Illya Kuryakin finished his last set of bench presses and
rested the bar back on its stand. He sat
up, breathing heavily, and wiped his brow with a towel looking over to the
boxing ring where two enforcement agents sparred. He noticed his partner half heartedly working
a heavy bag beside the ring and grinned at the sight. Napoleon was on the boxing rotation of
UNCLE's Physical Training program this week and it had never been his favorite. His frequent attempts to slip out unnoticed,
however, never seemed to work. Joe Saccamano
had run the gym with an iron fist for 7 years and made sure enforcement agents
put their work in on every rotation. He
was formally an Olympic weightlifter and took his responsibilities for employee
fitness very seriously. In particular,
he reviewed the fitness programs of Section II agents under a microscope and
frequently added or modified each agent's program making sure a proper balance
of speed, agility, flexibility, and strength was obtained. Joe believed it was his personal duty to make
sure every agent was prepared to meet any challenge they might meet in the
field. He knew their lives often
depended on it.
Kuryakin moved over to start 3 sets of dead lifts as another
agent bounded into the ring, jogging in place, throwing shadow punches, and pushing
his mouth guard in with his boxing gloves.
"Hey Solo!" Agent
Burkardt threw out. "How about going a
few rounds, huh?"
Napoleon, wearing full grey sweats, didn't seem to
notice. He moved around the bag throwing
punches and had apparently put in enough effort to soak through the back of his
lightweight, hooded shirt with sweat.
"Solo! Come on...let's
mix it up a little....let's see what you've got!"
Burkardt taunted. Devin Burkardt
had been an enforcement agent in New
York for one year and was rather full of himself to
say the least. He had a body builder's
physique and was outfitted today in classic Everlast boxing trunks and
traditional, above the ankle, boxing footwear.
Privately, Illya knew that while Napoleon found him a passable agent,
Burkardt's arrogance wore on his nerves.
He'd never seen Napoleon take the bait when Burkardt irritated him
however, so it was a surprise when his friend shrugged, and climbed into the
ring. Burkardt grinned and pounded his
gloves together, pleased that UNCLE's famous CEA had finally taken him up on a
challenge. Six or seven other agents,
including Kuryakin, gathered near the ring, eager to see how this unusual
situation would play out. Napoleon looked
down silently as Joe wound tape around his hands and laced up some gloves. He fastened the agent's headgear on and
whispered, "Watch the right uppercut, Napoleon, and knock his lights out."
"Right, boys." Joe
called out. "We'll do 3 rounds of 2
minutes. Watch low blows and break to a
neutral corner when I tell you to.
Understand?" Joe got out his
stopwatch and started the bout.
Burkardt, a typical brawler, was the aggressor and bull
rushed Napoleon throwing big punches and hoping to connect early for an
impressive knock out. Solo focused on
the man's eyes and danced away from the blows keeping his hands up in defensive
posture. Burkardt laughed as he pursued
Solo. "Jeez, c'mon, Solo...this ain't no
Illya understood Napoleon's strategy. If he got caught in a corner with the
stronger, more powerful man, it would all be over quick. Burkhardt continued to pursue Solo, tagging
him with a few harmless punches to the body.
Again, Solo moved side to side, avoiding the larger man and deftly
blocked his punches. Most of Burkhardt's
punches glanced off Solo with no damage at all.
Saccamano called "time" and Napoleon turned and headed flat footed back
to his corner. Burkhardt, visibly
frustrated with Solo's evasive tactics followed him and shoved Solo in the
"Jesus.....c'mon Solo....you got noth'in!" Burkhardt scowled.
"Get to your corner now, Burkhardt, or this fight is over."
yelled Saccamano. The gym manager
watched his stopwatch and called a start to round two after a short break.
Burkhardt tried to come out fast again but was now breathing
quite heavy. Solo juked and moved about
the ring with his gloves up just below his eyes and Kuryakin recognized the focus
in his friend's expression. Quickly,
Burkhardt jabbed to the face and Napoleon's head snapped back. Burkhardt connected to Solo's mouth, instantly
That's how it's done." Burkhardt bragged. Gaining confidence, Burkhardt dropped his
gloves and used them to wave Solo in for more.
"Here we go, Mr. Solo." he sneered.
Before Burkhardt could get his gloves back up, Napoleon
quickly charged forward into the agent throwing fierce blows to the body and
pounding his opponent's ribs. Burkardt
slightly covered up in response to Solo's punches so Napoleon moved up to the
face. He caught Burkhardt twice with two
strong rights and a solid uppercut to the man's nose. Burkhardt stumbled back into the ropes and
Solo was on him in a flash throwing a flurry of punches to the face of his
opponent. Burkhardt's legs wobbled but
Napoleon held him up against the ropes with one glove and continued to pound
the defenseless man with more punishing blows.
Burkhardt's face was now bloodied with deep cuts to the eyes and what
looked to be a broken nose. Napoleon was oblivious to the damage he was
inflicting and seemed to be in some kind of uncontrollable rage while
continuing to pummel his now helpless opponent.
"That's it...it's over....ok.... that's it." bellowed Joe moving
in quickly. But Napoleon was having none
of it. He continued delivering blows to
Burkhardt even as the man could barely stand.
Kuryakin jumped into the ring to restrain his friend, distressed by
Napoleon's actions. He'd never seen his
partner pursue a violent course of action unless it was absolutely
necessary....and never to excess. Before he could intervene, Saccamano used his
thick right arm to cuff Solo by the back of his sweatshirt and flick him to the
mat like a fly. The thud of his body
hitting the mat jolted Solo and he looked up to see Joe standing over him,
"Get the hell out of my gym, Solo!" he ordered.
Napoleon jumped up angry, spitting blood from his mouth and
slammed his headgear down in the ring.
He disappeared into the locker room without a word to anyone.
Illya cut short his workout and headed to the locker room to
seek out his partner. Napoleon's neatly
hung street clothes were still in his locker but he was nowhere to be
found. After a quick shower, Illya went
to the office he shared with UNCLE's CEA but there was no sign of Solo except
for a lightly picked over take-out lunch that Illya had brought in for Napoleon
four hours earlier. Kuryakin picked up
the phone and checked in with security at the agent's entrance.
"Miss Emerson," he said, "Has Mr. Solo checked out for the
"Yes, Mr. Kuryakin, he left the building about a half hour
ago." the reception agent replied.
"Did he happen to say where he was off to?"
"No, Mr. Kuryakin. Is
there a problem?" she asked with concern.
"Would you like me to try and locate him for you?"
"No, no...that won't be necessary. I'll catch up with him later this
evening. Thank you Miss Emerson." Illya replied distractedly.
Illya hung up the phone and thought for a few moments before
heading out the door of the office. He
took the elevator up to the sixth floor and entered medical looking for UNCLE's
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elizabeth Ray.
Luckily she was leaning on the counter of a nurse's station busily scribbling
on a chart. She looked up, smiled, and
waved Kuryakin over.
"Why, Mr. Kuryakin, if it isn't one of my favorite spies of
all time. How are you?" she said, warmly
embracing the agent.
"I'm quite well Dr. Ray," Illya smiled. "I wondered if I could steal a few minutes of
your time in private?"
"Of course." Dr. Ray replied looking concerned. "Let's step
into an exam room and let me have a look at you. I didn't see your name on any of the
completed mission reports. Did I miss
"Not at all. You see,
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I'd like to talk to you about.....about
Napoleon." Illya declared. "I know he'd have my head for speaking with
you about him, but I'm really rather concerned."
Dr. Ray set her medical charts down and motioned Illya to a
seat. The Russian sat stiffly in the
chair uncertain as to how much he wanted to reveal about the incident in the
gym. Not surprisingly, the medical chief
was ten steps ahead of him.
"If this has to do with the patient we admitted about an
hour ago after the so-called boxing exhibition, I already know about it. Napoleon Solo is the last person I would
expect to voluntarily be in the ring with a neanderthal like Burkhardt. What the hell was going on down there,
Illya? What was he thinking?" Dr. Ray asked, leaning forward encouraging
Kuryakin to express his concerns.
Illya fidgeted with his hands trying to collect his
thoughts. The truth was he'd had some
vague questions about his partner's behavior over the last two months. It was nothing he could quite pinpoint, and
with the busy assignment schedule they'd had, he hardly had time to give it
much thought. Now, however, he realized
he might have waited too long to voice his concerns.
"Basically, he totally lost control down there, Liz."
Kuryakin confided. "I've never seen him act like that in the field or
personally. He......it was like some kind of
a switch was thrown and he went into a completely violent altered state. I don't know what would have happened if
someone hadn't intervened."
"Have you noticed anything else with him, Illya?" the doctor
asked. "You know..... any unusual changes in habits or behavior?"
"Now that I think about it, there are several." Kuryakin volunteered. "I thought it was just our
busy schedule. We've been out together
on three long overseas missions these past two months but Napoleon has been out
on at least three others on his own that I know about. None of them were milk runs either. They were fairly dangerous, complex affairs
several of which had rather unpleasant aspects to them. The Thrush agent Napoleon knows, Angelique,
was on one in India...I
believe that was the same assignment where Napoleon experienced some disturbing
drug-induced hallucinations courtesy of Thrush.
He checked out ok with you afterwards if I remember correctly."
"Let me take a peak at his file, Illya," Elizabeth said. She buzzed the nurse's
station and asked for Solo's medical file to be delivered to her office. "What have you noticed?"
"Well, this obviously is not clinical evidence but he's not,
shall we say, entertaining like he typically does. He's been spending most of his time alone at
home on the few nights he's been here."
"Probably fatigue with the assignment schedule he's had,
don't you think?" asked Dr. Ray as a nurse brought in Napoleon's thick medical
"Could be. Still, he doesn't seem his usual social self
here at headquarters either." Illya paused.
"He's mentioned headaches a few times and doesn't seem to have much
appetite. On our last assignment he
seemed more jumpy than usual...you know Napoleon...nothing ever seems to phase him.
Even if he's got a gun pointed to his head he'll come up with some kind of wise
Dr. Ray put on some reading glasses and glanced at the
latest entries in Solo's file. "Christ, the man's been on assignment 28 of the
last 34 days! What the hell is Waverly
doing?" she said alarmed. "Two weeks ago when he was in, he was down 10
pounds...that confirms your observations on appetite. I tell you what. I'll put a
"watch" on him and personally make a point of running into him in the next two
days. Let's get together after that and
compare notes. Oh and don't worry,
Illya, I'll make it seem like a complete coincidence.....I don't want Napoleon
blowing a gasket over you expressing concern for him."
"Given what happened in the gym today, that is most
Illya grinned. "I'll check in with you later this week." Kuryakin prepared to
leave when the doctor reached out and put her hand on his arm.
"You know, Illya, he's lucky to have a partner and friend
like you watching out for him. Besides
his obvious role on assignments, he has the added responsibility of supervising
the performance of 75 other agents here in the New York office alone. He looks out for his people fiercely and I'm
proud to say none our Section II agent's ever slip through the cracks when it
comes to their health...physical or mental."
She paused for a few seconds wondering. "Come to think of it.......who looks
out for him?"
"I'm assuming Mr. Waverly has responsibilities in regards to
the Chief Enforcement Agent. He's the
only person in a position to order medical evaluations, or restricted duty for
"Hmmmmmmmm. Houston, we have a
problem." she said sarcastically.
