hypatia_66 (hypatia_66) wrote in section7mfu,

Anything's possible (Great Episode challenge. Jingle bells affair. Prompt 2)

Great Episode challenge 22-28 December 2017 (Jingle Bells Affair, prompt 2)

Anything’s possible
It was through no particularly effective work on the part of his UNCLE bodyguards, that the Chairman escaped the continued attempts on his life. Rather it was through the concern aroused in him for a small sick boy, and the high moral tone of an attractive young woman. She appealed to his chivalrous nature, and though he thought she was too sweet and soft for an army officer, the assumption could only be that this was the American army style – soft, capitalist, Western – which would perfectly accommodate the new peaceful coexistence he wanted to promote.

The experience of dressing up as Santa Claus was an unexpected bonus. He decided it was an essentially Soviet activity, and demonstrated that perhaps communism had arrived in the West – the spreading of wealth in the form of gifts to children – and his flamboyant soul revelled in the colourful accoutrements of the role.

What he hadn’t taken into account was his aide, Maxim Radish’s reluctance to accept that there might be anything good about this most capitalist of countries.


judas109 (2).jpg
Mr Waverly looked at his young Soviet protegé from under bristling brows, trying to interpret his expression. Not many men were gifted that way, and though Mr Waverly was normally very acute in this respect, this time Kuryakin was more opaque than usual.

“I believe even Lenin was in favour of peaceful cohabitation, and, of course, since the Cuban Missile Crisis, the idea of peaceful coexistence has grown. On both sides.”

“Yes, sir.”

Illya had some knowledge of that, as Mr Waverly well knew.

“Why me, sir? There are plenty of other agents who could act as bodyguard.”

“Mr Kuryakin, you’re Russian…”


Waverly continued, slightly irritated, “You’re a linguist, you speak the languages of some of the Balkan satellite states, you’re a spy, you can listen. You can determine how serious this Chairman is in his attempt to woo the United States with what might be just benign-sounding platitudes. He has the ear of the Kremlin.”

“Need he know who I am?”

“Your name, and Mr Solo’s will be given to his aides, naturally.”


“Why is this a problem? Everyone in your country knows you’re working here.”

He watched Kuryakin shake his head, observing his overlong hair flying as he did so.

“You’d better get a haircut before you meet Chairman Koz.”

This time, there was no difficulty in interpreting the expression on his face. “I’m serious, Mr Kuryakin. You will attract less notice if you look a little less like a beatnik.”

Illya left and even with his head down his hair was over his collar, as his chief sardonically observed. He swept out of Del Floria’s shop, scarcely acknowledging the salute of the man on the steam press, and marched off to the barber round the corner.

Napoleon’s grapevine had alerted him to Illya’s likely state of mind, and, curious to find out what had happened to upset him, he waited for him instead of going for lunch.

It was getting quite late and he was about to give up when Illya came in.

“Hi, I think we’ll be in time for lunch. Coming?”

Illya nodded, and in silence, they walked together along the corridors to the elevator, and went down to the canteen. Used to this treatment, Napoleon played along, content to wait. It didn’t pay to dig into Illya’s mental state. He was scarcely visible for the clouds of resentment, and that was reason enough to keep things cool. Some food would help.

Illya put his knife and fork down, and looked up at his partner, who smiled at him. “Better?” he said.

“Better than what?”

“Than you were just now.”


“So, what’s wrong? I see you’ve had a haircut – are you afraid you might have lost some of your strength?”


“Who was your Delilah?”

Illya sighed. Napoleon often tried to catch him out with biblical references. “Mr Waverly, of course,” he said, and Napoleon laughed out loud.

“You don’t usually pay attention to his comments about your hair – anyway, it looks very nice. Just above the collar, he’ll like that.”

“I liked it as it was.”

“So, what’s wrong, apart from that?”

“Chairman Koz’s visit.”

“Ahh. Now I see.”

“You do?”

“Of course I do. I think you’re afraid he’s put you into the invidious position of spying on your own countrymen – or party apparatchiks, at least – people who could get you transferred back to the Soviet Union. Isn’t that it?”

“That’s partly it.”

“Koz won’t – he can’t. There’s no need for you to worry.”

He can’t, but his reports go to the top. And they can.”

“Delilah won’t let you go – he’s still got power – so you can relax.” Then he thought back. “You said ‘partly’ – what did you mean?”

Illya ran his hands through his depleted locks. “I’m not sure yet.”

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade – and the usual stop-start of traffic flow. Illya, driving the party from the airport, restrained his impatience, and as one of his passengers was expressing Illya’s own opinion quite well he had no need to add anything. In Mr Radish’s English it was merely in the form of answering the Chairman’s questions, but in his own language it was a little more colourful and Illya preferred not to let on that he understood.

