Armed with the new information, Illya and Napoleon reported once more to Mr. Waverly.
"Sir, we've found the person responsible for those disturbing pictures, and would like to apprehend her at once" Kuryakin reported to their boss.
"I understand your emotional involvement in this matter Mr. Kuryakin, but we must proceed carefully." replied their boss. "I suggest you meet with this individual and determine just what her involvement is, then if necessary you are to bring her here."
"Yes sir. She lives at the Jersey Shore, a little over an hour's drive from here. Napoleon and I can leave right away. Perhaps we can surprise her, but we will put a stop to this!" Kuryakin was having difficulty keeping his emotions in check and was most anxious to find this woman. And have her locked up.
Nearly two hours later the two men drove on to a quiet, tree-lined street. The neat two story, brick Cape Cod style house looked completely normal. But what was going on in there?
Napoleon rang the doorbell and was surprised to hear it play some sort of musical number. The door was yanked open by a tall young man who looked to be in his late teens. He was holding a guitar case and was obviously on his way out of the house.
Napoleon spoke first. "Ah, we're looking for a woman named Patti and were told she lives here. Would it be possible to talk to her? It's quite an important matter." Solo maintained a calm, pleasant manner. Better to be polite until they determined the woman's involvement here.
The boy looked them over, and decided they looked harmless enough. One of them even looked quite familiar and as they entered the foyer it suddenly occurred to him who the blond haired man resembled.
"Mom, two guys are here to see you", bellowed the young man, in the manner he was taught to announce guests in the house. "And one of them looks just like your IK Doll!"
A not unattractive, middle aged woman appeared. She hardly looked like someone capable of torture. Medium height with shortish blonde hair, she was dressed in jeans and an old sweatshirt. She also had quite a bit of paint on her clothes.
"Oh hi, can I help you guys?" she inquired with a friendly smile, while she stared at the blond man. He really did look like the IK Doll.
"We're from the U.N.C.L.E., and would like to ask you some questions about the IK Doll. replied Napoleon.
At the mention of the IK Doll's name the woman became very excited.
"Do you know where he is? I've been looking for him for three weeks. Actually the whole family has been looking for him. We were doing some renovation on the house and he somehow disappeard. My husband even drove to a collector's show in New York in hopes of finding him there."
She led them toward the back of the house into the family room. The walls were newly painted and the hardwood floors gleamed in the sunlight.
"We had the floors refinished, and because of all the dust, I put IK in his living quarters, but he somehow ended up in a box of things we were getting rid of. My husband thinks he was at a flea market, but when he went to get him, he wasn't there. We've been all over the place, all the flea markets and collectors shows we could find, and still haven't found him. Maybe you can help? Here's a picture of him."
She picked a framed picture off a nearby bookcase. It was the IK Doll, dressed in jeans, sweater and a leather jacket. He certainly looked well cared for. But appearances could be deceiving as they were well aware.
"If the IK Doll is so important to you, how did he end up at a flea market?" inquired Solo.
"I'm not sure" replied the blond woman. "As I said, we were having the wood floors refinished, and I didn't want all that dust getting on him. So I put him in his living quarters, but he somehow got out and managed to get himself lost, or misplaced. At least I think that's what happened. It was pretty chaotic here for a few days. "
"Would you mind showing us his "living quarters" asked Illya, who had visions of some dungeon-like room where the IK Doll had been kept prisoner. Though the house was sunny and bright one never knew what sort of evil lurked behind a pleasant facade.
"Here, take a look" replied the woman as she led them from the family room to a hallway and then what appeared to be a closet door.
"He lives in a closet?" asked Solo.
"Well, it's more than a closet" she replied as she opened the door, revealing a large cedar lined, walk in closet. The shelves were filled with small furniture, cars, clothes and what looked like a hot-tub and sauna.
"Is that a sauna?" asked Illya somewhat incredulously.
"Yes, we got it for him last year along with the hot-tub. He loves swimming and sunning but he can't use his pool in the winter, so we thought he'd enjoy this".