Illya stopped by Solo's apartment on his way home and
repeatedly knocked on the door loudly with no response. He let himself in the apartment and noticed
first that the security system had not been activated. Glancing into the living room he saw the area
fairly unkempt by his partner's standards with dirty glasses and various
articles of clothing strewn about.
Solo's gray sweatshirt with several blood stains on it lay on the
floor. An empty bottle of Glenlivet
caught his eye.
"Napoleon." the Russian yelled. "Where the heck are
you? I know you're here....if it's
cocktail hour, how about letting your partner in on it? Napoleon.....?"
"In here." Solo called out from the kitchen.
Illya walked in to find his friend sitting on a stool by the
kitchen counter, a bag of ice on his lip and a healthy glass of scotch in
hand. The accompanying bottle was half
empty. Napoleon sat in a t-shirt with
his grey sweatpants still on from that afternoon.
"Well, well Napoleon.
Thanks for the invitation. I'd
love to have a drink with you after work tonight." The Russian said
lightheartedly. "Are we boycotting the
shower after workouts these days?"
"Illya, let me pour you a drink. What brings you out on a social call tonight?"
Napoleon said sloppily.
"Oh, nothing in particular." Kuryakin said accepting a
glass. "I just thought I'd see why Mr.
Calm, Cool, and Collected put one of our own agents in the hospital today. Did you forget who the good guys are?" Illya watched his partner out of the corner
of his eye for a reaction.
Ahhhh, no, not really."
Solo mumbled into his glass. "Burkhardt's a jerk."
"Right......a perfectly acceptable reason for you to break 2 of
his ribs not to mention the 8 or 10 stitches his face needed."
No reaction. Napoleon
was plastered! He drained his drink and
reached for the bottle when Illya grabbed it from him and turned Solo's glass
"Enough for tonight, partner. Let's get you a shower and then to bed." Illya cajoled Napoleon into the bathroom and
turned on the water for him. "In you go, Rocky Marciano. Never thought I'd see
the day where you would go near a boxing ring unless you were wearing a tux,
had ringside seats, a beautiful woman on one arm and a glass of champagne in
"Hmmmmmm, first time for everything. " Solo stepped into the
warm water and rested the top of his head against the tile, eyes closed.
Afterwards, Illya guided Napoleon to the bedroom and pulled
the covers up over the agent after he collapsed into bed. Solo was instantly unconscious.
"Good night, Napoleon....sleep well partner. We will have a conversation about this
in the morning." Illya said softly. He
turned out the lights and activated the security system before gently closing
the front door behind him on the way out.
The next morning, Napoleon strode into his office with plane
ticket in hand. He'd met with Waverly by
7:00 a.m. and been assigned a microfilm recovery job in Panama. Illya passed by heading out the door as
Napoleon came in.
"Good morning, Mr. K.
Where are we off to today?" Napoleon asked.
a diplomatic escort. More your type of
assignment I should think!" replied the Russian sourly. "You look a little
peaked this morning, Napoleon...tough night?" Kuryakin posed the question to test
his friend's memory of the previous night.
"You should know, partner.
Thanks for lending a hand last night.
I should be back from Panama
in two or three days. How about we get together then for dinner?"
"Count on it, Napoleon." Illya said with a grin. "In the meantime, try not to decimate any
resistive Thrush agents with that nasty right uppercut of yours. Keep that type of thing up and there might
not be any nasties left for us to go after."
"Right, right....." Solo said without humor. "Be safe out
there Illya......keep your head up, will ya?"
"You as well, Napoleon.
See you soon." And with that Kuryakin was off to UNCLE's helipad for the
short ride to the airport.
Napoleon had 2 hours before his flight and sat down to deal
with a mountain of paperwork which he could never hope to complete. Discouraged, he leaned back in his chair,
closed his eyes, and sighed heavily.
"Is that the sound of a distressed CEA I hear?" asked Dr.
Ray, peeking her head around the corner with a friendly smile.
to see you. Please come in and save me
from this endless sea of bureaucracy.
What brings you down this way....slumming with the hired help?" said
Napoleon with an attempted grin. He rose
from his chair and walked around the desk to greet her. Elizabeth
entered the room and extended both her hands at waist level, palms up, offering
them to Napoleon's. As Solo's hands met hers,
she dropped her hands unexpectedly, and looked down to see both of Napoleon's
hands shaking noticeably. Solo looked
away, shoved his hands in his pockets and sat on the edge of his desk. Dr. Ray was somewhat shocked at Napoleon's
appearance. His eyes had dark circles
under them, his lip was swollen, and his suit literally hung on his body. Not at all like the impeccably dressed,
perfectly groomed man she'd come to know and admire.
"Napoleon, my dear, you look absolutely terrible." Liz said
honestly. "What in the world have you
been doing with yourself to look like such a ragamuffin? Have you secretly exchanged identities with
Illya?" she teased.
"Well...... that's an amusing theory, but I'm afraid the truth
is.... I've just been burning the candle at both ends, Liz. I'm not only behind on reports, but it seems
I am well overdue with Section II personnel ratings, a critical incident
debrief, and the latest recruit assignments out of Survival School.....at least
according to the boss." Solo offered.
sitting on the edge of his desk, turned around to reach for his coffee cup. Experimentally,
Liz reached out her hand to softly touch his leg.
"Hey" Solo exploded sharply, jumping off the desk and
spilling his coffee on the floor.
"Oh Napoleon, I'm so sorry...I didn't mean to ......" Liz
"No, no....not to worry.
I.....ah.....its....its fine really." Solo said mopping up awkwardly. He took a deep breath and guided Dr. Ray
towards the door. "I'm sorry, Liz, I need to get to the airport. Thanks for popping in....good to see you...." Before she knew it, Solo had shepherded her
out the door and into the corridor with the door sliding closed after her.
"The man is a train wreck." She said softly to herself.
Alexander Waverly impatiently awaited the arrival of his
Chief Medical Officer. He'd received a
call from her wanting a few minutes of his time in an already packed
schedule. Although he greatly respected
Dr. Ray, there were more than a few times the two had butted heads regarding
the availability of Section II agents.
He sighed thinking about what might be on her mind this time. UNCLE's CMO was one of a very few who could
go toe to toe with the Old Man, and override his orders. Invariably this meant an agent he desperately
needed was unavailable for assignment.
wanted a few minutes of his time, he could not deny her, however he knew it was
probably not good news. Lisa Rogers,
Waverly's executive secretary buzzed him on the intercom indicating the
doctor's arrival and within seconds, the door slid silently open and Dr. Ray
"Good afternoon, Alexander." she said crisply. "Always a pleasure."
Waverly cut to the chase. "How can I be of help to you today?"
"I'd like to have you examine a couple of reports my staff
has put together. It concerns the
mission assignments for Section II over the last two months."
"I see. Branching out
into other UNCLE sections, Doctor? I
wasn't aware that medical had responsibilities in the area of agent assignments. Are you not busy enough attending to the
medical concerns of this organization?" Waverly jabbed.
"This report is only in the interest of the health of our
agents, Alexander. Something I'm sure
you are as concerned about as I." Elizabeth shot back.
well.....what do you have then?" Waverly
spoke while he gazed at several other documents on the conference table.
Dr. Ray laid her reports on the table and spun them around
to the UNCLE Chief. He picked them up
giving them a cursory glance and looked up at Elizabeth with a blank expression.
"What exactly am I supposed to learn from this report,
"Alexander, I'm not sure if you are aware of the schedules
that some of our agents have been keeping.
For example, Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin have been out these past two
months 32% more than any other teams from Section II. For Mr. Solo, when his individual assignments
have been added to the mix, it's been closer to 39%."
"Mr. Kuryakin and Mr. Solo are far and above my best pair of
operatives, Dr. Ray. I'm sure that the
crises of the world can't be counted on to happen for the convenience of our
assignment schedule. Surely you don't expect the activities of Thrush to be
adjusted so that we may even out the assignments of our agents." Waverly lectured.
bristled at Waverly's remarks and fired back.
"Why, I would think with your supreme omnipotence, something
like that could be arranged easily, Alexander." She said stone-faced.
what do you need today?" Waverly
sighed. "Has Mr. Solo not been meeting
his responsibilities in regards to the medical condition of Section II
"No, Mr. Solo, as usual, is very efficient and thorough in
regards to the status of each agent." Elizabeth said
carefully. Could the Old Man be any more
"Then, if you'll forgive me, I have many things to attend to
this afternoon, Dr. Ray. You may see
your way out." Waverly said as he turned
to his communications console.
"I'm afraid not, Alexander.
I'm here this afternoon to talk about the mental health, or general lack
thereof, of Mr. Solo."
Preposterous. I see no indication
that Mr. Solo is having any difficulty in regards to his assignments." Waverly argued. "Quite the contrary. He is on his way back from Panama as we
speak having recovered a critical piece of microfilm that has eluded us for at
least a year."
Mr. Kuryakin has expressed concern over Napoleon's lack of appetite,
nervousness, lack of emotional control, and weight loss." Dr. Ray continued.
"Earlier in the week I stopped in to see him and he was jumping out of his skin
with hands shaking like a frightened schoolboy."
Waverly addressed the Medical Chief, "Elizabeth, Mr. Solo is
a grown man and a professional. He is
perfectly capable of addressing any difficulties he may be having."
"I couldn't disagree more."
Dr. Ray replied. "Mr. Solo
reflects the degree of invincibility that you demand from him. Napoleon will execute any order, any
assignment, any project that you hand to him.
He's capable of nothing less. The
result is that he is currently in a state of utter
exhaustion and shows multiple signs of a severe stress reaction. These symptoms do not go away with time,
Alexander. They must be addressed
clinically and that takes professional expertise and a whole lot of time."
are you ordering Mr. Solo on medical leave?"
Waverly snipped, growing weary of the discussion.
"At this time, I'm not convinced that is necessary but it
certainly might be after an in- depth evaluation."
"Has Mr. Solo expressed any concern over his health or his
performance in the field?"
"Of course not, Alexander.
He would be the last person to........" Liz started.
"Then this meeting is over and I'll take your concerns under
advisement Dr. Ray." Waverly
interrupted. "Good day."
"Very well, Alexander.
I'll continue to monitor the situation.
But I'd highly recommend you give Mr. Solo a significant reduction in
missions over the next few months as well as advising him so seek counseling
through medical to address his stress levels." Dr Ray said over her shoulder as
she headed to the door. "If Mr. Solo is
pushed to the point of breakdown, understand you'll probably never get him
back." Elizabeth disappeared into the hallway.
Twenty four hours later both Solo and Kuryakin sat in the
UNCLE Chief's conference room waiting to be briefed on their next
assignment. Mr. Waverly had his back to the agents
finishing up several overseas relays while the agents sat. Illya noticed the lack of small talk from his
partner but he was content with the silence between them. Napoleon sat, chin in hand, flipping
mindlessly through a folder in front of him.
Illya had not been able to meet with Napoleon yet or follow up with Dr.
Ray although he hoped to do so before he and Napoleon left headquarters
again. He was relieved they would
apparently be going on assignment together.
Both men seemed to prefer this to individual missions. If something was seriously wrong with his
friend, at least Illya would be there to protect him from any danger they might
face. Solo could always be counted on to
do the same for him and had proven so numerous times.
Waverly spun around and addressed the agents. "Gentlemen, it seems a return trip to India is in
order. This time, Mr. Kuryakin, you will
be accompanying Mr. Solo."
