The Girls from U.N.C.L.E.: The Calendar Conspiracy Affair
His nose in the latest scientific journal, Illya Kuryakin
descended the steps to Del Floria's and passed through the curtained dressing
room into U.N.C.L.E.'s New York HQ reception
area. "Good morning, Illya," trilled the
warm tones of the latest lovely operative to staff the desk. Without lifting his eyes from the text, Illya
mumbled a technically polite "good morning, Rachel" in return, extending his
hand to receive his badge in his usual fashion.
To his surprise, Illya felt a hard tug on his lapel and an
equally hard tug on the back of his neck.
Before his finely-honed agent's skills could even kick in, his lower lip
was suctioned into a plundering mouth, which quickly delivered a sharp nip
followed by a soothing lick. Just as
quickly, the contact was broken save for a lingering pat on his chest as Rachel
secured his identification badge in place.
Illya leveled a bemused yet icy glare at the young
woman. "What was that for?" he
"Oh, Illya, I don't know!"
Rachel protested, blushing prettily.
"I just suddenly couldn't resist you for one more moment!"
"Yes, well... pray, do resist," the agent insisted, as he made
short work of entering the silently sliding door into U.N.C.L.E.'s
steely corridors, heading for the office he shared with his partner, Napoleon
Napoleon was seated at his desk, diligently avoiding writing
the report on the last mission he and Illya had shared, when a very disheveled Illya stumbled through the door, and
immediately disabled the automatic opening mechanism. His hair was mussed more than usual, his tie
was askew, and one shoulder of his suit jacket was half-way down his arm. He clutched a very crumpled magazine in one
"What happened to you, tovarishch? Thrush ambush you on the way in?" Napoleon's eyebrows had crawled toward his
forelock in his surprise at his partner's state.
"No!" Illya panted.
"Rachel at reception did, then Tammy and Susan cornered
me in the elevator. When I got past
them, Celeste from Translation practically chased me down the hall."
Just then there was a determined knocking at the door and a
plaintive feminine call. "Ill-y-a...
please, please let me in."
Celeste! I have work to do," growled the
Napoleon could have sworn Illya actually looked frightened,
an expression Solo had rarely seen on his partner's face even when in the hands
of the worst Thrush villains. His lips quirked into the patented Solo smile.
"What's so funny, Napoleon?" snarled Illya.
"You, old friend. You have some very beautiful women pursuing
you and yet you react as though this is a problem."
"Yes, well, it is
a problem when they cannot seem to control themselves and act with so little
"Illya, Illya, lighten up and enjoy the attention. You're making far too much of this, partner."
"Well, what do you make of it? It's hardly their usual behavior."
"Ah, but have you forgotten that the U.N.C.L.E. Christmas
party is just two weeks away? They're
probably just competing to see which one of them wins the honor of being your
date this year."
"You think that's all this is?" Illya asked skeptically, left eyebrow raised. "A little unbridled seasonal spirit?"
"No doubt, my friend. My advice is to choose your date and this
will all die down, once the word spreads."
"Perhaps you're right, Napoleon. I shall consider which of them to ask, and
request the privilege of being her escort by the end of the day. Hopefully then I will be left alone to do my
work in peace."
"Peace on earth, good will toward men," Napoleon intoned
with a grin.
"Indeed," replied Illya, with a distinct lack of either
peace or good will.
Rachel approached Napoleon circumspectly as he sat in the
commissary at noon, waiting for the arrival of his partner for lunch. She glanced about nervously as she perched on
the edge of the empty chair at his table.
"Any progress, Napoleon?"
The brunet turned his melt-'em-where-they-stand
smile on her. "Patience,
my sweet. Everything is going
according to plan."
"Are you sure? He's
stayed holed up in that office all morning, and won't let any of us near him."
"Ah, but he will be here any moment to join me for
lunch. He may be a little skittish of
you girls right now, but he's not going to go hungry over it." Napoleon glanced at the doorway. "In fact, there he is now. You'd better make yourself scarce." Rachel scooted away quickly and disappeared
into a group of female research agents as Illya made his way through the food
line and carried his tray to Napoleon's table.
