"Hello ladies." His voice rang out over the conversation, causing them to part and reveal Mandy Stevenson. She was holding something, but she quickly turned it over and smiled broadly at the CEA.
"Oh, hello Napo... Um, Mr. Solo." Suspicious. Napoleon's spy radar turned on as he approached the desk and held out his hand.
"Miss Stevenson, may I ask what it is you ladies are whispering about?" Napoleon, being Napoleon, thought it might concern him based on their reaction to his presence. It wouldn't be the first time he'd come in on a session of his admirerers.
"Oh, well... It's nothing, really... nothing." Was she stammering? Mandy hoped not, it wouldn't do for Napoleon to find out...
"Here, let me take a look. You are on company time, after all, and I am ..." He looked at the photograph as he pulled it from Mandy's hand. Disappointment at the subject matter all but disappeared from his face as he gained control of his ego. Who the hell was this fellow?
"Who is this? And why do you have it?' He needed to sound more dispassionate, less ... hmph... less jealous. Napoleon wasn't used to being second in the affections of the ladies of the U.N.C.L.E.
"I mean, is he UNCLE or something else?" A save, albeit not a very good one.
Mandy spoke up, her voice timid in response to Napoleon's inquiry. Inquest is what she actually imagined.
"This is, um... Illya Kuryakin. He's the new agent from Longdon, the ..."
"The Soviet. Yes, I did get a briefing from Mr. Waverly, but his photograph didn't look like... like this." He wondered at the image of this young man. What was Waverly thinking bringing in a Soviet spy, and such a young one at that.
"Oh, well, you see...' Mandy looked at the other women, each of them still secretly admiring the young man in the photo. He hadn't arrived yet, but when he did there would be a friendly reception indeed.
"This photo is not recent, taken while he was at Cambridge I believe. Rumor has it he was a spy for the KGB." She nodded as she spoke, a knowing look on her face.
"Ahh... rumor has it? Mr. Kuryakin was not a KGB spy, so let's squash that one right now. He has been in London working under Mr. Beldon for a few years...' In truth, Napoleon didn't have the entire history of the man, but it wouldn't do for Kuryakin to arrive to a preconceived resistence to his presence in New York.
"Let's not rely on rumors, ladies. Mr. Waverly has handpicked Mr. Kuryakin, and he will be a valuable asset to our team here in New York. Understood?" They all nodded as one, chirping again and apologizing. Napoleon reached out and took the photo, adding it to his file on the new man.
Time would tell if Illya Kuryakin was indeed going to be a valuable asset here in New York. He looked again at the photograph and wondered how.