Illya noticed Solo stiffen at the mention of India. This had been his last individual assignment
where the illusive Thrush beauty, Angelique had again interfered and Napoleon
had endured three days of drug-induced terror at the hands of Thrush. As Waverly continued, Illya noticed
Napoleon's breathing becoming more rapid and shallow. A light sweat broke out on his face.
"Miss Rogers, you may begin, please." Waverly said as the
lights dimmed and a screen lowered into the room. Waverly stood up from his chair as the
As slides appeared on the screen, Miss Rogers efficiently narrated.
"The Thrush installation in Bangalore was functionally disabled following
Mr. Solo's mission there last month.
However, after his capture, interrogation, and subsequent rescue, the
facility was never completely destroyed.
It was determined that it would not be necessary to return there just to
level the base. All intelligence
indicated Thrush would not attempt to re-open their headquarters at that
location. Last week, however, UNCLE
surveillance indicated significant activity at that location with approximately
45 Thrush personnel moving into repaired buildings. Radio cross traffic has picked up information
that a new bureau chief, a female, has been named to direct Thrush activities
in the area. Mylaya Dessaro has
apparently been promoted to this position with the removal of Angelique LeChene
and the former base commander, Charles Botonwich." Pictures of Angelique and Botonwich closed
the slide presentation. Illya glanced at
Solo and saw him look down from the photo staring hard at the table. It was common knowledge that Solo had a long
and complicated history with Angelique.
At the drop of a hat, they could go from being sworn enemies to intimate
lovers and their liaisons persisted over a period of 3 years. Some kind of
strange agreement existed between the two.
When push came to shove, they would inevitably aid one another in making
a quick getaway or daring escape. It was
almost protective. Kuryakin had no use
for the woman but understood and reluctantly tolerated the peculiar nature of
their relationship. Waverly, on the
other hand, used every opportunity he could to show his displeasure with Solo
over their trysts. The room lights came
up and the screen disappeared.
Waverly spoke first. "Hmmmmmmm....Angelique....I dare say she......"
Before Waverly could finish, Napoleon sprung to his feet
screaming like a wounded animal and knocking over his chair behind him. He swept his arms across the table and sent
maps, reports, files and cups flying into the air. Breathing hard with fury in his eyes he
advanced towards Waverly, fists clenched.
Solo shouted at the Old Man, "Shut up! Just shut up....you hear me! What the hell do you know about it? You son-of-a-bitch! Just shut up!"
Waverly's eyes widened with
astonishment. He stepped backwards from
Solo and fell clumsily into his chair.
Kuryakin jumped up from his seat and moved to intercept Napoleon as he
crossed the room. Illya braced himself
to block the agent and grabbed his friend by the lapels of his jacket. Solo eye's continued to bore ahead into
Waverly's as he struggled to get past the Russian.
"Napoleon" Illya hissed with teeth clenched, trying to break
the agent's stare while shaking him. "Napoleon!"
Kuryakin tried to
position himself to interrupt his partner's line of sight to their superior. The
two men struggled but Solo's frantic state made it relatively easy for Kuryakin
to control his friend. He slowly
wrestled Napoleon towards the sliding door and gave him a final shove into the
reception area when the door automatically opened. Illya followed the CEA to prevent him from
trying to reenter Waverly's office. As
Napoleon charged towards the door, Illya grabbed him again and slammed him into
the wall. He held the agent against the
wall, and desperately tried to snap Solo to his senses.
It's Illya. Look at me.....
Napoleon! Take it easy.....it's ok. It's ok.
Easy......" Kuryakin said still
holding tight to the struggling agent.
Illya noted the sweat pouring down Solo's face and watched his chest
heave as his eyes started to show recognition of his surroundings. Without a word Napoleon shoved Kuryakin off
him and stormed down the corridor passing two security agents, guns drawn, who
raced towards Waverly's office. Kuryakin
waved off the agents and let them know the area was secure as a stunned Lisa
Rogers tried to make sense of the impossible scene she had just witnessed. The blond agent watched Napoleon disappear
and stood still trying to collect his thoughts.
He took a deep breath and looked at his watch figuring out the current
time on the west coast. He ran a hand
through his hair, straightened his jacket and calmly turned to the frazzled
"May I please use your telephone, Miss Rogers?"
Dr. Cameron Weiss finished up her afternoon lecture and
packed her briefcase before heading back to the department office for a meeting
with several of her graduate students.
She traveled across campus on another sunny California
day and enjoyed her walk through the beautiful campus of Stanford University,
heading towards the medical school. At 5'6" with an athletic, swimmers build,
she purposely chose the stairs and jogged up to the 5th floor without
much of a sweat. After greeting the
secretaries in the office, she threw her briefcase into the office and then
went back to check messages. Happily
her meeting had been postponed and her schedule looked uncharacteristically clear
through lunch so she made every effort to sneak out before anyone could notice
she was free. Dr. Weiss was three steps
away from the perfect escape when she heard her secretary call out down the
hall. Damn...she'd almost made it! With a sigh, she turned back to see what
required her attention.
"Dr. Weiss....long distance from New York....shall I take a message?" the
secretary called out. Not many calls
came her way from the east coast and when they did, it usually was a very
"No, I'll be right there to take it. Hang on and transfer it to my office for me,
will you? she asked with anticipation.
When work called from New York,
it was usually quite interesting and provided her with exceptional case studies
for her advanced research in neuroscience. She grabbed a notebook and prepared
to take the call.
"Cameron Weiss." She spoke into the telephone.
"Hello, Dr. Weiss." a familiar voice spoke from the other
end of the line.
"Illya! My goodness
it's been too long! I don't think I've been
back your way for two years now....is the spy business so slow that UNCLE is no
longer in need of my services?" she teased, closing the office door with her
"Much as I'd like to say that's true, I think we've got a
situation here where your expertise is very much needed." Kuryakin replied.
"Really? You know I
love working with UNCLE, even if I have to keep it hush hush from my colleagues
here at the university. What's up? Usually it's Napoleon who calls me when
there's an agent dealing with trauma issues.
Napoleon's not hurt is he?
Illya....has he been......."
"No...no...he's quite alive and....should I say....kicking." the Russian quipped. "Actually Cam,
it is Napoleon who needs your help. I'm
afraid circumstances over the past few months have spiraled out of control and
this morning he attempted to assault Mr. Waverly."
Cameron nearly dropped the telephone out of shock. "What?
That's not possible. What in the
"I'd rather go into details when I see you if you could see
your way clear to come to headquarters as soon as possible." Illya said.
"What about Dr. Ray?"
Dr. Weiss inquired. "Is she seeing Napoleon? Is she treating him?"
"We have spoken but as yet have not had time to compare
notes. Dr. Ray did voice her concerns to
Mr. Waverly before Napoleon's incident in his office. I believe she requested a reduction in
mission hours and a medical evaluation."
"I'm sure that did a helluva lot of good." Cameron snorted
by way of reply. "Jesus that man is
Illya returned to the practical details of the call. "Dr.
Weiss, can you get here to New York
as quickly as possible?"
"Not a problem, Illya.
I'll catch a flight this afternoon and be there as fast as I can. Look, let's not alarm Napoleon at this point
by letting him know I'm coming. Why
don't you and Dr. Ray pick me up at the airport and we'll figure out how to
proceed from there?" she paused. "And Illya, please try hard not to worry. As his partner and best friend, I'm going to
need you in on this. If things are as
bad as you say, he's going to need your strength. Think you can handle it?"
Illya nodded into the phone and said, "I'll do whatever is
required if it will help Napoleon....and Cameron....thank you."
"Of course. You know
I'd do anything for that man. We go back
a long ways and Napoleon was the one who brought me to UNCLE in the first
place. See you later today, Illya, and
thanks for calling. I'll have my office
get you flight information as soon as it's taken care of." Dr. Weiss finished
up and ended the call.
Cameron collected her things and closed her office
door. As her secretary looked up, Dr.
Weiss asked her to get the next possible flight to New York and fill out a temporary leave of
absence form for the department head.
"Off on some kind of secret mission?" the secretary laughed,
unaware of how close she was to the truth.
"Something like that." replied Cameron. And with that, she was gone.
Dr. Weiss relaxed her head back in her airline seat and
sipped a glass of wine while gazing out the window of the plane. Napoleon.
It seemed impossible to her that anything could touch the man. Her mind drifted back to the first time they
met in Korea,
1950. Cameron was a surgical nurse in a
field hospital in one of the busiest and unstable parts of the war zone. The hospital frequently saw ten to fifteen
new critical cases every day in addition to the forty or so GI's who were
recovering...trying to get strong enough to be transferred to better facilities
in Seoul or, if lucky, back stateside.
Their medical center, such as it was, was in the heart of Pusan and multiple
divisions were assigned to keep the perimeter of the city secure. Pusan
was strategically important to the allies and its protection was a
priority. The North Korean's had pushed
towards the city throughout a brutal, frigid winter. They mounted several
offenses attempting to cross the Naktong
River near Taejon.
Had they achieved that goal, Pusan
would have undoubtedly fallen.
Late one snowy afternoon in February, a Lieutenant stepped
into the infirmary, took off his helmet and rubbed his hands together trying to
shake off the cold. He moved towards the
coffee and grabbed a cup, then hesitated as he noticed her nearby.
"Buy you a cup of coffee?" the soldier asked smiling. Although his uniform was dirty from being in
the field, he looked strangely put together and carried himself with an ease
that suggested he hardly noticed the holy horror of Korea.
"Why thank you, Lieutenant, but the coffee here is free."
she replied formally. Captain Weiss had
seen more than her share of attention from soldiers who came through the
hospital and she knew how to keep them at bay.
Undeterred, the handsome Lieutenant smiled warmly and
replied, "Why of course it is. May I
bring you a cup then? Let me
guess....cream, no sugar?"
"How did you know that?" The nurse queried. This one was a
"Just lucky I guess.
Let me introduce myself. Napoleon
Solo at your service." He bowed slightly.
"And you would be......Miss Weiss, I see?
Cameron enjoyed the reference to the female gender. As much as she loved her work, she often grew
tired of drab utilitarian fatigues and the military climate. It was refreshing to be treated like a lady. Lieutenant Solo handed the steaming cup to
Cameron and pulled a seat out for her which she gratefully accepted.
"Miss Weiss, I'm looking for a man from one of the units in
the 24th Infantry. A private
named Stefan Charles. I believe he came
in yesterday with multiple wounds and I'd like to check on his progress." Solo
"Yes, Lieutenant. Private Charles is recovering from surgery. He's been rather restless and unable to sleep
but is doing fairly well. You can see
him down towards the end of the room...tenth bed on the right." Cameron directed
as she checked the charts at the table where she sat.
"Thank you Miss Weiss.
It was a pleasure to meet you." Solo said, grinning. He winked at the nurse and went on his way. Cameron turned back to her charts smiling.
About an hour later, Weiss returned to the hospital after
stocking the drug cabinets from a shipment that had just arrived from Seoul. She glanced down the rows of beds and was
surprised to see Lieutenant Solo still sitting bedside with the private he was
visiting. As she watched, she saw the
patient sitting up in bed, somewhat animated, and gesturing as he continued
telling the young Lieutenant some sort of story. Solo's chair was pulled over towards the head
of the bed and he leaned forward listening and chuckling along with the
private. Cameron had witnessed many
officers "visiting" soldiers in the hospital and typically this involved
walking the rows of beds, greeting each man briefly, and giving the same "get
well soon and let's get you back to your unit" line. She sat down again to update charts and
found herself watching the interaction between Solo and Private Charles. The Lieutenant was relaxed and appeared to
have all the time in the world although Cameron knew this to be
impossible. He spoke only to ask a question
or two encouraging the private to talk and then sat listening while maintaining
eye contact that was warm and kind. At
last, Solo stood up and shook hands with the injured man. The private smiled and laughed at something
the Lieutenant said and then Solo turned to depart. He walked towards Cameron and picked up his
combat helmet preparing to leave.