The Russian sank wearily into his chair.
"Been working too hard, Illya? You seem pretty tired," Napoleon observed
with just a trace of humor in his voice.
"Yes, it's bad enough that as usual I am writing 'our' report for Mr. Waverly, but I've spent
an inordinate amount of time refusing admittance to one female after another. Where did you go? I could have used a little assistance." Illya's stomach wasn't the only thing
growling, Napoleon noted.
"Sorry about that. A
simple courier run, anybody could have done it, but the Old Man insisted it be
"It's a bit suspicious that every time a report has to be
written, Mr. Waverly 'insists' on you for something, Napoleon." Illya stabbed at the meat on his plate a bit
more forcefully than necessary.
"Ours is not to reason why..."
Illya sighed the sigh of the much put-upon. "Spare me, Napoleon. Right now I just want to -
"Illya!" "Illya!" "Illya!" Napoleon hid a smile as three distinct near
screams echoed off the commissary walls as
his partner's lunch was interrupted by three pairs of hands suddenly
insinuating themselves into his hair, onto his jacket, and - one particularly
bold hand - onto his thigh. Illya
rocketed out of his chair and backed away from the owners of those hands,
straight into the waiting arms of a clever lady who had positioned herself
directly in his line of retreat. Her
hands quickly began stroking Illya's chest from shoulders to waist, while the
three girls in front of Illya rapidly closed in for the kill. Napoleon watched, glued to his chair,
dumbfounded expression on his face, as his typically fearless partner blanched,
whirled about, and fled the commissary at full speed. His jacket he left in the hands of one of his
"Napoleon. Napoleon!" Napoleon looked around, seeing no one else in
the corridor. Then he noticed the
slightly open door of the men's room to his right. The harsh whisper had undoubtedly come from
there, the whisperer undoubtedly his still-panicked partner. Napoleon slipped through the doorway and into
the washroom. He was immediately grabbed
and slammed none too gently against the door.
"Whoa, whoa! What's gotten into you, Illya? You can't still be spooked by those antics in
"Antics, indeed, Napoleon!" his partner hissed. "We should be asking what's gotten into them!
This is not mere female dating
competition. This behavior is simply...
"Well, I admit they're a little over the top, Illya, but
isn't it every man's dream to have several beautiful women wild for him?" Napoleon drawled with a wink.
"I appreciate female admiration as much as the next man,
Napoleon, but surely you see that this is not normal behavior! Something else is going on. There must
"Well, it's certainly got you spooked, comrade. I mean, you're hiding in the washroom, for
"I tried going back to the office, but they were lying in
wait for me around every corner!" Illya
gripped the lapels of Napoleon's tailored Italian suit jacket fiercely. "You've got to find out what's going on,
distract them, and help me get out of here!"
Firmly, Napoleon removed Illya's hands from his jacket,
smoothing the fabric lovingly back into its former wrinkle-free state. "All right, I think you're over-reacting, but
I'll look into it. I do admit, it seems a little odd... I mean, I haven't made a date for
the Christmas party yet, and none of them have even approached me. That in itself is bizarre behavior, so maybe
you've got something."
Illya looked hopefully into Napoleon's face, blue eyes wide
with worry. "Maybe... maybe it is Thrush. Maybe they've somehow... infected the women
here. Some strange
aphrodisiac. But why are they
only drawn to me?"
Napoleon comforted Illya with a firm squeeze to his shoulder. "Stay right here until I come back,
Illya. I'll scout out the situation and
see what I can learn. And I'll find
someplace safe for you to hole up until we get to the bottom of this. I'll be back soon as I can. Stud."
With a wink and a leer, Napoleon was gone, and Illya collapsed against
the door with relief.
When Napoleon reached the office he and Illya shared, Rachel
was waiting for him. "Where is he,
Napoleon adopted a hurt expression. "So much for foreplay, my
dear." He placed a hand over his
heart. "You wound me, Rachel."
"Come on, Napoleon, you know we don't have much time. We only have the use of the suite until 4
this afternoon, and if we haven't gotten Illya in there by then, we never will. The calendar has to go to press this
"A good plan takes time, my sweet, time to nurture and grow
"Yeah, well, we would have had more time if Mr. October hadn't taken the better part of two
hours for his photoshoot, insisting we get him from
'my best angle'."
