San Francisco, CA
Thrush Training Center
Books slammed and notebooks rustled as Thrush Trainee Class 443 wrapped up for the week. It had been a long week of fairly dry material and four young recruits were restless. A stern, somewhat pudgy instructor stood before them and they'd had quite enough of him as well. When would they see some action, for God's sake? How was all of this tedious class work relevant to their future careers as Thrush's best? As if reading their minds, the head trainer addressed the group before dismissing them for the week.
"This brings us to the conclusion of Interrogation Techniques and Use of Pharmaceuticals." He droned. "Next week you will be flying to Vancouver for "SA" training. I will not be your instructor for this module. Your instructor will meet you at the airport and you'll be briefed on specific objectives. For this module, you will have use of any Thrush weaponry and espionage devices that you choose."
The dour instructor continued. "Make no mistake about it. You will be expected to succeed with your mission. Failure by any one of you will result in termination....of your employment, of course....... here at Thrush. Good day, class."
The recruits exchanged knowing glances and the energy in the room rose considerably as the class realized this would be their first chance to prove their mettle. They were ready to take on the world and each was certain they alone had the skills that would raise them to greatness, recognition, and power within the organization. Such was the arrogance of Thrush.
Class 443 was recruited as a "specialty class" of Thrush operatives. Many of the upper echelon felt that the organization was losing ground to the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement and that a "higher class" of agents might reverse the trend of unsuccessful and somewhat embarrassing failures in recent years. This class had been recruited not for their muscle, obedience, or malleability. These operatives were intelligent, creative, and independent yet still possessed deadly ruthlessness and the required lack of moral compass so typical of Thrush.
This, then, was the hope for Class 443. Success would bring them prestige, control, influence, and of course, the promise of an extremely comfortable, affluent lifestyle. These were the primary goals of each trainee.
Vancouver would tell the tale.
New York City
Illya Kuryakin gathered several intelligence folders together and prepared to depart Alexander Waverly's New York office. He'd been briefed on a relatively simple prisoner exchange and was scheduled to depart for Sweden in three hours. He rose from his customary seat and addressed his superior.
"Will Mr. Solo be joining me, then?" he asked while heading for the door.
Waverly barely looked up. "Not this time. I believe Mr. Solo has taken several days off to conduct some sort of personal business. Most unusual, I'd say."
"Personal days?" Kuryakin paused, incredulous. "The only one who has accrued more days off than me is Mr. Solo. He never takes time off. Are you sure?"
Waverly looked sharply at the agent and spoke curtly. "You have your assignment, Mr. Kuryakin. I suggest you tend to that and leave me to manage the schedule of Section II agents in this office."
"Yes, of course, sir." Kuryakin quickly answered, embarrassed by the rebuke. He exited the room and paused in Lisa Roger's outer office as the sleek, automatic doors closed sharply behind him. Something wasn't quite right.
"Miss Rogers," he started carefully, "What can you tell me about Mr. Solo's request for personal time off?"
Lisa grinned as the Russian agent hitched himself on the corner of her desk, smiling devilishly.
"Why Mr. Kuryakin, you'd know better than I." She replied sweetly, batting her eyes.
"Yes, well, this time Napoleon and I did not have time to discuss the matter." Illya said innocently. "Perhaps you could enlighten me? Of course, I only ask for security reasons, you see."
"Security reasons, Mr. Kuryakin?" Miss Rogers queried playfully.
"Indeed. You see, Mr. Solo has a rather unfortunate habit of getting into...."
"......and out of trouble all on his own." Lisa stopped the Russian short.
"Yes, of course. But if something should come up," Kuryakin argued. "It would be most helpful if I knew the nature of his plans."
Lisa Rogers laughed and reached for a folder behind her. "Relax, Illya...I'll give you the scoop. I just wanted to make you work for it!" She teased. "Let's see....Mr. Solo is off today through Sunday. He flew out last night to Vancouver and is expected back at work here on Monday morning, bright and early."
"Is he tethered?" Kuryakin asked wanting to know if Solo's movements were traceable.
Lisa Rogers checked the file again. "Hmmmmmm...that's odd. It seems that Mr. Solo was issued just the "agent activated" homing device before he left.
"And Mr. Waverly approved that?" Illya demanded.
UNCLE's CEA was too much of a target and far too valuable to leave headquarters without the standard homing device which allowed support staff to constantly monitor his movements. Illya couldn't remember the last time his partner left the building without one.
Miss Rogers thumbed through the file and spun it around for Illya to view. "There's his signature, Illya. I'm sure it will be fine...Napoleon is on personal time, after all."
"Yes, he is, isn't he?" Kuryakin was puzzled. "And Vancouver...correct me if I'm wrong, Miss Rogers, but didn't Napoleon take a similar trip sometime last year?"
Lisa again studied Solo's personnel file and sat up attentively in her chair. "Well, now...isn't that interesting?" she said, not looking up.
"Napoleon took the exact same trip last year, for the exact number of days....and...believe it or not..."she said, looking at her calendar for the year, "on the exact same weekend...third weekend in April!!"
