The Cold War Affair

EJ McFall

"Illya?" Napoleon Solo knocked louder. He could hear jazz music from inside his partner's apartment and the sounds of someone moving around. If it was Illya, why was he avoiding his calls and his appearance at the door? If it wasn't Illya, who was making noise inside the apartment?

Napoleon decided there was only one way to solve the mystery and pulled Illya's spare key from his pocket. He cautiously entered, only to find himself face-to-face with his partner and his gun. "Illya? It's me."

"Who are you?" Illya's gun didn't waver from Napoleon's face. "What are you doing here?"

"You didn't come into work, you didn't answer your phone or your communicator." Napoleon studied his friend for signs that he was drunk or drugged, but the Russian seemed as alert as ever. "I was worried about you, tovarish."

"Why? Who are you?" Illya's gun swung towards Napoleon's heart. "CIA?"

"CIA?" Napoleon laughed, despite the gravity of the situation. "What's wrong with you, Illya? I'm your partner. Napoleon."

It was Illya's turn to laugh. "Napoleon? I hope that is your code name, my friend. Otherwise your mother didn't care much for you."

"She liked me just fine, thank you." Napoleon finally rejected the idea that Illya was playing some complicated prank and decided that his friend had either been hit on the head lately or had somehow been compromised by THRUSH. Either way, he'd have to find a way to distract the man until he could disarm him. "Look, Illya, there's obviously something wrong here. Why don't we sit down and talk about it?"

"You're not KGB, not with that accent." Illya indicated a seat on the couch. "If you're CIA, you'll get nothing from me but a bullet."

"I'm neither KGB nor CIA." Napoleon eased himself onto the couch, mindful of the gun that never wavered. " I'm from UNCLE."

"UNCLE?" Illya furrowed his brow in thought. "Napoleon from UNCLE?"

"Right. Do you remember me now?"

"I don't know. It sounds familiar, but…" Illya swore in pain and reached for his head. Napoleon took advantage of the brief distraction to knock Illya's gun from his hand and aim his own weapon at his partner's heart.

"Ok, Illya, sit down." Napoleon quickly reversed positions with the other man, resulting with the Russian on the couch and the American standing before him with his gun at the ready. "Now, something has happened to you since the time I talked to you last night. We just have to figure out what."

"You might as well shoot, Mr. CIA. I am well trained to survive any type of torture."

"I'm well aware of that. We've been partners for nearly four years." Napoleon studied Illya's face for any sign of recognition. "You really don't remember?"

"I…" Illya rubbed his temples. "Your voice…seems familiar…and your face…but not UNCLE…" Illya swore again and bent over in pain.

"UNCLE…" Napoleon did some cursing of his own as an idea came to him. "Illya, you're clearly in pain. Does your head hurt more when you think of UNCLE?"

"Da." Illya forced himself to look up at Napoleon. "So please stop mentioning it, unless you really are here to torture me."

"I'm not an enemy agent, Illya. I'm afraid you're just going to have to accept that I'm your friend for the time being. OK?" Napoleon cautiously lowered his gun. "Truce until we figure everything out?"

Illya nodded grudgingly. "You seem to have the upper hand at the moment."

"Good. Ok, let's begin at the beginning." Napoleon considered where that might be, decided Illya was the only one who could answer that. "What's the last thing that you remember?"

Illya closed his eyes and continued to rub his temples. "Paris. Da, I remember living and working in Paris. I woke up here…in this strange apartment."

"Paris." Napoleon nodded. "Back when you were a KGB spy."

"I was a cultural attaché, stationed at the Soviet embassy in Paris."

"Like I said – you were spying in Paris for the Soviets." Napoleon smiled as Illya scowled at him. "That was your last job before you were sent to New York to work for….uh…our agency."

"And your last job was… chasing birds… all around the world."

"Birds?" Napoleon laughed. "If you mean THRUSH, then yes. That was my last job. Yours too."

Illya shook his head.

"Anyway, do you remember your life before you came to Paris? Growing up in the Soviet Union, surviving the war, being stationed on a submarine...?"

Illya nodded. "All that, I recall. But you…I feel like I should …that we have done much together…but…"

"It's ok, tovarish." Napoleon sighed as he realized there was only one explanation. "It looks like UNCLE had you deprogrammed."

"Will you stop saying that word?" Illya growled. "Unless you want my head to explode."

"Sorry." Napoleon slowly walked to the window. "I believe that we should take this discussion elsewhere, for two very good reasons."

"And they are?"

"First, the only person who can re-program you is our boss, Mr. Waverly." Napoleon paused as Illya winced at the sound of Waverly's name. "Secondly, if you no longer work for…our employer…then I think there's a very good possibility that the KGB may be planning on paying you a visit."

"So? I'm a loyal Soviet."

"True, but have you taken a look at yourself in the mirror lately?" Napoleon gestured Illya to the bathroom, pointed out his reflection. "You've changed quite a bit in the four years since I've known you. Your accent, your haircut, your clothes - not to mention your taste in music and modern art. You've gone native, tovarish."

Illya stared at his longish hair. "I don't understand how this happened…"

"The important thing is whether or not you remember what happens to KGB operatives who become westernized? What happens to them once they get back to Moscow?"

"They are sent to the gulag to be re-educated, unless they have connections in the Party."

"Do you have connections?"

Illya shook his head, his gaze still on the mirror.

"Then I suggest we get out of here before your Soviet friends show up to take you home."

"Yes. I believe you are right." Illya turned to the other man, a slight smile on his face. "I don't remember you, Napoleon, but for some reason I trust you. Lead, and I shall follow."