The night had been long and mostly unproductive. Two men sat and resolutely sipped on their warm beer, watching the door in the little cafe. No one came through it save a few men who looked to be just getting off work, ready cash and thirsty countenances all that showed in the dim lighting. The bar was close to the entrance, with a few tables scattered about on the stone floor. This little town of Santa Isabella was somewhere in Mexico, near the town of Juarez. Off the beaten track didn't begin to describe this bump in the road, and the two UNCLE agents who were minding the doorway as though it led to Shangrila had little to show for their diligence.
"Illya, if I don't get out of here, I will shoot someone just out of sheer meanness. And I mean that". The American was hot and tired, frustrated and low on patience.
His partner was also wearing down in his resistence to lethargy and disapproval concerning this situation.
"I suppose there is not the least probability that we can abandon this mission and claim heat stroke as a cause. Mr. Waverly would no doubt require proof alongside some type of accomplishment; say, catching the bad guys". If there were any place on earth in which Illya Kuryakin hated to be, it was anything resembling a desert, as this spot most definitely did.
"No. Heat stroke won't work. But I'm beginning to think that the information we received was faulty, because no one even remotely like Dr. Wizener has passed through here. For that matter, no one looking like Thrush at all". Napoleon Solo was a cool number by most people's standards. This mission, however, had challenged that image and he felt overheated, overwrought and really ready to be done with it. One more night, and he was calling it...DOA came to mind.
"If he were anyplace near here, we would have caught wind of it. It's late, what say we call it a night". He glanced across at his partner, the brown eyes taking in the room even as he caught his partner's nod of approval. Nothing to learn at this late hour. Illya seemed more tired than he did, which was saying something.
"I won't offer any resistance to that suggestion, Napoleon. If it takes much longer I may just curl up here on the table". That would be a sight. Napoleon had no doubt he could do it...sort of like a cat curling up for a nap. The image of it caused a chuckle to escape, and his weariness lifted momentarily.
"You go ahead, and I'll follow you up in about five minutes. On the off chance there is someone around, I'll wait and make sure no one else goes up after you". Illya nodded again, not even wanting to take the energy for speech. He felt unusually tired, and hoped he wouldn't fall asleep on the stairway, his body was that heavy with fatigue.
"Okay, I'm gone then. See you up there".
Napoleon decided to sit outside on the patio, smoke a cigarette and survey the little town. La Ciudad de Santa Isabella was a dusty, poverty stricken little village about fifty miles southeast of Juarez, Mexico. The border town that mirrored El Paso was a drop off point for the last bit of information they'd had on Dr. Wizener, and the trail had pointed to the little town of Santa Isabella as his next most probable destination. Whatever Thrush had in mind, coming here had seemed odd even for them. Still, it had to be checked out, and the doctor needed to be stopped. Under the umbrella of a Thrush satrap that posed as a cosmetics manufacturer, Wizener had developed a new strain of virus that could end up in a box of loose face powder, unless they were stopped. UNCLE intelligence had tracked their activity here, and the projection of their next move indicated that they would be trying it out on unsuspecting villagers in this part of Mexico. Who would care if nameless, unimportant pockets of population were affected by a virus? With such a lack of accountability concerning these small villages and the poor people who lived in them, Thrush had found the perfect prey for another nefarious plot.
As Illya climbed the stairs up to their room, he seriously considered the possibility that he might not make it. Each step was an effort, making him wonder if he had contracted something in the pursuit of the deadly virus. He wanted badly to get into bed, but also to strip down and climb into the shower; the dust and the heat were oppressive, and he didn't think he would sleep well without washing all of it away somehow. As he entered the room all of the precautions were taken, gun out and eyes as alert as possible considering his weariness. He checked all of the normal spots for bugs, pushing back curtains, fingering lamps and fixtures; it all seemed secure. With that taken care of, he started removing his clothes one piece at a time until all that remained were his boxers. These he removed as he was stepping into the shower, the water washing over him in soothing spurts that eased his body past the tension remaining in his too tired shoulders and back. It was quick, and he grabbed a towel that went from his head, to the shoulders and finally around his waist as he purposefully strode back to his bed. It was one of two, a rare luxury for a place like this, and one for which he knew gratitude would be insufficient. He needed to sleep, and sleeping alone would provide the best rest for now.
Before he could get a sheet over him he was out cold. The overhead fan kept a steady swish of almost cool air circulating, and the still damp skin and hair aided in cooling down the inert body. The drug in his beer had done it's work.