Illya Kuryakin just sat and stared. The usually bright blue eyes had dulled slightly, his expression not just the usual unemotional mask. It was more like disdain, or torment…Napoleon couldn't tell for sure. It was something altogether new, he thought, sitting here in Mr. Waverly's office in a sort of damned to hell kind of trance. He wondered if he should be worried, but the news of this assignment wasn't that bad, or at least he didn't think it should be. Well, it wasn't for him anyway. It wasn't as though he were going to have to take ballet lessons and hop around in tights and little leather shoes.
"Mr. Kuryakin, are you getting all of this?" The old man was looking at the blond now, irritated at the lack of response by the sound of it. Still, Illya just sat there, expressionless and dazed. It was a nightmare, and perhaps if he ignored it he would wake up and the threat of this most imminent danger would be past. He could just go and blow something up, take out a Thrush satrap or punch someone. Like his partner, maybe, for maintaining that smug look on his face.
"Yes sir, I understand. I will begin lessons with Madame Karina tomorrow. Where will I be going for the instruction?" He hoped New Jersey.
"Why, right here, in the gym". Now there was some eye action, and Napoleon wondered if he had little lasers behind the sapphire colored cornea, because it looked like he could do damage with them.
"Here sir? Really?" Worse than just joining a ballet troupe, now he had to rehearse here and run the risk of everyone seeing him. He wasn't prepared for this, hadn't danced since he was a child. He would never live this down. It wasn't like gymnastics; that was at least viewed as a sport. Not since the stint on stage with that silly play had he felt so completely at a loss. Come to think of it, he'd had to wear tights for that one as well. He wondered if an enforcement agent could be typecast…
"Yes, Mr. Kuryakin, here at our own gym. No one need know about this, although I can't imagine why you should care. Certainly with your background, the ballet is an accepted and exceptionally important cultural ingredient for the Russian people. And you, and you alone in all of this organization among the men, have some background in that art form. This mission is very important, and you are not being asked to perform, merely pose as an instructor; an assistant to Madame Karina, the director of the New Minsk Ballet Company. You will observe and live behind the scenes in order to capture the information that is being passed from some as yet unknown member of the Soviet group that she is hosting. Your assignment is to remain covert and pose successfully in this role. Is that clear?"
Loud and clear…"Yes sir".
Illya closed the door behind him and dropped down morosely into his chair, setting his chin into the open palms of his hands. The effect was always one of a petulant child, the blue eyes framed by pale blond hair that hung precariously down on the broad forehead. Napoleon came through the door, only marginally cautious concerning what was on the other side.
"Illya, tovarisch, you mustn't be so glum. It's just some dancing, just another assignment. Why the attitude?" Napoleon needed to smooth things over. He didn't want his partner to sink into one of his Russian moods, not now. This really was an important mission, and the information that was being brought into the country was crucial to an ongoing affair. But, oh…this was bad. Look at that face. Whoa, now it was gone completely. Illya put his head face down onto the desk, his blond hair the only thing visible from within the framework of shoulders and arms.
"Illya, seriously…talk to me. What's really going on here?" This wasn't just about some sensitivity to the teasing that might ensue. A more serious consideration was involved, something the Russian didn't want to discuss, but for the success of the mission it might be necessary.
With great effort, he raised his head and leaned back in the chair, brushing his hair off of his face with one hand. He leveled a look at his partner and took a deep breath.
"Napoleon, I apologize for overreacting. The whole thing just sent me spiraling back to my youth, and the effect was…disarming". Napoleon knew that his friend hadn't had an easy time as a child. He had survived the Nazis and lost much of his family, and then had been taken in by the Soviet system as a "gifted" child. He really didn't know much else, because Illya never talked about his life in Russia. The assorted degrees were the only indication of where he had been and what he'd been doing. Otherwise, the man's former life was a complete mystery, even to him. Looking at him, beyond the determined exterior, the child was still peering out of those blue eyes; perhaps still afraid and unsure of his future. The man was deadly when on a mission, but right now he probably more closely resembled the kid in those disarming memories.