Illya Kuryakin drummed his fingers on the desk and took in the information. He looked off into space and tried to make sense of it all. This was not at all like Napoleon and it concerned him. The two were closer than brothers and confided in each other about everything.
"What are you up to, Napoleon?" he wondered out loud.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Rising up from the heart of downtown, the stately Fairmont is one of Canada's most iconic hotels. Built in 1939 in grand Italian revival style, the Fairmont's elegant architecture is the absolute symbol of sophistication and indulgence.
On this particular Friday morning, Angelique LaChen lingered in the spacious dining room sipping French roast coffee deciding whether one more trip to the breakfast buffet was warranted. As a Thrush senior instructor, she'd picked the Fairmont for fieldwork in "seductive arts," or "SA" as the hotel staff was well known for their service, hospitality, and above all, discretion. Although she was pleased with the work her recruits had already put in, she knew that it was meaningless unless they were able to achieve their mission objectives on their upcoming "practicum."
Checking her watch, she sighed and headed to the elegantly furnished suite where she would brief recruits on their upcoming assignment. She admired the view through the arched windows of the grand ballroom where nearby Stanley Park and the historic opera house sparkled outside in the morning sunlight.
As Angelique entered the room, four stunning young women rose to their feet smoothing their hair and arranging their clothing for the Thrush vixen's approval. She walked down the line looking them up and down and offering comments when necessary.
"Too much makeup, Tia." She quipped. "You must go for a much more understated look. Leave something to the imagination, yes?"
"Of course, Angelique." The girl replied. "I'll fix it immediately."
The Thrush woman stopped in front of the next recruit and clucked her disapproval.
"Really now, Ceri, I could smell your perfume before I entered the room. Wash it off immediately and start again. Think subtlety. Subtlety."
Blushing, the woman briskly moved into the next room to make the ordered correction.
Once everyone was approved, Angelique briefed the hopeful agents on their objective for the next two days.
"Ladies, your assignment is a most interesting and challenging one. For the next two days, we are operating under Double Code A with the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement." She began.
Looking confused, one of the recruits leaned over towards one of the other girls to inquire about the unfamiliar code.
Angelique spoke over her. "For those of you who are not aware of it, Code Double A is an "Amnesty Agreement,"....and this one is good through Sunday at midnight. While you will be interacting with a known UNCLE agent, you are not to injure or terminate the life of this agent. In turn, you are protected from the same. This is a "hands on" training exercise. Let's keep it in perspective."
Angelique continued. "Your target is one Napoleon Solo, probably UNCLE's finest. He is intelligent, handsome, charming, smooth, and an expert himself in every aspect of seductive arts. He will visit each of your individual suites over the next two days and you will have 4 hours to complete your assignment. Your goal is to either temporarily incapacitate Mr. Solo, as if for capture, or to woo some piece of relevant intelligence from him during your private time together."
"I've prepared dossiers on Mr. Solo so that you may become familiar with him." She said as she handed out folders to each woman. "These include his passions, preferences, and possible vulnerabilities. I've personally prepared this information from my own experience. I'd encourage you to study it carefully. My research is quite thorough."
A pleasant murmur spread through the room as they viewed several photographs of UNCLE's CEA.
"Mmmmmmmmmmm." Annika purred, smiling deliciously. "I'm going to enjoy this assignment."
"He's gorgeous." Agreed Elise. "I believe I'll try a rear-end approach!"
Angelique smirked. "Believe me ladies, that's hardly his best feature!"
Turning serious again, she instructed the Thrush trainees.
"Meet with me in my suite after your assignment for a debriefing. Good luck to each of you." Angelique instructed.
Angelique opened the door to her suite and watched Ceri swagger into the room. Ceri held a delicate fluted glass still half full of champagne and settled into a lavish easy chair next to the fireplace in Angelique's parlor.
"I trust you were successful with Mr. Solo, then?" Angelique began.
"More than successful, I'd say." The young woman began. "It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, I must say. Mr. Solo is everything you said he is. While I enjoyed him immensely, I was definitely successful in my mission."
"How so?" Angelique inquired with suspicion. Ceri was way too sure of herself.
Ceri paused dramatically and delivered the information that she knew would catapult her permanently into Thrush's good graces.
"I have uncovered the secret location of UNCLE Headquarters in New York." She said gleefully.
Angelique stared at the woman, sighed, and poured herself a glass of wine. She sipped it several times before responding.
"Well?" Ceri asked. "Have you ever had anyone obtain information like that before?"
"Very impressive." Angelique deadpanned. "You've just managed to obtain a piece of information that we've had for over 6 years."
"What?" The stunned woman replied.
"You heard me. You just spent four hours with Napoleon Solo, let him bed you, and came away with absolutely nothing."
"Well I wouldn't exactly say that, ma'am." Ceri looked down, smiling privately.
Angelique snorted. "You've failed miserably."
"But......I.......," Ceri started.
"Dismissed." Angelique abruptly waved her away.
