Pre-series:

"Call and raise," said Illya Kuryakin carefully.

Napoleon Solo studied his cards, hiding a frown. When he'd challenged UNCLE NY's newest agent to a friendly game of poker, he'd intended to go easy on the shy young Russian. Things hadn't quite worked out the way he'd planned.

"Fold," he said at last. "I'm cashing in before you clean me out. What do you have, anyway, a royal flush? You're pretty confident."

Illya spread his cards out on the table. One pair, deuces.

Napoleon chuckled. "Remind me never to play poker with you again, Kuryakin."

The slim blond rookie almost smiled.

Years later:

"Throw down the gun, Kuryakin," the THRUSH agent said. "You can't possibly shoot all three of us before we get you."

Illya stood perfectly still, gun leveled at the man, blue eyes narrow and unreadable. "No," he said, "I can't." There was just the slightest hint of emphasis on the "I".

"We've got your pal Solo," the THRUSHman continued. "Give up, Kuryakin; you're finished."

Illya's gaze darted past his adversary, and an instant's glad relief flickered across his face. All three THRUSH agents whirled to face the new threat.

When they turned back from the empty sky, Illya was gone.