"Do you want to talk about it, Illya? You know I'm here for you…anytime". He meant it, too. No one person mattered more to him than this guy, and he always had to take a step back when the man's past raised itself up, reclaiming parts of his soul and requiring him to climb up out of the mire of his life in the Soviet Union. Certainly the specter of being called back hadn't ever left him. The ballet troupe was from Moscow, so perhaps he was uneasy about being with other Soviets, as there were sure to be KGB along. Now that he thought about it, what else was going on here? Surely Mr. Waverly understood the danger inherent in any situation where Illya had to deal with his old comrades from the other side of the Iron Curtain. He wondered if there was some danger for his partner, something that he was intuitively fighting against in his dread of the assignment. What else was involved here that the old man hadn't told them?
"Illya, what are the chances that you'll be dealing with KGB while the dance company is here?" The blond looked at him with a penetrating stare, his mind reeling at the prospect of meeting up with men who had tried to block his appointment to U.N.C.L.E. But, that had been so many years ago, and he was fulfilling his role as a Soviet representative to the organization. His head ached at the effort it took to keep himself calm, the professional cool for which he was known was suddenly not available. A tangible dread overtook him and he knew he didn't want this assignment, didn't want to tread back into the icy waters of Soviet intelligence and the men who dwelt there. Solo saw it. He witnessed uncharacteristic fear as the scenario played out in his mind; he would be vulnerable within that group.
"Very certain. They will be there, they always travel with these artistic ambassadors. They will undoubtedly be aware of my presence within hours, if not beforehand". Both men contemplated the repercussions, knowing all they could do was take it step by step.
By the time Madame Karina had arrived at U.N.C.L.E. headquarters, Illya was already in the gym, dressed and ready to begin his lessons. He hadn't danced since he was around fourteen; it hadn't taken the instructors in his school very long to recognize the limitations of the boy's abilities. Still, they had endured him for two years, and most of that time he had suffered their harsh reproves and physical abuse. For someone to survive one of the Soviet special schools was to be assured of standing within the rarefied Soviet artistic community, and the lifestyle that was limited to the few who had enough talent and stamina to succeed. Illya had lacked the former, and the relief when they redirected him to gymnastics had liberated him for a time, guiding him to the University of Georgia in the Ukraine. Those years had been good, and he had established himself as an intellectual worthy of more investment, more favor. Ballet, though, and the people associated with it, had left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Now, standing at the bar awaiting instructions, he felt the resentment return. This woman, this Madame Karina, was young for her role, he thought. She had long brown hair that had been tied back with a pink ribbon. She was pretty, and he didn't neglect to notice that she wasn't as condescending as were the crones of his memories. They had tormented him for his size and timidity, for his large feet. What did they expect? They had put him there, he had not sought them out.
Reviewing positions;" first, second, third, fourth fifth…hands out, fingers like this…not like a farm worker. Drape your arms, elegantly like this; point your toe, hold that for one, two, three, four…relax."
It went on for hours, and little by little his body remembered the positions, the nuances of dance, the dignity of Russian ballet. He was sweating profusely, and his legs were aching. His arms trembled at holding positions for too long until finally, she said "quit".
"ne ploho dlya 1, poka iz praktiki"
"Yes, I am badly out of practice". Illya laughed at himself, appreciating her smile as she chided him for his hard work.
"Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin, you have some ability, but clearly leaving the dance was a good move for you, yes". She looked at the blond, thinking he was well built, but not a dancer. She knew he had been a gymnast, and thought that suited him much better. Still, he was striking with his pale hair and the blue eyes, not unlike many others from their homeland. They were a handsome people, and this one especially so. ' It would be nice to do something with him besides this business', she was still imagining it when he spoke to her.
"So, Madame, how long do we go today? Might we possibly break for lunch?" He was starving, and he didn't need to work off any calories, in fact he felt as though if he didn't eat, the rest of the day would be lost to him. She looked him over, considering the proposition.
"Yes, you're right. You don't look as though you eat much, though. You are quite thin, Illya Nicovetch". She was teasing him, and he smiled in return with a shy look from beneath the blond bangs that fringed his forehead, adding to the appearance of being much younger than he was. Madame Karina would hate to see this one get hurt, and she hoped that he was good at his job…better than his dancing.
