13 - The Rainbow Affair

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Authors: David McDaniel
mostly in places where he was already bruised. He stuck out a hand and found something which was either a wall or a floor and groped around for a projection of any kind to hold on to.
    He found nothing, but the feel of the cold slick metal helped bring his senses into focus. There was a loud roaring and rumbling which he was able to identify as the motor of a truck - a fairly large one, probably. He braced himself as well as he could on the slippery floor, and wrapped his arms protectively around his sore head.
    The swaying of the truck still swung him from side to side, and wherever they were the pavement was not of the best - the floor still had an annoying tendency to drop away from under him and then leap up again just as he started to fall to meet it.
    It was still dark, and he was attempting to read the luminous dial of his watch when he realized his eyes were still closed. He tried to open them, but it stayed dark. He concentrated until he was quite sure the eyelids were in a raised condition, and then looked around, trying to focus.
    There was a little light after all - a vertical line of gray off at right angles to the directions he kept swaying. Since the swaying was an indication of turns, he reasoned that must be either the front or back of the truck - and since there was presumably a cab of some kind covering the front, it was probably the back. In fact , he decided as he finally pulled into full orientation, that is the space between the two doors at the back . Also , he added to himself, it is daylight outside, which means I've been out for at least four hours . He looked down at his watch again, and was relieved to find it glowing faintly in its accustomed place near the end of his arm. It looked like either two o'clock or ten minutes after twelve; his eyes still weren't focusing perfectly.
    A quick check of his pocket showed his communicator missing - to be expected. Too many people knew what that little silver fountain pen was capable of - Section Five should start work on something new to hide the tiny long-distance radio in. A shoe-heel, for instance, or maybe a hollow tooth, depending on how miniaturization was progressing. His automatic was gone, of course - probably still lying there on the pavement of New Bond Street. He hoped somebody had picked it up; it would be a devil to clean if the dew got into it and rust pitting developed in the barrel. But his shoulder-rig was also missing. He hoped they were to together.
    He checked his other concealed surprises - they were all in place. The little goodies that made each U.N.C.L.E. agent's suit into a walking arsenal were all present. As he contemplated the mental roll, his confidence returned. He could still blast his way out and make it back to London.
    On the other hand, he might be almost anywhere. He had apparently been out of touch with reality for from eight to ten hours - that would be enough time for him to be halfway around the world. On the third hand, if he was halfway around the world and it was twelve-ten - or two - in England, it should be dark outside, so he was probably at least in Europe. But on the fourth hand, they could have reset his watch while he was unconscious, so it would be reading in local time. But that seemed uncommonly considerate for a bunch of kidnappers.
    On the fifth hand, if he had been traveling in a truck for all - or even most - of those eight or ten hours, he could still be several hundred miles away. Or at least a few hundred, considering the size of Britain. On the sixth hand…
    Napoleon was running out of hands, and the thought reminded him to look at his watch again. It was now either ten past one, or five minutes past two. He decided that, in view of the subjective time that had passed since he'd last looked at his watch, it was probably five minutes after two.
    The truck bounced violently, and a wall he hadn't expected swung out of the darkness and dealt severely with a tender patch on the back of his head.

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