"The Best Laid Plans of Napoleon Solo."
Illya walked into the office the he shared with his American partner who was looking rather forlorn.
“What is wrong my friend?”
“Oh it’s this damned weather!” Napoleon huffed.
Kuryakin placed a takeout cup of coffee on Solo’s desk, before setting down his own cup as he slowly lowered himself into his chair.
His typewriter had been set aside on the floor; there were no reports to write, no paperwork on which to catch up on and no experiments that needed attention in the UNCLE labs. No megalomaniacs threatened to destroy mankind or take over the world. There was only pure unadulterated down time.
“Why may I ask is the weather bothering you?”
Napoleon let out a long sigh. “I was supposed to go skiing with Flora and Fauna Merryweather this weekend but there’s no snow.”
“Ahh, the twins. Yes, your ideal date. Since when has the fact there is no snow stopped you from such a pleasurable weekend? Would you not just spend your time in the lodge with the ladies, occupying yourselves with more ahem...carnal pursuits?”
“Apparently Flora and Fauna are real nature buffs and without the snow and the accompanying fresh air, they’ve decided to cancel on me.”
“Poor suffering boy,” Illya feigned sympathy.” Is there no one else in your little black book who is available?”
“I already checked.”
“It has been an unseasonably warm winter, I will give you that,” Illya removed the lid from his cup and blew on the contents to cool it before he finally took a sip. “Could you not find a different outdoor activity to occupy the Merryweathers for the weekend?”
“They insisted on going skiing and I couldn’t exactly afford to jet off to Colorado or the Swiss Alps like they did.”
Illya shook his head. “How did they manage that? They do not pay that well in the secretarial pool.”
“They didn’t pay. The girls took off with some wealthy Wall Street type.”
“So much for loyalty. The legendary ladies man Solo, lost out to a ...stockbroker,” Illya laughed.
“Thanks for rubbing it in. Yeah, he’s an eyeglass wearing financial nerd,” Napoleon sighed again.
“Beg pardon but I wear glasses and am a bit of a nerd, though in the sciences.”
“Oh sorry tovarisch, no offence intended.”
Illya huffed. He looked to the unopened cup on Napoleon’s desk. “You had better drink that before it gets too cool.”
“Thanks.” Solo picked up the cup and after pulling off the white plastic lid he swallowed a mouthful.
He gasped, sputtering and coughing as he put the cup down before he spilled the contents.
“Are you all right” Kuryakin rose immediately, slapping his partner on the back. “Did you swallow it the wrong way?”
“No! Why didn’t you tell me it was hot chocolate and not coffee?”
“Does it really matter? I thought you liked hot chocolate.”
“Not, and I repeat, not when it’s 70 degrees outside! Who am I kidding, it’s just another reminder that I should have been on the slopes with the Merryweather twins, and afterwards we’d be cuddling up drinking hot chocolate together, mind you spiked with a little Amaretto.”
“How was I to know? I thought I would get some before Cookie did away with the hot chocolate. You do realize that Easter and Spring will be here before we know it. Just think of all the activities you will have available to you then my friend.”
Solo’s demeanor changed, and he now had a silly smile on his face as he rested his chin on his hand, leaning his elbow on his desk, obviously lost in thought.
“Napoleon? What is going on with you?” Illya was confused at his partner’s sudden change in disposition.
“Oh nothing, now I can’t wait until Spring because before you know it summer will be here with all those bikini clad girls on the beach. They’ll need help putting on that suntan lotion…”
“But of course.”Illya let one eyelid droop, rolling the other eye as he shook his head. He looked at his wristwatch, seeing it was just about noon.
“Lunch time, would you care to join me?”
“Only if we can go eat in the park and do some girl watching,” Napoleon grinned.
This time Kuryakin rolled both his eyes…
Lisa Rogers’ voice came over the public address system.
“Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin please report to Mr. Waverly immediately.Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin please report to Mr. Waverly immediately.”
Illya picked up the house phone and replied, “On our way.” Together they dashed out the door and arrived in the conference room in record time.
“Welcome gentlemen, and thank you for being so...prompt.” Waverly nodded. He handed them each a briefing file as they sat down at the circular table.
“I’m sending you to investigate a series of unusual accidents occurring in the area of a resort hotel on Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland. They are similar to incidents that occurred three years earlier in the Andes mountains, which involved an inexplicable radioactive mist and odd cloud formations believed by locals to be inhabited. However, no one ever saw what it was or if there was indeed anything there. Still they were adamant about their beliefs.’
He pointed out a photography of the mountain in question, showing the mist.
“Now, in Switzerland things have changed, as someone is killing off mountain climbers, coinciding with the arrival of this same mist. The first victim was described as having been decapitated by his belaying rope when it tangled around his neck. It was pointed out that the rope was secured about his waist and could not have gotten around his neck in the first place. * It’s up to you to solve this mystery, but I caution you to keep on your toes with this one. Any questions?”
“We will exercise the utmost caution sir,” Napoleon answered
Waverly harrumphed as he bit down on the mouthpiece of his pipe.
“Your flight leaves in two hours, report to me as soon as you arrive at the hotel. You’ve been booked to stay there as well...the usual accommodations, room sharing and such. I’m afraid accounting is up to their old money saving tricks again. Good hunting gentlemen. Dismissed.”
They exited the conference room and walking down the grey corridor side by side. Illya as usual was continuing to read his copy of the briefing folder. Napoleon finally broke the silence..
“Just when I thought the day was improving,” he sighed.
“What is wrong now? We have an assignment, so no more boredom.” Kuryakin finally closed his briefing folder and tucked it under his arm.
“Illya, the hotel on Mount Trollenberg, that’s where Flora and Fauna went.”
*ref to “The Trollenberg Terror.”- made into a 'B' movie called "The Crawling Eye."