There was some flurry of activity around Wanda's station as Napoleon cruised by on his way to Mr. Waverly's office. He had cut through the girls' club and found the aforementioned Wanda, Denise from research, as well as Mr. Waverly's niece Maude. The three of them were giggling and talking about something or someone but stopped completely when he was within earshot of the conversation. He flattered himself that it was probably about him, having dated each of them at least once.
"Good morning girls". The smile was deadly, but they actually seemed to not want him to stop for any length of time.
"Hi Napoleon. Have a nice day…b'bye", Margo waved him on and cast a furtive glance as he passed between them. Odd.
When he was out of range, Maude continued:
"So, like I was saying, I passed by the gym today and it was locked. I barely got a look inside and there was a woman in there, in tights and a tunic, and this blond guy that I didn't recognize at first. He was in tights, and a sleeveless tee shirt that was soaked with sweat. You should know that he has an exquisite derriere, and his legs…like carved stone.' She paused for effect, the other two waiting but, she was certain, bound to not believe what came next.
"They were doing ballet. She must be a teacher, because she was counting off to music, yelling at him and generally giving him a really bad time. He had his back to me for a long time, and then he turned around and it was…Kuryakin". She said it in a breathy tone that fairly oozed with innuendo. A collective gasp came up from her two friends and she had them hooked.
"No way. Are you serious. Illya was dancing…ballet?" Wanda didn't believe it. Not the Russian.
"I believe it. He was enrolled in some Soviet state school when he was really young. Before they switched him to gymnastics, he studied ballet". The other two looked at Denise like she had a third eye in her forehead.
"I'm in research girls. Sometimes I actually do research on our own people. Sometimes…I peak". She blushed at that, not wanting to admit the huge crush she had on the blond agent. The thought of him in tights was almost more than she could handle.
"So, Maude, what else did you see in there?" Wanda wanted to know, although she didn't want to come off as too anxious. Still, the man's derriere was a pretty common topic of conversation among the girls at U.N.C.L.E.
"Let me tell you, his body is made for that get up. He's really taut and firm, no fat anywhere and in those tights…ev-er-y-thing shows. ". She pulled that word out as long as it would go, creating a slightly lascivious effect in the process. They all quit talking, each trying to get a mental picture of what ev-er-y-thing must look like. They all took a moment to let that sink in before the conversation started up again.
"Does Napoleon know?" Margo figured he must…
"Does Napoleon know what…? Sorry girls, I forgot something and certainly didn't mean to eavesdrop". The brown eyed agent wasn't used to coming in second among the girls, and now he really wondered who they were talking about.
"Oh, Mr. Solo, you know how we girls are, just silly". Maude tried to save them. Then again, it wouldn't hurt Napoleon to appreciate just how much competition his partner could give him if he really wanted to.
"I saw Illya practicing in the gym with a ballet instructor. We just wondered what type of assignment would require him to…do that". Napoleon was a little surprised, but he knew his partner had his fan club. It was mostly from a distance, but the mystery seemed to hold them enthrall even more so than if he actually responded to them. It was something he had yet to figure out.
Illya had spotted Maude Waverly peeking beneath the shades, watching him. He couldn't help it now if everyone found out. Certainly, some of the women wouldn't care, might even appreciate a man, well…him…doing this. He knew they watched him. He did understand the effect he had on women, and used it sparingly. There were precious few of them he actually wanted, and even less that he needed. His standards were higher, he reasoned, than those of his constantly searching partner. What he couldn't help was the utterly unpredictable moments when, caught off guard, he did something that elicited reactions that irritated the men but drew females to him like bees to honey. He knew he was honey, always had been. Choosing to be slurped up indiscriminately however, was not his style. And, regardless of what Solo thought, he did have some.
The little ballet company had been granted permission to travel in spite of it's relative obscurity. This little troupe was an experiment of sorts, gathering students who hadn't made it to the upper echelon of Soviet life via the world famous Kirov. These lesser talents were still far and away better than most of what the rest of the world offered, according to the literature.
Under the guise of a dancer and instructor, Illya was set to join a local group who would be playing host to the Russians. Master classes and several performances would dot the itinerary of the visiting dancers as well as several social obligations. The UNCLE agent would be on hand for all of these events, closely watching and waiting for an expected contact from among the ballet troupe. As for his own participation, his whirlwind refresher course along with all of the preparation had left him feeling fairly confident, certainly well toned from the workouts. He felt as though he was in better condition now than he had been previous to all of this. Certainly the secretarial pool agreed.