Much later that evening, another soft knock came on the door. Angelique called Elise in and anxiously awaited her report. So what if the first recruit had failed? There were three more excellent opportunities for success ahead of them. She smiled slightly at Elise's appearance as she entered the room. The woman was completely undone. Her hair was disheveled and her dress extremely rumpled. Angelique motioned her over to a chair and waited for Elise to begin. She was met with silence.
"Well?" Angelique barked.
"I.....ah.....umm...." the dazed agent began.
"Pull yourself together you silly ninny!"
Elise reached for a pitcher of water and poured herself a glass. "We......I mean he....well.....he..."
Angelique rolled her eyes and rested her head in her hands. "Don't tell me....you have nothing for me?"
"No ma'am....ah.....I mean, yes ma'am." Elise sputtered.
"Out with it, young lady." She demanded.
The young Thrush agent reached into the top of her low-cut dress and pulled out a small roll of microfilm.
"Excellent, my dear, well done. Let's take a look at what you've pilfered away from our dear Mr. Solo." She smiled.
Angelique unrolled the microfilm and held it up to the light for examination. She made no comment as she pulled the film slowly through her hand. After several minutes, she laid the acquired microfilm carefully on the table.
"Is it useful to us, Angelique?" Elise asked earnestly.
"Elise, you've obtained something very unusual here. Unless I'm mistaken, you have acquired a marvelous piece of film from the 1963 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade." She said flatly.
"I don't understand....I....." the woman started. "He told me he couldn't resist me, Angelique. He was so warm, and.....well....he said I could have anything I wanted from him."
Elise tried to make sense of her romantic encounter with UNCLE's famed CEA. As her shoulders sank with disappointment, her superior addressed her one more time.
"This is an experience I trust you will always remember." Angelique lectured.
Despite herself, a broad smile grew across the woman's face and she sighed wistfully.
As room service departed, Napoleon Solo sighed deeply and stretched out his arms before folding them comfortably behind his head. He sank deeply into the delicious silk sheets and realized he was happily exhausted from the weekend's activities. The smell of wonderfully prepared omelets, fresh fruit, delicate beignets, and hot coffee floated past him. Could life be any better?
Angelique was preparing a plate for him and floated over to the bed, her slight, sheer negligee opening as she moved towards him. She draped herself across his bare chest and began feeding him strawberries, one by one.
"Really, Napoleon, must you have so thoroughly destroyed the confidence of my young students?" She teased.
"Angelique my sweet, you know I did no such thing. I was a complete gentleman with each and every one of them and I'm sure their training here will enable each of your beauties to perform quite admirably in the field." Solo replied drawing Angelique close and nuzzling her neck.
Angelique's eyes closed and she literally hummed from Napoleon's attention.
"Now Napoleon, darling, I simply must know. Now that we've finished the second year of this project, why, may I ask, are you participating in my little exercises?" she whispered into his ear.
Napoleon smiled sincerely as he removed Angelique's negligee and pulled her on top of him.
"Why, I consider it my duty, of course." He whispered as his hands moved seductively down her sides.
"Your duty, Napoleon?" Angelique managed to reply as her body once again responded to his skilled touches.
"Of course, as CEA it's my duty to keep apprised of all personnel in your evil little empire, Angelique." Solo said huskily, drawing Angelique into deep kisses.
Much later, Napoleon slept lightly as he lay on his stomach, the soft sheet drawn up only covering the lower half of his body. Angelique awoke him by stoking his back lightly and occasionally dipping her hands under the sheets to caress the agent's desirable backside.
"Napoleon, darling?" She spoke.
"There is the slight matter of the disappearance of two of my agents...." She began.
"Oh, that.......I see.....yes, well.....really Angelique, you might have encouraged a little more originality from Tia and Annika." Solo grinned.
"Well, where exactly are they, Napoleon? Thrush will be most unhappy with me if I've lost half the class." She purred stroking his silky hair.
"Oh, they're not lost, sweetheart. They are right in their rooms where every good little Thrushie should be." He chuckled.
"Handcuffed to the bed. She gave a gallant effort but her hands were much too....ah....should I say....busy....to utilize her 'cuffs." Solo informed.
Angelique laughed in spite of herself. "And Annika?"
Napoleon nodded in response. "Asleep in her room for another 2 or 3 hours I should think. I don't believe anyone has tried to slip something in my drink for years! Do you need to go fetch them?"
Angelique sighed and slipped under the covers with Napoleon. "Good heavens, no. Whatever they got themselves into, they deserve. They can wait. I don't want to waste a minute of our time together, Napoleon."
Solo looked at his watch with recognition that his flight was departing back to New York in less than two hours. He smiled and kissed Angelique once more as he climbed out of bed.
"By the way, Angelique..." He said. "Did they buy the whole "Code Double A" story again?"
"Hook, line, and sinker, Napoleon." She laughed. "Honestly, we might have to actually invent such a thing is our little soirees are to continue, don't you think?"
But now Napoleon Solo was buttoning a crisp, freshly pressed white shirt and reaching for his tie. He eased into a perfectly tailored, double breasted, navy jacket, winked at Angelique playfully, and headed for the door. He looked back and spoke only once.
"Same time next year?"