Napoleon, in consideration of his partner’s decision to conceal his identity and nationality as long as possible, responded politely and patiently to the questions, and made no response to the muttered invective, which passed over his head. Only once was there a splutter from beside him, which Illya turned into a sneeze.

But it was at the award ceremony that the Chairman’s exuberant kisses on their cheeks, rather close to their lips, gave Illya away to Maxim Radish. Unsurprised and undismayed, unlike Napoleon, his response clearly identified him as a popútchik, a fellow traveller.

Radish had earlier noted the young man’s name, and observed his demeanour at the ceremony. He now recognised him and, anxious to undermine the Chairman’s unconscionable views on détente, began to knit him into the pattern he was weaving. The young Russian agent’s apparently peaceful coexistence with this provocatively and excessively consumerist society must mean that he had been corrupted – look at his hair! Ridiculously long! The man had become decadent!

He, Maxim Radish, would be able to turn things to his own advantage by destroying both UNCLE agents as well as the Chairman. It should improve his chances of getting to Moscow. The fact was, the Soviet Union, the largest and most powerful nation in the world (in his opinion), offered very little for a man of ambition, stuck as he was in a minor role in a small satellite state on its borders. A post in the KGB would suit him just fine.

It was Illya who suggested they should watch Radish, and Napoleon, seeing nothing more sinister than merely a prejudiced attitude, asked,

“Illya, what are you not telling me?”

“About what?”

“I recognised his name from a long way back.”

“You know him?”

“I saw him once during the war.”

“What, when you were a child? And you recognise him now?”

“I wasn’t sure till he spoke, but I know him. Furthermore, I know that he is completely uninterested in coexistence of any kind – let alone peaceful. He’s always been a double-crosser. He would betray his grandmother to get into power – it would cost him nothing to betray his party chairman.”

“Did he recognise you?”

“Just my name, I think. I’ve changed more than he has in the last 25 years.”

“I should hope you have. So, what happened?”

“Nothing that need concern us here. Not now. It was a long time ago. It’s over.”

It was impossible to get Illya to open up about himself – his staccato delivery said as much. Even this was a step beyond his usual reticence about his past.

“But he’s dangerous?”


Napoleon waited, but there was nothing more.

Their mutual mistrust provided the opportunity for Radish to succeed in the first stages of his plan. Having recognised Illya’s name, and noted the veiled recognition in Illya’s eyes, he expected the two UNCLE agents to follow him and because they were careless, his own agents were able to emerge from concealment to surround and take them prisoner.

“I know you, young man, don’t I?” he said to Illya as his men tied them up.

“You do not.”

“I remember a child with white blond hair, with that name, in Kiev – that was you, wasn’t it?”

Illya was silent.

“I thought so. Sometime, you must tell me how you got away.”

Napoleon, listening, thought he’d quite like to know too, but Illya ignored Radish’s request. He was unlikely to be forthcoming, even to his friend.

Radish hadn’t planned on keeping them in the rather surreal atmosphere of a turkey shed; it just happened to be convenient. But had he known how curious and hungry the turkeys were, he wouldn’t have teased Kuryakin by throwing grain so liberally over him. It had been a mistake to gloat over them so early, and also to send most of his men away. Neither he nor his overweight assistant were any match for two young and fit UNCLE agents, and, with their escape, his knitting pattern began to further unravel.

Their arrival at the scene of another failed assassination attempt was fortuitous, to say the least, but belated or not at least they appeared. Chairman Koz was unimpressed, but thawed slightly when the extent of his aide’s treachery became clear.

He took Illya aside later. “My friend,” he said, “Radish concealed your name from me. You are the representative of the Motherland here, am I right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“A boy like you! You like it here?”

“Yes, sir. And I’m not a boy – I’m 33.”

“Less than half my age - that is a boy to me,” he said, paternally patting him on the shoulder. “Would you be interested in helping me with my plans for peaceful coexistence?”

Illya was silent for a moment. “In what way?” he said cautiously.

Koz beamed. “You have the Yelena Prutkin award for peaceful coexistence, Mr Kuryakin. You must wear it and promote it everywhere you go.”

“I can try, of course, but in my line of work it might not always work – or be appropriate.”

“My dear Mr Kuryakin – in your line of work, it would always be appropriate!”

“Not with some of our enemies, sir.”

“Why not?”

“Because there’s always someone who wants to take control, subjugate others, force them into slavery, destroy the social order. There’s no way of existing peacefully with people like that.”

“Oh, of course – them.” He waved his hand dismissively. “But you can help our two nations to exist peacefully together, yes?”

Illya bowed slightly. Anything was possible.

Tags: episode_challenge, gen, illya, napoleon, waverly
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