"Miss Weiss? I wonder
if I could have a word." Lieutenant Solo inquired. Cameron prepared herself for the inevitable
pick up line. "Private Charles has been
through some rather horrific enemy encounters and I wondered if you might be
able to spend some extra time with him...you know...just visiting and such. I think it would help his recovery."
"Private Charles won't be returning to the unit, Lieutenant. He's being shipped stateside in two weeks."
Solo smiled. "I'm not here to get him back to the unit. I think he needs some help to deal with the
ordeal he's been through. You mentioned
he wasn't sleeping. He's also been
having nightmares and reports feeling very nervous. Could you keep an eye on him for me?"
Weiss checked her chart and replied, "Of course
Lieutenant. I'd be happy to. I wonder why Private Charles has not reported
any of this to the medical staff here."
"It was probably nothing he thought was important." Napoleon
commented. "Thank you so much again for
all you're doing here, Miss Weiss."
"Lieutenant Solo." Cameron began slowly.
smiled. Then she thoughtfully asked.
"What happened......I mean....to Private Charles.....what was the horrific thing.....you
Napoleon's smile faded and he softly answered. "It's all horrific." The young Lieutenant turned and left.
Cameron Weiss sat back at her desk and thought about what
Napoleon said. She had noticed many of
the GI's in the hospital had symptoms similar to Private Charles. Hyperventilation, irritability, shaking,
withdrawal, and others came to mind. She
vowed to study this in her work and hopefully encourage the nursing staff to
watch for these signs and learn to address them however they could. She paused and looked down the line of beds
to Private Charles.
He was sleeping like a baby.
For the next 9 months, Cameron would occasionally see
Napoleon come in to visit one of his men.
He playfully flirted with her each time but both of them knew they had
no time and little energy to follow up any inclinations they might have. Over time, they developed a fine friendship
and she enjoyed sharing with him the information collected on what she came to
call, "gross stress reaction." He
genuinely seemed interested in her work and soaked up the information like a
sponge. The next November, he dropped by
to let her know his division was being moved to Inchon.
They hugged each other and wished each other well and Cameron thought
that was the last time they would see each other. When the war ended, she was discharged and
completed medical school at the University
of Wisconsin and was then
accepted into a doctoral program at Stanford specializing in trauma/stress
reaction. She became one of the early
authorities in the field and accepted a position on the staff at Stanford not
long after completing her PhD program.
She was shocked, when one day in 1964; she received a call out of the
blue from one Napoleon Solo.
"Is this the delightful Captain Weiss I'm speaking to?" a
lighthearted voice said.
What....no...this is....Dr. Cameron....ah...I mean.....who is this?" she sputtered.
"Lieutenant Solo, again, at your service, Camy."
"Napoleon! Oh my God,
Napoleon! How are you? Where are you? How did you find me?" she gushed with
"Well, sweet, it seems that life post-Korea finds me firmly
rooted in the spy business and I wouldn't be very good at my job if I couldn't
locate a neuroscientist or two now and then, would I." Solo said.
"Spy work. Now, why
am I not surprised, Napoleon?" Cameron replied grinning. She was delighted to talk with her old friend
but instincts told her there was a reason for the call. "You're not calling for
social purposes I presume?"
"You're right about that, Camy. It's rather hard to explain in detail but the
short version is that the organization I work for would like to contract with
you to help some of our agents now and then when the situation arises. It would require you to come to New York occasionally;
we'd of course pay all your expenses and compensatory salary. It would have to be kept a secret, however,
from everyone in your life there in California."
"This is serious stuff your into, isn't it, Napoleon." Weiss
"Deadly serious, Camy."
Cameron thought for a moment and then spoke. "And am I to
assume your boss is already on board with this little project of yours,
Napoleon chuckled into the phone. "Well, let's say that's a
work in progress, Camy. I'm confident however;
you'll be able to persuade him when you meet him tomorrow morning. Check with your secretary. She has a ticket for you to fly out
tonight. I'll meet you at the airport
and we can catch up then." The phone
went dead before she could protest.
Dr. Cameron Weiss flew to New York that night and met with Alexander
Waverly and her friend, Napoleon the next day.
She was amazed to learn about the United Network Command for Law and
Enforcement and especially about the enforcement agents who put their lives on
the line every time they went out on behalf of UNCLE...on behalf of the world. Napoleon was just as sure about the necessity
of trauma treatment for their agents as Waverly was skeptical, but they agreed to
a test case the first time Napoleon felt Dr. Weiss might be needed. Cameron had worked with 3 of Napoleon's
agents over the next couple of years and all of the cases had resolved quite
successfully. As her plane descended and
the familiar skyline of New York
appeared, Dr. Weiss now thought about her current case. She had a sense of foreboding and tried hard
to quell her emotions over the trouble Napoleon was in. A sense of determination replaced her doubts
as she thought about just how imperative success in this case would be. She would find a way to bring Napoleon back
from whatever hell he had descended into.
She would find a way.
Dr. Weiss saw the familiar blond Russian at the gate,
waiting for her plane to pull up. She
gathered her things and filed into line with the other passengers to walk down
the steps that had been pushed to the plane.
She smiled up at Illya and waved as she headed towards the gate. He smiled and warmly greeted her with a
hug. With Illya taking her briefcase,
they moved towards baggage claim.
Cameron could see the worry in Illya over the state of their
"Illya, is Dr. Ray meeting us tonight?" she asked noting the
"Elizabeth is currently in
surgery at headquarters, Cam. I'm hoping she
can meet with us tonight. The situation
has changed somewhat since we last spoke." Kuryakin explained, grabbing
"What's happened, Illya?"
Dr. Weiss asked gently.
"Napoleon has disappeared.
He was called to Mr. Waverly's office this morning and was told he was
on indefinite medical leave and would be completely restricted to the medical unit
until further notice."
Dr. Weiss raised her eyebrows. "I'm sure that went over
well." She said.
"Yes, well.....Napoleon threw his credentials down on the
table and resigned. He left the building
and hasn't been seen since. He never
went back to his apartment. I've had
agents check the airport and train stations.... he's gone." Illya said miserably.
"Illya, no one knows him like you do. Think.
Where would he go?"
"Believe me, I've been going over every conversation I've
ever had with him to come up with ideas.
Napoleon was a diplomat's kid, Cameron.
His home is everywhere and nowhere.
My hunch is he's still here in the city somewhere. But if Napoleon doesn't want to be found, he
won't be." Illya paused, running over
possibilities in his head. "Wait a
minute...I might just have an idea where he could be. It's just possible......" Illya grabbed Cameron's
hand and pulled her outside to the first waiting cab. They piled in and the Russian spoke quickly
to the driver.
"Port Washington." He said simply.
spoke excitedly. "Of course....his
"Don't get your hopes up yet, Dr. Weiss. It's a long shot at best but it's the only
thing I can come up with." Kuryakin
paused, "Cam....if Napoleon is on the boat, what
then? My orders are to bring him back to
headquarters willingly or not."
Dr. Weiss stared ahead at the New York traffic. "No.
That's the last place he needs to be.
Let me handle Waverly on that."
She paused. "Nope...we'll see if we can get him back to his apartment and
we'll work out of there. Now, if
Napoleon is uncooperative....well....I have some of the latest and greatest
sedatives on hand in my bags." She grinned.
"I have sleep darts with me if that could be of help." Kuryakin added.
Dr. Weiss grabbed Illya's arm. "Let's try to avoid that if we can. I'd like to take UNCLE out of this as much as
possible. Any association with the organization
could set him off. No guns, no beeping
communicators, nothing that could take him further away from us. Do you understand, Illya?"
"Of course, Cameron.
Any other suggestions that might be helpful?" Illya asked.
"Well," she instructed. "Keep your tone light and don't
barrage him with questions. Try not to
back him into a corner. No matter what
he does or says, keep your voice calm and neutral. He needs to know we are on his side. My guess is he will be quite withdrawn. He
must feel that he has friends around him whom he trusts. We have to be those friends, Illya. And, whatever happens, we have to take him
back with us now. If he slips away here,
who knows what might happen to him."
Cameron's blue eyes were intensely serious.
Kuryakin nodded. "I see.
Do you want to come on board with me?"
"Not initially. My
presence might alarm him and escalate his anxiety. Let me watch how things are going and try to
get onboard unnoticed."
Kuryakin laughed, "Not likely, Dr. Weiss."
'You'd be surprised, Illya. Extreme trauma can diminish
abilities that are deeply ingrained, even in spies!" Cameron smiled.
"Let's hope so." Kuryakin replied. "The last thing I want is to get into it with
"Good." The doctor
responded as the cab rolled up to the pier.
"Keep your fingers crossed he's here, Illya. We're not going to have many chances at
Kuryakin nodded and they both got out of the cab. Illya pointed to Solo's 30 foot sail boat two
rows over. No one appeared to be on board
the sleek, beautiful sailboat painted red and white, bobbing slightly in the
harbor. As Kuryakin drew closer, he
motioned Weiss to stay back. He sighed
with relief as he saw the back of Napoleon's head in the forward cabin looking
over nautical charts. Before he could
speak, Solo's voice called out.
"Permission to come aboard, Mr. Kuryakin." He said not
Illya hopped on the open stern side and noticed broken glass
from a bottle carelessly left on deck with a few drops of blood headed towards
the cabin. He moved inside the cabin and
saw Napoleon's right hand wrapped with a small towel, saturated in blood.
"Good afternoon, my friend."
Illya started. He noticed a good
sized supply of food and liquor on the seats.
"Heading out on vacation, I see?"
"Permanently." Solo stated flatly.
"Where to?" Illya
asked before remembering Cameron's advice.
Solo didn't reply. He
turned away from the charts and sat down motioning Illya to a seat.
"I'm guessing this is not a social call, Illya. Let's see.
Mr. Waverly has issued you an order to bring me back to headquarters
dead or alive to be locked up in medical until he sees fit to spring me." Solo's voice had a sharp edge to it. "Is that about the size of it?"
"That's the rumor, Napoleon.
But I'm here today just to talk.
What's a short visit between long time friends?" Illya said.
"Here. Let me make it
easy for you." Solo stood up and turned
away from the Russian. He leaned over
the table and put his hands behind his back, ready to be handcuffed. "Isn't this the protocol to bring unwilling
prisoners back to headquarters? Go
ahead, Illya. Isn't that what you're
here for?" He said bitterly.
Kuryakin glanced back at Dr. Weiss still on the dock. He did have handcuffs on him and if this was
the easiest way to secure Solo, should he take it? Cameron didn't move but shook her head "no"
"Don't be ridiculous, Napoleon." He said sitting down calmly
in front of Solo. He sat quietly and
waited for his friend to speak...giving him room....giving him time.
Solo sighed and sat down in his seat, looking
exhausted. "I'm not going back,
Illya. I'm done. I can't do this anymore." He looked at the
Russian. "I won't go back with you,
Illya. Do you understand?"
