Into The Blue - Short Affair
Prompts: Correction, Silver
Word Count: 1140
I admit it, I went over. I hope you think it's worth it ;)
“I beg your pardon.” The icy blue stare did not beg pardon, rather it demanded an explanation.
“I, umm… well, you see…” The poor young woman was attempting to pacify a very unsympathetic passenger in the first class section of this flight. He was good looking, but she dared not think he thought the same of her. He appeared to be a very hard man to please, and she had no wish to find herself answering to him or any complaints he might make regarding her ability to do her job.
“That is not a sufficient explanation, certainly not a correction. I asked for a martini, this is …’ He handed the glass back to her, his fingertips holding the stem as though it were contaminated.
“I do not profess to know what this is, exactly. Apparently you are not trained as a proper bartender, it will be noted in my report to the airline.” She practically sucked in a breath of air, much to her humiliation, as he rolled his eyes in dismay or disgust.
“It is not your fault, fraulein. The company for which you work has not done its job, I will also make note of that.” She expelled the air she was holding, her heart still beating so fast she sincerely thought she might faint. What on earth had made her think being a stewardess would be a lark?
“Thank you Herr Von Kalweit, I appreciate your, um… I appreciate that.” Marci Elrod took the glass and turned around as quickly as she could without falling off of her kitten heeled shoes. Some days it just didn’t pay to get out of bed.
Napoleon Solo was amused at his partner’s ability to terrorize the innocents of the world. How someone who was at times himself the face of innocence be so completely intimidating, still mystified the Chief Enforcement Agent of UNCLE Northwest.
“Illya, Herr Von Kalweit, was that completely necessary?” Illya smiled just enough to let his friend see that he had almost enjoyed the little scene with the stewardess. There were times when the act was a psychological outlet for the Russian agent; it allowed him to be someone else without actually giving in to the desire to not be himself. That was not something he wished to explain to a therapist, or to Napoleon for that matter.
“I have an image to display of a man who is used to having people bend to his will. If anyone is watching, and I believe that someone is undoubtedly on this flight observing me, he or she will report that Wilhelm Von Kalweit is as upleasant as has been reported.” With that, Kuryakin leaned his head back, closed his eyes and fell almost instantly asleep.
Or so it seemed.
Napoleon opened up the book he’d been reading, turning to the page where the mission file was printed. It was unlikely that this flight would have any additional drama, but a cast of characters, some of whom would be waiting for them when they landed, were all pictured inside of his book, and he intended to know them on sight.
Illya had assumed the identity of a dead man, although the best intelligence indicated a complete lack of knowledge concerning Von Kalweit’s death at the hands of Solo and Kuryakin. It hadn’t been their intention, but the man aimed a gun at Napoleon and Illya shot him. Before he died the scientist blurted out his formula for a compound that THRUSH intended to use for yet another attempt at world conquest. Von Kalweit, as he recognized his own life ebbing away, decided that his deadly discovery could not be trusted in the hands of the Hierarchy. It was a surprising and welcome turn of events, perhaps an indication of the man’s fear of the afterlife; there would be no more time for repentance or mending of one’s ways.
Illya managed to write down the formula and instructions, grasping easily the logic of Von Kalweit’s calculations and conclusions. In appearance it was like mercury, a very unusual compound that would kill millions if let lose on the planet. Napoleon was once again thankful for a partner who filled multiple roles, and could deal with this sort of situation with ease.
Now that UNCLE had control of the deadly compound’s formula, it was a matter of getting back to New York with it, and not divulging the details of the scientist’s death. It would be expedient if THRUSH believed him to still be alive in order to draw out the people who would have been tasked with producing and distributing the silver hued toxin.
On the ground and inside Kennedy’s expansive terminal, Illya and Napoleon were alert to the people around them. They expected a greeting committee of THRUSH personnel, and it would be necessary to go along with it in order to get into the satrapy where Von Kalweit was expected. In a stroke of bad luck and worse timing, and just as a member of the THRUSH entourage was realizing that he recognized Napoleon Solo, Marci Elrod walked into the space between them. Rather than simply withdraw, one of the THRUSHies fired a shot at Napoleon that should have hit Marci as it flew on its path. Instead, seeing what was happening and unwilling to lose an innocent bystander, Illya dove towards the woman, knocking her down as the bullet struck him in the back. Napoleon fired one shot as screams filled the air and people ran or ducked to get out of the line of fire.
There were UNCLE Section III agents in the crowd as well as airport police. All of them rushed in and successfully rounded up the THRUSH who attempted to scatter with the crowd. Napoleon was quickly at Illya’s side, glad to see where the bullet had hit as he explained to Marci what had just happened.
“He saved my life. I thought, I mean… he was so unpleasant… before.” She broke down and cried then, a victim of fear and relief, and adrenaline.
The THRUSH were rounded up and taken to jail. Napoleon, Illya and Marci were all taken back to UNCLE Headquarters where medical care was given, explanations made and apologies extended to the confused stewardess.
“I certainly wouldn’t have ever guessed any of this. You guys sure put on a good show.’ Marci was impressed with the two men, especially the brave blond who had saved her life. It turned out he wasn’t anything like the grumpy German she had encountered in the air.
“I have a few days here in New York. Are you going to be alright tending to that shoulder? I mean, I could … umm, check on you.” Marci blushed slightly at her boldness, but looking at the blue eyes again, she realized they weren’t cold at all.
Illya smiled, just a little. Just enough.