"Ah, he has a swimming pool too?" stammered Solo, who was beginning to envy the Action Figure's quite lavish lifestyle. He counted the cars in the closet and mentally calculated the number of different outfits hanging there. It certainly didn't appear that the IK Doll was mistreated in any way, but there were those disturbing pictures to account for.
"It seems the IK Doll has been well treated here, but we still have some questions and our boss, Mr. Waverly would like to meet with you. He won't turn over the IK Doll to you unless he's certain he won't be harmed in any way. Would you mind accompanying us back to New York? Hopefully we can straighten this out." said Solo, ever the diplomat. Though he wasn't so sure he wanted to hand over the IK Doll to anyone.
"Okay, but I've got to get back early and finish painting the hallway. Should I change or can I just go like this?" the blond woman indicated her paint stained jeans and sweatshirt.
"You may wear that, we won't take up much of your time", said Kuryakin somewhat icily. He still wasn't sure of the woman's motives and had no intention of returning the IK Doll to her without a very thorough interrogation.
An hour so later they were in Mr. Waverly's office. He wasn't expecting the torturer of the IK Doll to be so.... well....ordinary. And she seemed very nice. Just what was going on here? Time for some tough questions.
"Patti, I may call you Patti?" began the old man.
"Yes, of course" she smiled in her usual friendly way.
"As you know, we are quite concerned about the IK Doll's rather awful memories. And you should also know we won't return him to you unless we are satisfied that he was not, and will not be mistreated in any way.
Can you explain these pictures?" asked Waverly as he slid the offending photos across the desk. The woman looked at them and smiled. Perhaps she really was demented, as Kuryakin had indicated.
"Oh sure. Those were for a photo shoot for his web site. My daughter and I took them on the deck." She seemed quite unconcerned by her admission of this crime.
"And these, young lady? Can you explain these?" Waverly was becoming quite annoyed at the woman's casual indifference to the IK Doll's suffering.
She looked at the pictures of the naked IKAF. "Yes, this is one of the IKAFs that was being auctioned off on ebay. As you can see he was in very poor condition, but one of our many caretakers rescued him and he's now living in New England along with several other AFs. He's quite happy , though he has a tendency to be a bit possessive of his caretaker. I think that's due to his awful life before he went to live with Karen." she concluded.
"You mean there are more IK Dolls out there?" asked Kuryakin.
"Yes, they're known as IKAFs. There are also some NSAFs, but they were rarely mistreated. I don't know why except there aren't as many of them. All the AF caretakers, and there are many of us around the world, are dedicated to providing loving homes for these neglected AFs."
"That still doesn't explain the pictures of the IK Doll tied to a railing, or his memories of being dropped from great heights, sometimes into water. Or how he was practically chained to a computer and forced to work for hours on end. I think you're hiding something." replied Kuryakin in his best interrogator's voice.
"Look, I told you, the pictures of him tied up were for his website. He did it voluntarily. You saw where he lives, do you think he's mistreated in any way?" asked Patti, who was becoming a bit annoyed with the snooty little Russian. "As for being dropped from great heights, all I can think of, was when we took him to Disneyworld and Universal Studios a few months ago. We went on several rides that drop down. The Jurrasic park ride for instance ended by dropping 80 feet into water. He loved it! He also loved the Tower of Terror. That's the one that drops thirteen floors over and over again. He went on that one twice. Honestly he loves that stuff." she concluded.
"What about the snowboarding incident then" demanded Kuryakin, still not certain about the woman sitting at the table.
"Well, that one was kind of my fault. I just assumed, since he's Russian, that he would be good at snow sports. I should have shown him how to use the snowboard first. Now, can I please see the IK Doll? I've really missed him and want to make sure he's alright."
"And what about the computer" demanded Kuryakin, not willing to drop the subject of the IK Doll's alleged mistreatment.
"The computer? Yes, he has his own computer, but no one forces him to use it. As for spending hours working on it, I often have to drag him away. He likes tweaking all the computers in the house especially mine. He says he's optimizing them. He's certainly not chained to them though. Good Grief who would do such a thing to their IKAF?" wondered Patti out loud.