Solo stood up and stared down at the charts. He seemed to drift away but fidgeted with his
hands, not quite knowing what to do with them. Kuryakin spoke softly to him
hoping to somehow reach his friend and convince him to reconsider his plans.
give me a minute before I go. We've been through a lot together. You know you can trust me." Illya started earnestly. "I'm very concerned about you. You're not yourself. Please come with me. I'll help you work through this...we'll do it
together and things will get better. We
don't have to go back to headquarters.
Please, don't give up like this....."
"Give up?" Solo
thundered. "When have I ever given up,
Illya?" He stood fuming, pounding his
fists on the table. "I've done
everything they've asked me to do. I've
given everything. It's never
enough. Don't you see that? It's never enough."
Illya rose from his seat reaching out his hand. "Please,
Napoleon...let me help......"
UNCLE's CEA, swatted Illya's hand away and reached across
the table grabbing him by the throat.
Solo suddenly felt the sharp sting of a needle being jammed into his
thigh. Looking down with astonishment he
saw a clear liquid being forcefully injected into his body. He turned to view his assailant and saw the
face of Dr. Cameron Weiss who was now withdrawing the syringe and stepping back
to face him.
"Camy?" Solo whispered. A look of confusion and betrayal came over
"Let go now, Napoleon.
Everything is going to be ok." She said soothingly, placing a hand on
Solo's shoulder as he slumped down into a chair. Dr. Weiss watched Napoleon fight hard to
maintain consciousness. His head fell
backward and he blinked rapidly trying to clear his head. Solo looked up, trying to reach out and find
her arm, a look of hurt still on his face.
"Camy.......no.............." he slurred. And then, Napoleon Solo
slipped into darkness.
Napoleon stirred and tried to
clear his head. He woke to find himself
in his own bed but had no idea how he had gotten there. He noticed his hand had been bandaged
carefully by someone. By habit, he
reached under the pillow to check for his UNCLE Special and was disturbed to
find it missing. He rose and grabbed a
robe from the bathroom, moving to the bedroom door to listen for voices. Hearing none, he opened the door and came
into the living room. There, he saw Dr.
Cameron Weiss, head buried in assorted files and folders, and his partner,
Illya Kuryakin. Illya was sitting on the
couch, glasses on, reading from a journal and eating out of a Chinese food
container with chopsticks.
Sourly, Napoleon addressed them,
"Don't let me interrupt anything."
Cameron responded first. "Hello,
Napoleon. Glad to see you up this
afternoon. How did you sleep?"
"Involuntarily, I believe." was
the curt reply. "What the hell did you
do to me, Cameron? Or maybe the better
question is why?"
"Mr. Solo." Cameron began, standing up. "I am here in New York on special
assignment...an assignment I have every intention of completing
successfully. The outcome of this
assignment requires not only your presence but your cooperation. Seeing as how your cooperation was in
question yesterday, I took the necessary measures to ensure your
compliance. As you know, this will all
go a lot better if you agree to work with me, however, I am prepared to remain
here as long as necessary until you come to that conclusion."
"Fine." Solo retorted. "Stay as long as you want. But don't count on me to stay with you. In case you missed the news flash; I am out,
Dr. Weiss. Done. I don't want anything
more to do with any of you. Now if
you'll excuse me, I have some things to pack before I leave." Napoleon turned to go back to the bedroom.
"Unfortunately, that is not one of
your options here." Cameron said. "We
have agents outside the front door as well as your alternate exit to make sure
you stay right where you are, Napoleon.
You will remain here until I say otherwise. If you choose to take issue with that, you'll
find yourself on the wrong end of a sleeping dart with a massive headache
awaiting you 2 hours later. And in the
end, you'll still be exactly where you are right now."
"This is not your problem,
Cameron." Solo shouted back. "I do not
work for UNCLE anymore. You have no
right to keep me here and I don't want your help."
Dr. Weiss did not back down. "Listen, Napoleon, I don't care whether you
work for UNCLE or not. Frankly, your
wishes at this point are immaterial. You
are in deep trouble my friend, and what's more, I'm sure that you... know
it." Cameron crossed the room to stand
in front of Napoleon, yanking his hands up.
"Care to tell me why your hands shake uncontrollably? How about the way your clothes hang on you
like a POW? Not enough?" she marched
over to the trash can and kicked it over, watching assorted bottles fall
out. "How about your attempts to
self-medicate, Napoleon? How is that
going? And while we're at it, you
haven't exactly been the model of self-control lately. You tried to throttle your boss...oh excuse me,
you're ex-boss 2 days ago and you've got circles under your eyes the size of
potato sacks. You're irritable and
withdrawn.... you break out in a cold sweat at the mention of an assignment. You're angry as hell and don't have one
single clue about how to deal with it.
Now...you look me in the eye right now and tell me you don't need help."
Solo kicked the coffee table and
flipped it over sending books, glasses, magazines, and Chinese food
flying. He moved quickly to the kitchen
reaching up to the liquor cabinet and found it empty. Dr. Weiss followed him. "That's not an option
anymore either." she called out.
"Jesus!" Solo yelled, slamming his
cut hand on the countertop. He grabbed
his hand, wincing, and retreated back to the bedroom slamming the door with
enough force to make all the lamps in the apartment shake.
Illya stood up. "Um, what was that
you said again about a calm voice and not backing him into a corner?" he asked
Cameron looked over gave and him a
quick wink. "Strategy, Illya. A little thing called strategy."
Dr. Weiss woke up and automatically checked her watch. It was close to three in the morning New York time. She sighed and decided to get up and check on
her patient. Leaving her bedroom, she
saw Illya sprawled out quite comfortably on the couch, sound asleep. Looking over to Napoleon's room, she was not
surprised to see a light shining from under the door. She knocked softly and opened the door, surprised
to find it unlocked. Napoleon stood
across the room, leaning on the wall by a window, his hands folded across his
chest, looking out into the night. Cameron
came in towards him but remained silent, sitting down in one of the room's
After a few minutes, Napoleon swallowed hard and spoke,
barely above a whisper. "I can't sleep,
"I know." She replied simply.
Solo remained standing, looking out the window. "It..........they always start....." Napoleon fell silent.
"Nightmares." Cameron said.
Napoleon only nodded.
"We're going to have to find out what those are about,
"Yes." He replied, tears welling in his eyes. Napoleon sat down in the chair next to Cameron. He turned towards her with a look of dread on
"It will get worse before it gets better." She said
"God, Camy, I'm so tired." Solo said weakly.
"Let me help, then." The doctor said, opening her hand to
reveal two small white pills. Napoleon
was silent. Cameron joined him in the
silence quietly waiting for her friend to make his decision. She knew how inherently opposed agents were
to sedatives of any kind but Napoleon had reached a crossing point. He would have to decide to trust her. He would have to relinquish control to her
and acknowledge that she, for now, knew what was best for him. Such a leap was difficult for a man like
Solo...it went against all of his training, but Cameron was confident he could
take that important step in time and she was content to wait until Napoleon was
willing. There could be no other way.
Napoleon sighed and took the 2 pills from her hand, looking
at her for some kind of reassurance. She
smiled at him and was pleased to see him smile slightly in return. They had a long way to go, but it would be
all right. She felt sure of it. Napoleon took the medication with a couple of
swallows of water from a glass on the table.
"C'mon slugger." Cameron joked. "To bed with you." She linked arms with Napoleon and steadied
him as he climbed under the covers. She
sat down on the bed next to him and touched his cheek softly, looking deep into
his eyes. "You know how it is now......no
Solo nodded, "Ok."
Cameron nodded in return and sat with her hand on his arm as
he drifted off to sleep.
Solo awoke the next day at noon. The night had been fairly calm with the
assistance of the good doctor's drugs and although he felt a bit groggy, he
gladly accepted fuzziness over the nightmares of the past month, at least for
today. He heard a knock on the door and
Illya's head popped in.
"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty." He said with a smile.
"Illya. What are you
still doing here?" Solo asked still
buried in the covers.
"Isn't it obvious?
I'm on vacation." The Russian
"Some vacation." Napoleon commented.
"You have your ideas of fun and I have mine, Napoleon." He
shrugged. Looking Solo over, Illya
said. "Listen, I doubt the ladies will
be able to control themselves with your current display of scruffy
manliness. A shower and shave for you is
in order, my friend."
"Ladies?" Napoleon asked.
"Indeed. Dr. Ray just
arrived with what seems to be a medical mini-lab and I believe an in-depth
physical is on the schedule."
Napoleon rolled his eyes but took several deep breaths and
remembered his promise to Cameron. He
took his time in the shower and managed to get a fairly decent shave in with
one minor nick. He dressed in khaki
pants, white shirt and a navy sweater and sat down out of sheer
exhaustion. After a minute to collect
himself, he headed into the living room.
Dr. Weiss and Dr. Ray were talking over a report while having a cup of
Illya, unbelievably, was in the kitchen rooting around in
drawers and taking something out of the oven.
"If that's something you've prepared, we're all doomed."
"Relax, it's take out, reheated. I won't be responsible for
any further deterioration of your health, Napoleon." Kuryakin smirked.
Cameron, Illya, and Napoleon gathered at a table to share a bite. Napoleon took a relatively small amount of
lasagna on his plate and attempted a few bites before pushing it aside. Cameron noticed but didn't comment. It was too early for that and she wanted to
pick her battles. Napoleon's appetite
would come back in time.
Solo spoke to Cameron. "Am I to assume the prison guards are
still on duty outside, Warden Weiss?"
"They are, Napoleon." Cameron said cheerfully.
"So much for trust."
"Trust must be earned, Mr. Solo" Elizabeth piped up. "Besides, it's one of a very few compromises
we had to make with Alexan........" she abruptly stopped not wanting to bring UNCLE
into the conversation.
Solo dropped his fork loudly and stared at Cameron. Before he could speak she skillfully smoothed
"Not to worry, Napoleon.
All of us are here on our own time.
When we are done, and you are back to your charming, handsome, capable
self.....all decisions will be in your hands and your hands only."
Napoleon appeared to relax.
"Come to think of it," he asked. "How did you manage to get permission
to bypass headquarters?"
Liz and Cameron looked at each other and laughed, "We didn't
Napoleon was curious. "What about UNCLE's medical resources?"
Illya jumped in playfully. "Oh don't worry, you'll get the
With trouble averted, Dr. Weiss brought over her notes and
started to brief the small group on the basic plan she had developed.
"Napoleon, I've talked with both Elizabeth and Illya
extensively about the last month or so.
I've gone over your assignments and the accompanying trauma symptoms
you've developed. I've gone over all the
reports. First, I'd like to get a
complete medical exam and run some tests.
The nature of the drug used on you in India has me thinking there might
be some residual effects going on and that certainly isn't helping. Dr. Ray will take a number of blood samples
and we should know about any lingering effects of the hallucinogen used on you
by tonight. Elizabeth is going to handle the physical
part of your recovery and you'll work with me on the emotional part."
"And I, of course, am here for housekeeping purposes." Illya said with a straight face.
"God help us all." Solo chuckled.
"In the meantime, Elizabeth and I both agree we should get
you on an IV for hydration and nutrition.
That will give us a head start on getting a little of your strength
back. You and I haven't talked at all so
we'll start on that right after your physical. She paused. "And Napoleon,
initially there will be a lot of prescribed rest."
"An interesting use of words, Camy" Napoleon observed. "You
mean I have to be knocked out."
"Call it what you will, Napoleon. I've looked at this from every possible
angle. My feeling is that your trauma
point has something to do with the assignment in India. I don't believe that you even fully remember
what that might be, but we'll explore that together. If you can't remember, we'll look at other
options. Either way, you will handle
things better if you are fairly well rested.
