"The Olympics Affair"

The Saloon was closed. But that didn't stop the debonair man from picking his way through the debris filled alleyway to a locked side door. With a barely concealed sign of disgust he scraped some unknown substance off the bottom of his shoe before placing his hand on a portion of the gritty dirty back window. An infrared camera read his palm print through the greasy glass pane. The back door opened with a silent click and the man had just enough time to slip through before it closed behind him. He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his hand fastidiously.

He slipped through the small kitchen to a back pantry and moving a can of jalapeno peppers activated the elevator. It was only a short ride, but the cans and jars always rattled alarmingly.

The doors opened onto a brightly lit steel corridor.

"Good Morning Mr. Standish." A dark Spanish woman smiled as she pinned his badge to his immaculate suit lapel. "Mr. Larabee and the rest are waiting for usual." She added with a smile.

"Thank you Miss Recillos." Ezra Standish, Enforcement and Intelligence agent for the Four Corners office of The United Network Command for Law and Enforcement replied.

It was only a short walk to the main conference room which also was the only room outside of the equipment bay that was big enough to hold the seven men that ran the Four Corners office of U.N.C.L.E.

Section Chief Chris Larabee glared at his late agent. Seated around the standard round briefing table were the two section two agents, Buck Wilmington and Vin Tanner. Standish was officially a Section 3 agent, dealing in Enforcement and Intelligence. Young JD Dunne was their Section 4 - in charge of Intelligence and Communications. Even now he was hunched over a communicator pen coaxing it into doing more things than it was originally built for. Buck Wilmington was hanging over the kid, trying to give him advice.

Sections 5 and 6 were ably bodied by Nathan Jackson and Josiah Sanchez, taking care of security, medical needs and anything else that needed doing.

"Here son." Josiah grinned and handed over a mug of coffee. "Nathan made it." The last remark was important, because if Vin made the coffee a caffeine overdose was assured.

Standish curled his lip up at the mug handed him. It was a garish pink with scantily clad females posed around it and the handle was that of a naked woman curved enticingly. Ezra carefully avoided the handle.

"You last in, get the worst mug." Tanner grinned over the rim of his Denver Broncos mug.

Larabee took a satisfied sip of the hot brew from his own mug aptly emblazoned "The Boss". Nobody touched Larabee's mug.

Chris Larabee was one of UNCLE's top Enforcement agents. However, as the mandatory age of retirement for field agents was 40 he was given the choice of becoming a section chief or having the usual UNCLE retirement - a permanent debriefing. Much had happened to Larabee in his years as an agent and he was reluctant to give up those memories - good and bad.

Regional Chief for the Southwest, Judge Travis, had wisely put Larabee into a small section, though vital. While technically no longer an Enforcement agent, Larabee's command was small enough for him to do field work, if needed. He was given the liberty of hand-picking his team.

Buck Wilmington had been Chris' partner for many years, an arrangement they were comfortable with. Vin Tanner had been a fairly new UNCLE recruit, a former army man and Texas Ranger.

JD Dunne was an UNCLE brat, his computer abilities and talents had been spotted while in High School and was a result of short-lived, but extremely successful "recruit them while young" policy. Dunne had gone to college on an UNCLE funded scholarship and had been added to the team straight from training.

Nathan Jackson was rescued from the cellar of the San Francisco office where he'd been moldering away buried in Section 8 - officially research and development, but known as Deception and Camouflage in the Command.

Josiah Sanchez had been the cover for a Los Angeles based UNCLE office that had been disguised as a local house of worship "The Undying Never-ending Care and Love of Eliahu". Southern California was rife with such institutions and he would have remained there for years preaching gentle sermons of brotherly love and doing profiling on the side for UNCLE if an untimely earthquake hadn't destroyed the building and scattered his flock to other religious venues.

The latest member of the team, both in joining and at the meeting this day was Ezra Standish. He was a good field agent, but more valuable in Section 3, Enforcement and Intelligence. He was a good mimic, spoke most European languages with the skill of a native and was a hard man to get to know.

Larabee tossed a file onto the table and gave it a push to move it around to his late agent. The table idly spun and landed the file directly in front of Standish.

Ezra took what could have been a casual sip of coffee before flipping open the file.

"The Olympics?"

"Yep." Buck Wilmington grinned as he took a healthy swallow from his Garfield mug. "You know Salt Lake City?"

"The whole Western Division has been put on alert status, since we don't have any outstanding cases we'll be put in with some of the athletes." Larabee explained.

"But Mr. Larabee, whom among us has ever done bobsledding?" Standish looked distressed.

"We aren't there to win, Ez" Vin said grinning. "Bobsled competitions are on the first days. We lose gracefully and then spend the rest of our time looking for bad guys."

Larabee glared at Vin. Just who was doing the briefing?

"Sorry cowboy." Vin didn't look too contrite.

Larabee continued, not quite losing his glare. "Vin, JD, Nathan and Buck will be in the bobsled. I'll be coaching and Josiah will be equipment manager. I have something special in mind for Ezra." The glare turned into a grin which was just as scary.

"Your shady past has come to rest Standish." Larabee continued, stretching leisurely and enjoying the rare flit of unease that passed over the man's face.

"Which part of mah shady past are you referrin' to Mr. Larabee?" Ezra's mind was already racing quickly over past deeds and misdeeds that might be construed as shady in their leader's mind. He took a good swallow of coffee to cover any confusion or dismay he might have let slip.

Larabee grinned even wider. Standish's southern accent always got a little more pronounced when he was off balance, especially with his fellow agents.

"Why the silver medal in biathlon in the European Cup about six years ago. I believe you were skiing for Spain at the time under the name of Emilio Desole?"

"Hardly Olympic standard Mr. Larabee, and I haven't been on skis since..."

"Last month." Vin added helpfully. "You went to Switzerland."

"To see mah mother..." Standish squirmed a bit and took another swallow of the coffee which seemed a bit bitter.

"Your Mom was in South America." JD added helpfully. "Your latest letter came from there."

"We gotcha son." Josiah's rumbling laugh filled the room.

"Hell Ez, we are spies. It is what we do best." Vin added.

"Well why can't y'all find some Thrush agents or mad scientists to follow instead of me!" Standish growled and drained his coffee cup. "Good God! What is in the bottom of mah cup?"

Buck grinned and nudged Vin. "If they was real, Ez, I say about a 40 D..."

Part II
Agent Gail Gardner