his target, Kuryakin reported the orders to the head of UNCLE in London, who informed Scotland Yard.
The target was picked up and whisked away to safety, though in the papers his death was reported...a single gunshot to the head with a nine millimeter slug.
Johnny Murphy was congratulated and paid a little bonus by Reggie. Ronnie got wind of it all and wasn’t happy.
Illya was pulled aside in a warehouse by Ronnie’s inner circle, and had the bloody daylights beaten out of himself.
That was it, time to pull Kuryakin out of the assignment. Johnny Murphy would be no more. His death was faked. They said it was a suicide, the body found in the Thames, and that as they say was that.
The young Russian was actually relieved to have abandoned the role of Johnny Murphy. As to the Krays, well Scotland Yard was now on their own. He had a feeling with Ronnie's lunacy getting worse and becoming more confrontational with Reggie, that eventually the Kray gang would implode.
Illya would be satisfied to read about it and no longer be a part of it. His suggestion to the Yard before he left was to not try to infiltrate the gang again; it was too volatile and unpredictable situation thanks to Ronnie Kray.
In headquarters he cleaned up himself, got his hair trimmed...though he liked it long, Waverly would never permit it.
Dressed in his black suit and black turtleneck, he was at last comfortable as he was driven to Heathrow airport and in no time he was winging his way back to New York city.
He was told by Mr. Waverly that it was time to meet his new partner…