The nightmares you experience simply won't allow you to get the sleep
that you need right now." She explained carefully.
Napoleon appeared to mull this over and then looked to his
closest friend, Illya, for comment.
The Russian nodded. "It's a good plan, Napoleon. Let's go ahead with it. I'll be right here.
Satisfied, Solo turned back to the two physicians. "Let's get started then."
The week progressed smoothly and Dr. Cameron Weiss was
pleased with the progress being made.
Although he was still not eating much food, the IV nutrition did help
Solo gain some strength back and he was looking better. They continued to hydrate him when test
results showed some residual drug levels in Napoleon's blood. Solo was true to his word and obedient with
her frequent orders for sedation.
Secretly he was relieved to have a break from the nightmares although he
knew the time was coming when these would have to be faced. While Napoleon made progress, Cameron was
meticulous in controlling topics of discussion in the apartment. Nothing had been specifically said, but no
one, Solo included, ever brought up Waverly, UNCLE, or the future. The agents
posted at the doors disappeared midway through the week. Cameron had even allowed Napoleon leave the
apartment to do some light jogging outside on the condition that Illya remained
by his side. Both men found this
relaxing and enjoyable.
Cameron's memory work with Solo was a little slower to
progress and she had started to push a bit more. They worked twice a day at reconstructing the
events that took place in India
and Dr. Weiss felt as though she knew exactly where the "trauma point" lay. In
the mornings, she would start Napoleon from the beginning of the mission,
asking him to recall the tiniest details from the moment he left UNCLE
Headquarters in New York. They worked on what he saw, what he heard,
smells, colors, weather, food he ate, people, and conversations. Every day she would have him repeat the story
and it seemed each time he would recall more information. Typically this would take up to 3 hours in
the morning. After lunch, Napoleon would
sleep for a bit and then they would begin again, this time starting from the
very end of the mission, and working backwards.
Dr. Weiss called this technique "sandwiching" the trauma point and it
had been successful in helping her pinpoint a very specific stress origin point
in most cases.
A very clear picture was starting to emerge. Everything had been fairly routine up until a
gun battle in the depths of a Thrush supply building. Solo initially left the
UNCLE Delhi office alone for reconnaissance. Once in Bangalore, he mapped the entire Thrush
complex and skillfully maneuvered to sabotage the security systems moving in
and out of the various buildings at will.
This, in preparation for an all out assault by a small group of UNCLE
agents along with Napoleon scheduled for the next day. The night before the mission, Napoleon
returned to his hotel room to find Angelique waiting for him in his
bedroom. They spent the night together
and parted ways in the morning. As far
as the specific details around the gun fire during the raid, Napoleon
Initially, Napoleon's stress levels started to rise when
describing his arrival at UNCLE's Delhi
office. Cameron had him close his eyes
and breathe deeply but perspiration always broke out leaving him soaked. Different parts of his body would jerk almost
like a seizure, but Napoleon seemed unaware of it. Sometimes he would rise and pace back and forth;
a nervous energy coming out of him seemed to fill the whole room. Solo's anxiety continued to escalate and his
upper body would begin to shake. It was
then that Dr. Weiss would start to back off and try to settle her patient back
into a more relaxed state. Invariably
this would leave Napoleon highly frustrated and agitated as he struggled to
remember details but found them hopelessly illusive. Over time, Cameron desensitized Solo to the
point where he could remain somewhat calm, until the time in the retelling
where Angelique joined him in his hotel room.
He remembered their lovemaking explicitly but seemed to lose all details
the next morning. Cameron pushed
Napoleon to this point several times, but could make no further progress
without him completely falling apart. His
only memories of the actual shooting were of three UNCLE agents shooting from
the upper level of the building down to the open ground level where several
THRUSH agents were bunkered in. Solo was
also on the ground level shooting at the enemy from across the warehouse. He remembered firing from a prone
position. At this point in the
description, Napoleon's heart pounded as if it was coming through his chest and
the fear in his eyes could only be relieved by Cameron having him lay on the
couch while she placed her hands on his chest and gently coached him to slow
his breathing down. Sometimes he would
clutch her arm, his eyes intensely begging for her help. These sessions left
both of them exhausted.
That night at dinner, Napoleon seemed especially tired and
excused himself early. Cameron made the
difficult decision to let him go without sedatives for the night. If she couldn't make any more progress during
daytime, maybe it was time to see if his recurring nightmares could shed any
light on what happened in India. In the meantime, she was waiting for reports
on the affair to arrive from India. Illya had been checking for them at
headquarters periodically and at this point, anything that provided concrete
information on the incident would have been a godsend. They were running out of options.
Illya arrived back at Napoleon's apartment that night along
with Dr. Ray who was dropping by to update her medical files. They found Cameron plowing through some
leftovers while standing in the kitchen.
She waved them in, happy to see both of them after a long day.
"Hello Cam," Illya
said. "How did things go today?"
"About the same Illya.
We keep hitting the same brick wall.
I don't know how much more I can push Napoleon on this." She replied
flatly. "If those reports don't help us
out the only other idea I have is hypnosis."
Illya scowled at the idea.
"Just a minute.....both Napoleon and I have been on the receiving end of
attempted hypnosis and believe me nothing good can come of it....if it even works
Cameron shook her head. "I'm guessing that was hypnosis
where suggestions were being planted against your will. I'm talking about something completely
different, Illya. We've come a long way
on hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is now used
quite often in neuroscience circles where memories have been blocked. It's a useful tool and it just might come
down to trying something like that if we.............."
Dr. Weiss's comments were interrupted by loud, blood
curdling screams coming from the bedroom.
The three of them rushed in to see Napoleon thrashing in bed as if being
attacked from all sides. The sheets were
ropes around him from head to toe. His
body flailed about frantically and he was drenched in sweat. Illya and Cameron ran to him on different
sides of the bed and Elizabeth
rushed to get her medical bag. Cameron
tried to grasp one of Solo's arms and wake him as Illya grabbed Napoleon from
the other side. They held him gently in
the bed, desperately trying to bring him to consciousness. Napoleon's eyes opened but he had the same
crazed expression Illya had seen in Waverly's office. Elizabeth
came towards them with a syringe and looked at Cameron. Dr. Weiss shook her head, hoping they could
ride this out.
"Napoleon! Come on,
Napoleon, wake up!" Cameron said. "Wake
up! We're here...wake up! Napoleon!"
Illya continued to try and reach his friend. "We've got you
Napoleon.........take it easy...."
They noticed Napoleon responding with a slight relaxation in
his upper body. His eyes regained some
focus and seemed to recognize them but as Solo came to; he became disturbed at
the recollection of his nightmare. His
breathing became almost a pant and he shook his head back and forth trying to
distance himself from the dream. Cameron and Illya still held him. His face drained of color.
Cameron moved closer, holding him tight. "Tell it, Napoleon. Now. What happened?"
She said forcefully.
"I can't..........don't.....don't...." he gasped in terror.
"Now, Napoleon. All of it." She pressed.
"No." he pleaded.
Illya attempted to calm Solo. "Napoleon.....look at me. I'm here.
We're all here...take it easy....you're safe......come on, breathe now."
Napoleon closed his eyes. "It's all dark..........dark......it comes
from all sides. It's dark." He started.
"Where are you?" Cameron urged.
"I don't know....I don't know...." His voice rose.
"Ok" Cameron said. "It's dark...what is coming, Napoleon?"
"Shots.....all of them....from all over.....I can't...."
"Are you shot?" she interrupted.
"No...no.........God, it's the car......it....it runs me down...I can't
get away from it." Solo croaked.
Cameron pushed on. "What car, Napoleon?
Napoleon started to sag in their arms and tears ran down his
face. "God, no......you should be gone....."
is it....who should be gone?" Cameron asked.
"I don't know........I don't know........" Solo yelled.
"Ok, ok.....that's enough for now." Cameron soothed. "Just relax now....it's ok.....you did well,
Solo slowly opened his eyes and looked at Illya perplexed. "Illya........what's
Kuryakin slowly let go of Napoleon's arm. "I don't know.....but
it's ok....you're doing ok......just breathe."
They all sat in silence trying to make sense of the nightmare.
came forward slowly and spoke softly, "Hey, you're drenched. Let's get you a shower, all right?"
Napoleon nodded and swung his legs onto the floor
tentatively. He was helped into the
bathroom and turned the faucets on, still looking a little dazed. Liz, Illya, and Cameron headed into the
living room to make tea. While Solo was
still in the shower, the three compared notes.
"What do you think, Cam?" Illya asked.
"Well, he's never mentioned much about the shots before and
I have no idea what the thing is about a car.
I have no idea who the person is either." Cameron shook her head. "But as frightening
as this is, it's progress. Napoleon
knows what happened. It's there
somewhere. He just can't access it right
"Do we really have to access it? I mean, can't we just help him to forget?"
"Not if we want him to be better. Usually when a traumatic event happens that
is suppressed, it's the patient's way of protecting himself. The event is just too difficult to bear. The problem is, when the event is suppressed
over time, it tends to become magnified or exaggerated." Cameron shared.
Liz said. "Until the damn breaks." Dr. Weiss nodded.
Napoleon entered the room with a soft, white robe fastened
around him. He was using a bath towel to
dry his dark hair and the color had returned to his face. He pulled a chair up to the table and
accepted some tea from Dr. Ray.
"I hope we don't have to do that again." He said meekly.
Dr. Weiss smiled at him and said. "I think it's time to take
another step, Napoleon. You can't take
this much longer and we're close...really close."
"Jesus, Camy...I don't think I want to know about a next step
after this," he admitted.
"Napoleon, now listen." She said carefully. "There's been a lot of progress on this over
the past ten years and it's been helpful to a lot of people. I'd like to try hypnotherapy."
word hung in the air.
"Yes....you see, your trauma point revolves around the
shooting. We know that. But for protection, your brain has put you
more or less in a state of disassociation from what actually happened that
day. Hypnotherapy will let us tap into your
imaginative memory to access what your brain has blocked." She explained.
Napoleon sighed and rubbed both hands over his eyes. Sensing
his apprehension, Dr. Cameron Weiss grabbed his hand and looked Napoleon right
in the eye.
"Do you trust me?"
"I do." Napoleon replied.
"Then take this last step with me." She held eye contact with her long time
friend and waited. After a long pause,
The next morning, Dr. Cameron Weiss woke early to the smell
of something delicious cooking. She
peaked out her door to see Napoleon happily working in the kitchen. He wore dark navy blue slacks, a lighter blue
dress shirt with a crisp white apron around his waist, and a kitchen towel
draped over his shoulder. She didn't
know that Napoleon even knew how to cook, let alone was capable of producing
the delicacies she smelled from the kitchen.
Smiling to herself, she headed to the shower to start her day. She and Dr. Elizabeth Ray had an appointment
with Mr. Waverly at UNCLE Headquarters that morning before the hypnotherapy
session scheduled for the afternoon.
She'd charged Illya with the responsibility of keeping Napoleon occupied
while they met with Waverly. Cameron
didn't want to take any chances of Solo becoming anxious before their session
and didn't want him to even know about the meeting with Waverly.
Napoleon called out to Cameron and Illya alerting them that
breakfast was ready. As Cameron arrived
at the breakfast table, she saw Napoleon had added a sharp looking tie to his
outfit and was prepared to formally serve them.
The table setting was beautiful.