Napoleon had the good grace to look just slightly abashed
before delivering a comeback with his typical egotistical yet endearing
confidence. "Ah, but it will be proven
to be time well spent when you start raking in all that money from every woman
in this agency for this little project of yours."
"Napoleon, it's for charity!" Rachel scolded.
"Yes, 'tis the giving season, and every man in that calendar
is certainly giving 'the best part of himself' to warm
the hearts of U.N.C.L.E.'s female employees, isn't
Rachel smiled a sexy and sly little smile and slid closer to
Napoleon, wrapping her arms around his waist under his suit jacket. Returning the smile, Napoleon cupped her face
with his palms and tilted her head up to receive his kiss. Rachel let him continue for just a moment
before reluctantly breaking contact and backing away.
"No more distractions, Napoleon. You made a deal. Now go do what you have to do."
Wearing a disappointed grimace, Napoleon blew Rachel a kiss
and turned to leave the office. "Yes, milady. Your
wish is my command." Rachel rolled her
eyes as the door slid shut.
"Illya? Illya, are you still in here?" Napoleon looked around the apparently empty
"I'm in here," came a somewhat
With a sigh, Napoleon walked over to the stall and carefully
pushed open the unlocked door. Illya was
squatting, his feet on the toilet seat.
"Illya!" Solo pretended exasperation while fighting to
hide his amusement.
Narrowing his lips, Illya climbed down from his perch and
pushed Napoleon out of the stall. "What
did you learn?" he
"Well, it seems you were more right than you know. Thrush has indeed found a way to 'infect' our
female employees with a targeted 'love potion'."
"How? And why do they only want me?" Illya asked.
"I'm not sure just how, Illya, but you seem to be their
guinea pig. Somehow they have
impregnated your clothes with super-concentrated human pheromones. Every time you've passed a woman today -
since they dosed your clothes, anyway - you've been giving off waves of sexual
invitation that they've been powerless to resist. They can't help themselves."
"Well, that's a relief," Illya sighed.
"You're telling me," retorted Napoleon.
Illya shot him a perturbed glare, then shook his head at the
sheer ego of the man.
"I mean, it's a relief because all I have to do to stop this,
apparently, is to get out of these clothes.
But how do I get past every female in the place to leave
headquarters? And what do I do about all
the women on the street I shall encounter on my way home?"
"I've got it all worked out, partner. We sneak you down to one of the guest suites
in the basement, you strip, and change clothes."
"That could work. If we can just avoid any females between here and the suite."
"Well, then, let's go."
Napoleon stealthily opened the washroom door, looked both ways and
signaled the 'all clear' to Illya.
Quickly they made their way to the closest elevator and Napoleon pushed
the control for the basement. It seemed
Solo's luck was with them, as they made the trip down without a stop. Stepping out of the elevator, Napoleon
scouted out the hallway to the nearest guest suite, checking the door to be
sure it was unlocked. He waved Illya
over, and the Russian sprinted past him into the sanctuary of the room, tension
relaxing from his shoulders as the door closed behind them.
Napoleon turned to look at the room and whistled
softly. Illya followed his gaze and
looked confused. The room was hardly the
utilitarian quarters U.N.C.L.E. typically made available to visiting agents,
innocents in need of sanctuary, or its own employees requiring an occasional
overnight at headquarters. Instead it
was decked out in the colors of the season - vibrant deep reds, snowy whites,
and tasteful accents of gold and silver.
There was even a small Christmas tree against the far wall, unlighted
but elegantly decorated. The final
seasonal touch was a brilliantly white small plush coverlet draped diagonally
across the crimson bedspread.
Illya whistled in turn.
"Who do you suppose they have this made up for, Napoleon?"
"I suspect just some of us who will party too hard at
Christmas to safely go home, Illya. Though I didn't expect such... taste. Not on Waverly's budget."