Before leaving New York headquarters, he had been teased and tormented by everyone at headquarters. The "girls" had become a fan club, of sorts, trying to sneak by the shield of privacy that had failed to protect him adequately. Some of the men had taken delight in adding this latest bit of evidence to their already prejudiced view of the Russian, assuming much and knowing very little. The majority of the ribbing had been good natured, however, and by the time his practice schedule had been discovered and no small amount of admiration had drifted his way, he was resigned to the task at hand and not entirely put off of dancing, the memories suddenly not as oppressive as he had originally remembered them to be.
There was no question that he would not have had any success in the dance world. He primarily needed to be able to help the dancers along in their own pursuits of excellence. That he could do, and his own instructress, Karina, had guided him through the process of finding the aesthetics and perspective necessary to make his role plausible. The old adage came to mind: those that can do, those that can't teach. He certainly qualified for that pithy saying.
The mission was simple: A member of the ballet troupe had information that could help stop the production of a new Thrush explosive. It was a radiated plastique that could boast of not only horrendous danger from impact, but the addition of producing radioactive poisons that would shut down life and industry in a radius of about 200 miles. That meant danger to cities large and small; one explosion could ruin life for thousands or even millions of citizens of any country in the world. As far as was known, the results indicated a finished product was not very close to completion, perhaps even as far off as eight or nine months. The two agents working on this had tracked the scientist to London, but they had lost the trail over a month prior to Illya's assignment. By an extraordinary stroke of good luck or something like it, a message had gotten through to UNCLE about an informant in the Soviet Union who would be in the USA within the month. Somehow this individual had obtained the location of the lab and an accurate description of the explosive compound. There were no other details, leaving the powers in Section One to weigh the dangers and possible success in obtaining this potentially valuable item of intelligence. Without it the search could take months longer, the satrap was so heavily buried within the city. The risk was worth the hoped for result. So far, what was wanted in exchange for the information was unclear, however the likelihood of amnesty was high on the list of conjectures. The contact within the dance troupe had the information to get them to the lab, as well as details that would allow them to infiltrate it. It was simple. It should be simple. Illya hoped it would be simple.
When Illya walked into the practice room of the New Minsk Ballet Company, girls in tights and leotards were lined up on one side of the room at the barre. They were in various stages of stretches and positions, waiting for their dance instructress to arrive and set their paces for the next hour. The men, a smaller group but present nonetheless, were at the other end of the practice room, each of them curious as to the identity of the new assistant instructor. They had heard he was Russian, but otherwise none of them had actually seen him yet. Rumors were rampant, however, and the word was he was a defector who had been part of the great Kirov Ballet. If that were true, this must be a big let down for his career, and they wondered how he had ended up in this little company of dancers. They all supposed that it must be a contact with Karina, who was also Russian. Perhaps they had been lovers there…
He was dressed in the standard dancewear; dark grey tights, a sleeveless, scooped neck knit shirt and legwarmers. A ramie knit sweater topped all of this, and it draped loosely from one shoulder ever so slightly. He looked the part of a dancer as much or more so than the students who were watching him now. His blond hair and blue eyes completed the look of who they thought he might be; a Russian prince perhaps; the girls certainly thought so. He was exotic looking, even for New York.
There were two sessions in the morning, the first for stretching and exercises then working on technical aspects for each dancer. The next round of activity was punctuated by appraisals of individuals slotted for leads in the upcoming performances. Karina handled these while Illya took the second group, the non-leading dancers. By lunchtime the room had cleared and the accompanist had gone, leaving only Illya and Madame Karina. She eyed him over appraisingly, finally admitting to herself that he had done a decent job with her dancers. She was proud of her little dance troupe, and prouder still that they were to host her countrymen for the duration of their stay in America. To have become involved with this intrigue had not been in her plan, still she trusted this man and the information his Mr. Waverly had shared with her. If she could help stop the terror of that awful scientist's work, then they were welcome to create this ruse. She also realized that this blond one would be the subject of much speculation and gossiping. She had even overheard one of the comments about the two of them being involved romantically. It did not seem an altogether unpleasant idea.