Illya sat and dug in with gusto as soon as Napoleon set his
plate down. Cameron preferred to take in
the delightful visual before starting.
There was a full platter of freshly cut fruit in the middle of the table
and squeezed orange juice by each setting.
Delicious hot coffee steamed from three mugs on the table. Napoleon brought her a plate of beautiful,
freshly baked breakfast crepes with scrambled eggs, roasted red peppers, and
feta cheese. He bowed playfully as he served her.
"...And for you, madam." he smiled.
Cameron was overwhelmed and delighted to see Napoleon
looking and feeling so well. She
secretly hoped that the rest of the day would continue that way.
"Oh, waiter" she called to Napoleon before he sat down.
"Madam?" Napoleon responded, again bowing. Cameron reached over to grab Napoleon's hand
and looked up into his expressive brown eyes.
"Will you marry me?"
She asked teasingly.
"Of course, madam.
Your every wish is my command!" Napoleon answered, chuckling softly.
When breakfast concluded, Dr. Weiss returned to her bedroom
to collect some papers and prepare for her meeting. When she reentered the living room, Napoleon
and Illya were deeply engaged in a chess game.
Again, Cameron was pleased to see her friend involved in an activity
that stimulated his mental acuity.
Napoleon was better. She headed
out the door and looked back once more at the two friends, and sighed.
Just one more step to go.
- * * *
- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
met her outside Mr. Waverly's private office at the appointed time.
"Ready to enter the lion's den?" she asked Dr. Weiss.
"I am if you are."
Cameron replied. "I'm glad we're
in this together! What's with meeting in
his private study?"
"Usually that's a peace offering." The doctor answered. "Hopefully he won't be in one of his more
crusty moods." Elizabeth
Lisa Rogers let them know that Waverly was ready for them.
As they entered the study, Dr. Ray looked back at her and
asked, "You have that archived
film I asked for?"
"I do, Dr. Ray." She replied. "Just let me know when you're ready."
The two women stepped into the room and Alexander Waverly
rose to greet them. He extended his hand
to shake both of their hands and welcomed them kindly. He poured coffee for the two before pouring
for himself and offered them a seat at a small, round table.
"Dr. Weiss, it's very good to see you. Thank you so much for coming to New York. How is Mr. Solo's treatment progressing?"
Cameron gave her honest assessment. "I think things are
going very well, Alexander. Given the
state he was in, Napoleon is remarkably resilient. We still have one major hurdle to clear but I'm
"You believe that Mr. Solo will come back to top form,
then?" Waverly asked.
"More than back." Cameron replied.
"And your recommendations?" The old man asked expectantly.
Cameron responded evenly, "I have none."
"I beg your pardon?"
Cameron repeated herself and explained. "I have none, Alexander. Whether Napoleon returns to UNCLE or not
makes no difference to me. Frankly, with
what has happened to him, I'd stand up and applaud the man if he told you all
to go to hell. I'm concerned only for
his happiness and well-being."
"I see." Waverly
Dr. Ray cleared her throat and tried to ease the
tension. "Alexander, should Napoleon
elect to return to UNCLE, there might be some ways we can prevent such a
situation from happening again.
"Oh? Please proceed
then, Dr. Ray."
"Alexander, I wonder if you have a realistic idea about what
your Section II agents are often exposed to out in the field. Let me see if I
can enlighten you." Elizabeth
began carefully. She pushed a button and
asked Miss Rogers to run the short film.
"I have here some film recovered from a Thrush prison during "The
Welbeck Abbey" affair last February." Elizabeth said. "Do you
recall that affair, Alexander?"
"If memory serves, I believe Thrush was attempting to locate
my private entrance to UNCLE Headquarters in hopes of breeching security."
"That's right." The
doctor replied. "This is what happened when Mr. Solo refused to reveal that
information." The screen lit up to show
a grainy, fairly unfocused scene in black and white, apparently filmed in a
small Thrush holding cell. Napoleon was
facing the wall, his arms manacled above his head. His captor lashed him repeatedly with a whip
and his shirt had been sliced open enough that blood was streaming down his
back. After at least twenty lashes, his
captor tired and Solo was released. He sank to the concrete floor. The nearby guards swarmed him and kicked him
viciously, apparently enjoying their opportunity to lay into UNCLE's CEA.
again pressed the intercom and spoke to Lisa Rogers. "Miss Rogers, would you
run that again and add in the audio?" She
Waverly spoke softly. "That's not necessary, Elizabeth."
"Yes it is, Alexander." She said sternly.
The screen came alive again this time with anguished screams
and moans as Napoleon endured the cruel torture. He fell to the ground and was silent. The only remaining sounds on the film were
from the laughs and jeers of the guards who continued to inflict pain on the downed
"Good God." Waverly mumbled, clearly distressed.
"Alexander, this is the reality out there." She began. "You
have the luxury of sitting here in your protected surroundings, moving agents
around like chess pieces while they are often subjected to terribly cruel and
horrific things in order to bring success to their missions. Did you see what Mr. Solo endured to protect
UNCLE.....to protect you? Can you see he
would willingly lay down his life for you without a second thought? Don't you think you owe him something in return
for that kind of loyalty, Alexander?"
Waverly turned to fact the two women. "I understand, Doctor
Ray. But this is the job that Mr. Solo
accepted. This is what he....."
"That argument only goes so far, Alex." Elizabeth interrupted. "I've watched how Mr.
Solo manages the well-being of our agents.
He has an excellent understanding of what it takes to keep them
functioning well in the field, plus the compassion and empathy to know when
they can't. He doesn't view them as some
kind of disposable resource that can be used up and carelessly tossed
aside. I don't know if Napoleon will
come back to us, but if he does, you sure as hell better make it your business
to see he is taken care of like everyone else around here is. You could stand to learn a thing or two from
him in that regard, Alexander. I treated
Napoleon after this affair. Do you know
how long it was before you sent him out on another assignment?"
Waverly remained silent.
"One day. He had one
day off." Elizabeth sighed.
Waverly fumbled over his next words. "It seems you've given
me quite a lot to think about here, Elizabeth. I'm afraid I've been very remiss in regards
to Mr. Solo."
Cameron took the opportunity to address UNCLE's Chief. "It's
something that can be fixed, Alexander, should Napoleon decide to return." Dr. Weiss paused thoughtfully and then
continued. "Alexander, what do you want
"What are your hopes for him in the future?" Cameron
"Mr. Solo will take over for me." He replied. "He's already
been selected for that, groomed for that if you will. That's common knowledge."
"I'm talking about as a man, not an agent. Would you like to see him marry, and have a
family, as you have?" Dr. Weiss asked quietly.
Waverly looked out the window of his study, sighed and
nodded to the two women. "I see what
you're saying, Cameron. You've both
given me a lot to think about. I only
hope your advice to me has not been too late.
It would be terrible if we lost Mr. Solo due to my insensitivity and
Cameron smiled knowing their objective with Mr. Waverly had
been accomplished. "We'll know about that soon enough."
Dr. Weiss and Dr. Ray returned to Napoleon's apartment to find
it empty. From the looks of it, Illya
and Napoleon had gone out for a run and she wasn't alarmed at their
absence. A large mailer envelope lay on
the table where they'd had breakfast and Cameron wondered if the report from
office had finally arrived. She decided
to wait for the two agents to return before snooping. Cameron had asked Elizabeth to be present during Napoleon's
session specifically to monitor his vitals during hypnotherapy. She'd frequently done this herself but
preferred to have someone else there so she could focus on guiding the
session. Illya and Napoleon stepped
through the door not five minutes later, both clad in sweats and breathing hard
from their run. Napoleon headed to his
bedroom for a shower and Illya used the shower in Cameron's room. It was time to get ready and Cameron prepared
a comfortable area in the living room where the session would take place. Elizabeth
got out her blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, and a portable EKG unit that
would monitor Solo's heart rate. Dr.
Weiss pulled up two chairs to the sofa and had a notepad ready for Illya to use
in transcribing dialogue during the afternoon. She folded up Solo's shoulder
harness and his empty UNCLE Special and placed it discreetly on the couch. Satisfied that everything was ready, both
women moved to the dining room table to await Solo and Kuryakin.
Illya reached for the brown envelope once all four of them
were seated. "This arrived at
headquarters this morning and was couriered over. All we have is the shooting
schematics and ballistic reports so I don't know if it will shed much light on
the situation." He spread the paper out
on the table and began explaining the layout of the Thrush storage
building. First he pointed to UNCLE's
"Here, lying down on the ground floor is Napoleon who is
designated "U1." Everyone else is
relative to him. So, the other UNCLE
agents are on the second floor at 3:00 from Napoleon's position." Illya pointed to his right. "The Thrush agents are T1, T2, T3 and are on
the first floor at 12:00 to Napoleon.
Eventually, one other Thrush agent appears on the 2nd floor,
9:00 to Napoleon."
Napoleon stood up, feeling slightly queasy, and spoke to the
three. "I.....ah....I think I'll step outside on the balcony a minute and get some
fresh air." The others nodded with
Illya continued. "Down at the bottom here, it tells us the
sequence of the shooting. Napoleon shot
three times at T1, T2, and T3...killing one operative. He then had a "trigger pattern" shooting at
T4 who came out on the 2nd floor after the incident began."
Cameron stopped Illya at that point. "Trigger pattern? Illya, what does that mean?"
The Russian explained.
"All enforcement agents are taught to use lethal force as little as
possible. We use sleep darts if we can,
then shoot bullets to injure if that is required to control the scene. The exception to that is in the
case....say.....of an ambush or surprise attack."
"And then you have a plan......." Cameron started.
"Not so much of a plan, as an ingrained response." Illya said.
"From the start of survival school we are taught in the case of an
ambush to respond quickly and lethally.
We don't think. Each agent has
their own "trigger pattern" and we practice this response over and over in every
possible scenario. Mine, for example, is
three shots, top to bottom, center mass. It's automatic."
"Jesus, Illya, remind me never to throw a surprise party for
you two." Cameron gulped. "What is
Napoleon's trigger pattern?"
Kuryakin responded, "Three shots in a tight triangle,
summarized. "So we know that T4 was a surprise, because Napoleon used his "trigger
Cameron sat back in her chair thinking. "Well, it does
clarify some of the events and it will help me guide Napoleon through the
shooting. I think it's time we got
Illya stepped outside to the balcony telling Napoleon it was
time and they gathered at the couch where Cameron and Elizabeth had set
up. Illya sat in a chair next to Dr.
Weiss and Elizabeth next to Napoleon on the couch as she started hooking him up
to the medical monitoring equipment.
Solo looked a little like a lost soul as all the preparations were made
around him. He looked to Illya, who
nodded firmly at him, trying to reassure his friend.
"Napoleon, please put on your shoulder harness." Cameron
instructed. "Then place the gun on your right leg. I'll give further directions once you're
turned on the EKG machine and the rapid beeps of Napoleon's pounding heart
could be heard loudly in the room. He
jumped and laughed nervously as Elizabeth
turned the sound down and watched her screen.
"All right. Let me tell you how this will work and then
we'll go through some relaxation exercises before I put you under." Cameron
began softly. She put a reassuring hand
on Napoleon's knee. "Once you're
relaxed, I'll put you under for just a minute and we'll practice coming out of
hypnosis quickly should your vitals become too elevated or in case I think the
situation is too overwhelming. Ok?"
Napoleon nodded and waited for Cameron to continue. "If I want you to come out the hypnotic state,
you'll hear the phrase "back out." Then
you'll hear me count to three and you will immediately wake up. Let's give just that part a try."