Illya actually chuckled, the first unguarded reaction he had
shown all day. "Well, I shall be only
too happy to make use of it for as long as it takes to change these infernal
clothes." He pulled at his dress shirt
with distaste, then looked expectantly at his
partner. "Where is my change of clothes,
"Ah, I knew I forgot something!" Napoleon snapped his fingers. "No, no, it's not a big problem," he
mollified Illya as he hastened to reply.
"I just have to go get them from the locker room. You always keep a change in there, don't
you?" At Illya's nod, he continued. "The first step was getting you safely here;
it will take no time at all to accomplish step two and bring your clothes to
you." He started to open the door, then
shut it again and turned to Illya. "Give
me those clothes, partner."
"Why now?" Illya questioned.
"I'll just change once you're back."
"I wouldn't wait if I were you, Illya. What if those pheromones are powerful enough
to send a signal right through that door to any woman working down here? I could come back to find you thoroughly
debauched." Napoleon winked.
Illya snorted. "I should
be safe enough, Napoleon. I shall keep
the door locked."
Napoleon shook his head.
"From what I learned, I wouldn't chance it, partner. The effect seems to be getting worse, from
what I've seen. You might fend off a few
receptionists and translators, but I heard April is in the building this
afternoon. If she gets a whiff of this
stuff, I wouldn't bet on that door keeping her out! And don't forget she'll be carrying her
gun. Give your clothes to me now and I
can drop them in the incinerator on my way to the locker room." Napoleon stared earnestly at his perplexed
Illya tensely rubbed his thumbs against his fingertips as he
determined his best course of action. "All right. But
hurry, please. I would like my life to
get back to normal as quickly as possible."
Hastily, he began unbuttoning his shirt, then
remembered his tie was in the way. He
removed it, then the shirt in short order.
Next, he unbuckled his belt and drew it from the loops, dropping it onto
the bed. He unfastened and unzipped his
trousers and pushed them past his hips, then sat carefully on the edge of the
bed to remove his shoes before taking his trousers off the rest of the way. He held the discarded clothing out to
"Um, Illya... I think you'd better give me everything. Even the shoes." At Illya's questioning look, Napoleon
continued. "Who knows if this stuff was
put on your clothes right in your apartment, and they contaminated everything? Or if it could penetrate
through your outer clothing right into your underclothes? The only way to be sure you're rid of it all
is by a complete change, right down
to your shoes." Napoleon kept his gaze
level and intent, so that his friend would understand how serious he was.
Illya hesitated for a moment more, then
swiftly dragged off undershirt, boxers and socks. He shoved them at Napoleon, who somewhat
gingerly added them to the pile already in his arms. Napoleon nodded to his partner, "I'll be back
soon," then slid out the door, turning the lock as he went.
For a while, Illya paced the room, impatient for Solo's
return. He'd already been gone far
longer than expected, and Illya had a bad feeling that something had happened
to interfere with his partner's simple plan.
Suddenly, the intercom on the wall crackled into life.
"I've run into a slight delay. Mr. Waverly wants me to run a little
errand. It shouldn't take long, but I
couldn't find a way to get out of it.
Just sit tight and I'll be there as soon as I can."
Illya sighed. "Can't
you run my clothes down here first?"
"No can do, partner.
The Old Man wants this done yesterday.
But as I said, it really won't take long. I should be back within the hour."
"An hour? Napoleon, it's cold in here. What am I supposed to do for an hour?"
Napoleon hesitated, then suggested,
his smile evident in his voice, "Make good use of that bed, tovarishch. I'll see you soon. Solo out."
Then he was gone, and the crackle of static died abruptly.
"Napoleon, wait! Napoleon!" Silence was his only response. Illya glared up at the intercom, then let off some steam by hitting the wall with his
fist. Taking a few deep breathes, he
analyzed his situation. He was stranded,
naked, in the suite, and his partner, his rescuer, was unable to return for
approximately an hour. Illya had two
choices. He could attempt to make it
unobserved to the locker room himself, risking exposure - literally - to whomever
he encountered. Or he could take his
partner's advice and try to relax. Once
again, he sat on the side of the bed. He
tested the mattress with his hand, then bounced
lightly a few times. It was better
quality than what he had at home.