Cameron had Solo sit back and breathe deeply. She spoke softly to him and gradually he
seemed to drift off to sleep, but remained sitting up. She asked him a few simple questions and he
responded to each with a clear "yes" or "no."
Cameron seemed satisfied and instructed him to "back out." She counted to three and Napoleon was
instantly awake. He looked to the others
inquisitively, wondering what had just happened.
"That was excellent, Napoleon. You did great." She said. "How do you feel?"
"Fine, Camy." He answered. "Fine."
"Ok, then don't worry about a thing, Napoleon." She
encouraged. "We're all here and I won't
let anything happen to you. I promise."
It was time.
Napoleon sat back on the couch and breathed deeply as Dr.
Weiss spoke to him. Within minutes she
signaled that Solo was under and began her directions to him.
"Napoleon, I want you to go all the way back to your hotel
room the morning of the shooting in India." She said.
"Are you there?"
"Yes." He said, eyes
"Describe where you are and what you see." Cameron directed.
"I'm in the hotel room with Angelique. I am dressing and getting ready for the
"Good." She replied. "Now listen carefully. You will now have the same conversation with
Angelique as you did that morning. You
will tell me everything you said. You
will remember every word. Speak every
word out loud. Reach for your gun and
put it in your holster just as you did that morning. Do you understand?"
Napoleon was silent for a second or two before he began
speaking. A broad grin came across his
face even as his eyes remained closed.
"No, no, sweet. It's
time for business, I'm afraid." He said impishly. "Unfortunately play time is
over." Napoleon, still grinning, cocked
his head slightly as if listening.
inviting as that sounds, I'm afraid I'll have to decline. Duty calls, you know." Again there was a pause.
Napoleon reached for
his gun and started to put it in the shoulder harness. He stopped and held it out. "My goodness, it
seems that my clips have somehow disappeared.
Now, love, you wouldn't know anything about that would you?"
He held out his hand
waiting to receive the stolen ammunition.
"Thank you." he said gallantly as he "put" the extra clips in his
pocket. Napoleon shrugged his
shoulders as if putting on a jacket. He tugged at each of the "sleeves" of the
jacket, straightening it.
He lifted his chin
and held it in the air remaining silent for a moment. His hand then patted an imaginary tie. "Well
now, this is absolutely perfect. This is
almost as good a knot as my mother used to do."
Again Solo smiled heartily and chuckled.
Napoleon then leaned forward, and whispered in Angelique's
ear. "Now sweetheart, I want you to do a small favor for me. After all we've meant to each other, that's
not much to ask, is it?" He turned his
head slightly to the left and was silent.
"I want you to call in sick to work today. You see, I'm giving a little party over at
your office very soon now, and I wouldn't want you to get caught up in any
unpleasantness." He whispered smoothly.
Again there was a long break as Napoleon "listened" to Angelique.
"Hmmmmmmmm, I see." Napoleon continued. "Well I have a
little saying of my own. "Those who think to run away, live to play another
day" n'est ce pas?"
Napoleon turned his head as if watching her walk to his
right. He spoke again. "Yes, well, be
that as it may, I've arranged some transportation for you downstairs. The driver will take you to a lovely little
café about 5 miles into town where you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, my
treat of course, and then you may spend the day at your leisure." Napoleon nodded his head as he listened.
"Wonderful. I knew you'd see the wisdom of my ways." He said affectionately. "Until next time,
then, au revoir, darling." Napoleon was then silent.
Dr. Weiss nodded as she listened and then gave Solo
additional instructions. "All right,
Napoleon. I want you to go to the
warehouse now. You go into the warehouse
and the shooting starts. I want you to
take out your gun and fire just as you did that day. Tell me where you are; tell me who you are
shooting at. Tell me everything that
No response. Cameron
looked over to Elizabeth who pointed her thumb up indicating Napoleon's rising
heart rate. Illya sat forward in his
chair, transfixed at what was happening.
"Napoleon, do you hear me?"
Dr. Weiss said.
"Yes." He said haltingly.
"You will tell me everything. Do you understand?" she repeated.
"Yes." Solo took his
weapon out of the harness and pointed it straight in front of him. It shook terribly in his hand. He held it out and the gun clicked twice. He looked up and to his right.
Cameron verified what the UNCLE report had said. "There are
3 of your agents to your right on the second floor?" No response.
pressed. "Where do you fire next?" Solo
again straightened his gun in front of him and fired once. His breathing became sporadic gulps of air
and tears started down his face. Dr.
Weiss looked at a worried Dr. Ray who shook her head, signaling Cameron to
Dr. Weiss ignored Elizabeth
and continued on. "Now someone else comes in, Napoleon? What does he do? Tell me what he does?"
Napoleon gasped out. "He fires.........he
fires at........ he..........."
Before Cameron could get another question out, Napoleon
turned his gun sharply to the left and fired upward three times.
"All right, Napoleon.
The shooting is over. The
shooting is over. What is happening
now? The shooting is over." Cameron urged Solo on.
Napoleon's face was contorted in pain and tears continued to
stream down his face. "No......I
can't.....please......." He begged.
Cameron forced him to stay in the warehouse. "What are you
doing now? Tell it, Napoleon. Tell it right now."
interrupted. "Cameron, please, enough."
Dr. Weiss shook her head in refusal.
"I.........I.........I send two men........."
"Where do you send them?" Cameron bellowed.
"Where the three Thrush men were killed?" Cameron offered.
"Yes." Napoleon's upper body shook.
"Where do you send the last agent, Napoleon? Where does he go?" Weiss pushed him
Napoleon hesitantly pointed up and to his left.
"He goes to where the other Thrush man was? The one on the left? Is that it?"
Solo nodded, his grief inconsolable. He started speaking rapidly perhaps hoping he
could escape the nightmare in front of him, if he only told it fast enough.
me....he... ..........I look and he calls.....I climb the railing....... .....up to.........up
where......God, the car.....I can't see.....he's there.. ..... he's dead..........you should be gone.....I...........I
didn't know.........God, I didn't know......."
Solo screamed until he had nothing left. His head hung down. He was utterly spent and
wasted. Cameron held her breath and
"It's Angelique. I
"Jesus Christ!" Cameron said incredulously. She sat back in her chair momentarily,
stunned at the development.
"Napoleon...back out. You hear
me? Back out. One....two.....three."
Napoleon opened his eyes slowly and raised his head. He looked at Cameron and shook his head, hoping
beyond hope he was wrong. He looked at
Cameron asking the question with his eyes. Was it true?
She looked at him sadly and nodded. Within seconds the color drained from his
face. He ripped the wires from his body
and ran towards the bathroom vomiting violently. Cameron went to him as he sat back on the
bathroom floor, hands covering his face.
She knelt down to him and reached out her arms with compassion.
Napoleon fell forward into her, racked with sobs. His face was buried in her shoulder as she
enveloped him. She leaned her cheek
against his head and closed her eyes, content to be there for him as long as he
needed. His cries were unending.
She was there for all of them.
Cameron Weiss stepped into Solo's apartment two days later
with several bags of groceries in hand.
She saw Napoleon was finally awake and sitting in a comfortable chair out
on the balcony, feet up on the railing, enjoying the sunshine. His head was tipped back, eyes closed, and an
easy breeze blew his hair gently. She checked
her watch and figured Napoleon had slept almost 14 hours. She had checked on him both nights and saw a
relaxed and peaceful expression on the sleeping agent's face. Something she hadn't seen at all over the
past two weeks.
They had spent the last couple days in quiet conversation
about revelations from the hypnotherapy session. As his strength improved, Napoleon seemed to
enjoy long walks outdoors, sometimes talking about the mission in India,
sometimes talking about the most inconsequential of things. Cameron thought she was watching someone come
back to life before her very eyes. She
dropped the groceries on the kitchen counter and opened the sliding doors to
join her friend out on the balcony.
"Want some company?" she asked Napoleon.
"With you, always." He replied. God, he was ever the charmer!
"I picked up my plane ticket this morning. I'll be heading back in two days." She
Napoleon opened his eyes and sat up. "Back to the ivory
tower, I presume?"
Cameron smiled. "That
and teaching, meetings with woeful graduate students, reports, conferences, and
publishing research. Christ, it will
take me six months to write up this case!
You're going to make me a very famous neuroscientist, Napoleon Solo.
"I aim to please." Napoleon grinned.
She looked at him with curiosity. "What about you, Napoleon?"
"Well that's the million dollar question now, isn't it
Camy?" he answered.
They were interrupted by Illya popping his head out the
sliding doors. He'd returned to work two
days ago and while not officially assigned on any missions, he made himself
busy in the lab during the day. He was,
of course, thrilled to see Napoleon recover. He fervently hoped Napoleon would
return to UNCLE as his partner but vowed not to press his friend or try to
influence his decision. Patience.
"Where's lunch?" Kuryakin grumbled.
"Hello to you too, Illya". Solo deadpanned.
Cameron giggled and told Illya to help himself to the food
she brought in. Never one to linger for
socializing, Illya disappeared into the kitchen.
Napoleon mulled over his thoughts and spoke again of
Angelique. "You know it's funny, she was
the enemy.....but not the enemy. We had
glorious times together. And even though
we were on different sides, we always looked out for each other....it was like an
unspoken agreement existed....like......there was.........." He
Cameron looked out over the city. "I think the word you're looking for is
trust, Napoleon. Did you love her?" she
"No..... but I did care about her." He said truthfully. "And it occurred to me that she held up her
end of our funny little agreement until the very end."
"How so?" Cameron asked.
"She could have....and probably should have... taken me out with
her first shot. From her position, I was
completely exposed. I never would have
seen it coming." He said solemnly.
"Don't ever forget that you held up your part of the bargain
too, Napoleon." Cameron said. "You
tipped her off to the raid and arranged for her safety as well."
"Yes." He murmured. "Trust is a rare thing in this business,
"I can't even imagine." She said honestly. "We all have to have it somewhere, though. Even spies."
There was silence between them.
Napoleon reached out his hand and grabbed Cameron's,
smiling. "I'm lucky to have it in the
most important place of all, Camy." She
raised her eyebrows to him, questioning.
Napoleon Solo nodded his head towards the inside of the
apartment. As Cameron looked in, she
saw the venerable Russian wolfing down a sandwich at the dining room
table. She watched him with a
smile. Napoleon was right. Illya was his partner, friend, and most
importantly, family. She couldn't
imagine one without the other.
Napoleon seemed to be reading her mind. "Now where else
would you find someone whose idea of great vacation is to hang around a man
having a nervous breakdown!!?" He laughed.
The two of them walked into the dining room to join
Illya. Kuryakin sat relaxed with his
suit jacket off, tie loosened and gun and communicator resting in the middle of
the table. Napoleon and Cameron stood
with their arms around each other, grinning and watched the Russian pack the
Illya stopped mid-bite and looked up at them
sheepishly. "Whummph?" he asked with a
mouthful of food.
Dr. Cameron Weiss laughed out loud and knew she would
remember this moment the rest of her life.
She had never felt more important, or more proud of the work she
did. She felt immensely grateful to know
these two men...these brothers.... for whom she felt a special kind of love. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of
Illya's communicator suddenly beeping on the table. Without thinking, Napoleon grabbed it and
"Open Channel D."
Illya and Cameron smiled and nodded to each other,
acknowledging the importance of Solo's response. They had their answer.
Napoleon Solo was home.