Practicality eventually won over bravado and desperation. He decided he might as well make the best of
Illya stretched out on the bed and pulled the warm coverlet
over him. In moments, he was asleep.
Illya awoke because he was too warm. Someone must have adjusted the heat, he
realized. Stretching like a cat, he
pushed the coverlet down to his waist and kicked it off his legs as well. He felt languid and heavy-eyed, not yet fully
awake. Generally, his professionally
engendered sense of self-preservation caused him to come awake in an instant,
but here, in the heart of U.N.C.L.E. HQ, his semi-conscious mind apparently
felt secure enough to allow him a gentler awakening. He yawned, then stretched his arms over his
head and raked his hair off his forehead.
Hearing a tiny click, he rolled toward the side of the bed nearer the
door and raised himself onto one elbow, the coverlet falling into a soft pile
at his groin.
PHOOSH!!! He was blinded by a dazzling flash of light,
spots swirling in front of his eyes.
Instinct kicked in and he leapt to his feet, nudity forgotten, ready to
do battle with the intruder.
PHOOSH!!! His eyes were assaulted once again by that
blinding light, so that his barely returning vision swam in and out of focus,
beyond his ability to control. But his
other senses still functioned. He heard
voices, at least two female and one male, from the hallway just outside the
door. Mostly blind, Illya began to
stumble in their direction. Then he
stopped, bewildered. The female voices
he heard were not speaking, but giggling! And the male voice - the distinctly familiar male
voice - was quietly urging, "Run.
Run!" Light footfalls echoed down
the hall as Illya verified his suspicions.
"Napoleon? Napoleon, if that's you, you know you are a dead
man, don't you? Napoleon!"
Illya, his vision now clearing, headed for the door again,
but his partner slammed it and somehow secured it from outside. Illya jerked and pounded on the door,
threatening Napoleon in a deadly quiet voice that shook the senior agent more
than all the yelling in the world. That
voice was promising a world of pain once Illya succeeded in getting his hands
"Now, Illya, it was only a little fun, and for a very good
cause. Our lovely U.N.C.L.E. ladies are
raising funds for an orphanage by selling special calendars. You'd want to help a cause like that,
wouldn't you, old buddy?" From the
punches vibrating against the door, Solo wasn't quite
so confident of his partner's charitable generosity as he wished he were. He grimaced and decided on a different
"Um, Illya... I'm just going to leave your clothes out here,
and, uh, leave. I'll see you later,
buddy." Then Illya heard the sound of
Solo's hasty retreat.
Panting in fury, Illya leaned against the door and made a
quiet promise to his partner. "Oh,
indeed, I will see you later, my friend.
You can run, Napoleon, but you cannot long evade me. I know where you live."
Illya Kuryakin strolled leisurely through the throngs of
celebrants at U.N.C.L.E.'s annual Christmas
party. Repeatedly, he was stopped by a
soft but insistent hand on his arm as another beautiful woman wished him a Merry
Christmas with a blush on her cheek.
Everywhere he walked, he felt eyes on him and
sensed whispered words just below his level of hearing. One group of women was gathered around a
large flip calendar, alternately gazing raptly at the photo of Mr. December and
shifting their eyes to follow the living version, sighing nearly in
unison. The temperature in that corner
of the room decidedly must be at least ten degrees warmer, judging by their
"Illya. Merry Christmas," Rachel greeted him. She looked lovely to Illya's eyes, but a
trifle sad, as well as just a little embarrassed. "Where's your date?"
"Ah, Celeste is in the powder room. She said she needed to make herself even more
gorgeous," Illya responded with a small quirk of his lips. "Shall I tell her you were looking for her?"
"Oh, no, no. I was looking for you, Illya. I, uh, wanted to thank you. We made a lot of money for the orphanage with
that calendar." Rachel hesitated, looking
down, then her head came up and her eyes positively danced with mischief. "And I know I should apologize, too. But I'm not sorry, Illya. No," she smiled. "I'm not sorry at all." Then she sighed. "The only thing I'm sorry about is being
Illya smiled in turn.
"That situation will soon be remedied.
I have it on good authority that your date will be out of hospital in
good time for New Year's."