"Alright, Illya, how do you think your morning went?" She smiled, knowing from their previous encounters that there had been some trepidation for him in this assignment. She had no doubts that this first hurdle would be the most difficult.
"I think they worked really hard, and seemed receptive to my…instruction. I hope you think it was satisfactory". His eyes met hers with a questioning expression. He had wanted to do well, hoping that his role here could somehow be successful.
"I observed all of you, and it seemed to be a productive morning. The company all appear to really like you. That is helpful".
"I appreciate that. They are all fine dancers. You seem to have an excellent program here, and I commend you for the work you've done. I am certain that they will be pleased with the performances of the New World company. Most of them are themselves the same ages as your dancers. I look forward to seeing them onstage". That was true, as he was hoping that he would be able to see an entire performance after the exchange with the mysterious contact had been made.
Napoleon's role in all of this was to be, of necessity, quite different. Having no background or inclination towards dance unless it included dinner and drinks, he was on hand posing as an investor in the dance company. No one thought it unusual for someone like that to hang around and see how it all worked. So it was that he and Illya were allowed to converse and keep in touch very easily within the practice hall. If the CEA of UNCLE North America had any opinions about his partner in this current role, he kept it to himself. He found that he was a little surprised at the ease with which the blond had taken to it, and certainly admired his ability to do so. He also had to admit that it wasn't too hard to appreciate what it was about him that drew so many admiring glances and comments from the female employees at headquarters. It wasn't likely he would try and compete on this territory, however. This one he had to give to Illya, for now.
The day progressed under Karina's capable instruction and direction, Illya following her lead and developing a flow to the interaction with the dancers and their needs. Tempers occasionally flared and girls nursed sore feet from the excruciating toe shoes, something that Illya had never been able to comprehend. He even tended to one or two, administering whatever care he felt appropriate for his position. Karina watched all of it, taking in the ease with which he assimilated this character, so out of touch now with being a spy. As Napoleon played his part, making phone calls to no one and taking notes, pretending projections of expenses and profits, he also observed. The lovely ballet instructress had eyes for his little Russian friend, and he was probably the only one who didn't realize it. If it weren't for the business they were in, how far off was this scenario, he wondered.
The Soviet troupe was scheduled to arrive at 8 o'clock in the morning. The Aeroflot and it's passengers would receive a bit of press, then the little troupe would proceed to their hotel in Manhattan. Decadence aside, it was considered inappropriate for Soviet artists to not be seen in the best surroundings, their excellence rewarded with American excess to reinforce their obvious Russian superiority. The dancers were delighted with the choice of the Plaza Hotel, that establishment's reputation known around the world. Nor did it impugn the integrity of the KGB agents who accompanied the dancers to stay in such capitalistic splendor. Such was the nature of their responsibilities that any sacrifice was welcomed. There were two representatives of the Soviet government on this trip. Anatoly Putkin was a veteran of many years, and had seen superiors come and go. He remained steady, uncharacteristically unmotivated to achieve anything more than survival in this profession. He knew that this trip to New York would be a highlight of his career, a reward for patient and unobtrusive loyalty to the state. His colleague was less content, and saw this assignment as another stepping stone in an already sparkling example of how to climb to the top. Nicholas Popov had a sense of impending action, and he was prepared for whatever might come across his path. His intelligence regarding this trip had yielded the possibility of information being passed from one of the dance troupe members. He didn't know who or even what nature of intelligence was involved…yet. Nor did he know for whom the information was designated. He was certain, however, that when it began to manifest, he would recognize them both.
Illya Kuryakin was certain that at some point he would be recognized by the Soviets. The KGB had yielded to his appointment to UNCLE, but there were some among them that hadn't approved. The fact that a Soviet citizen could be at home here in America, and not imbedded as an agent of their own was a rub that irked and inflamed some of the old guard. On the face of it, there had to be approval for his presence as a part of the multi-national intelligence agency. Under the surface, there were some who would dearly enjoy getting him back to the USSR for purposes he knew would prove fatal. He would need Napoleon at his back, and to be very careful once the New World troupe arrived.
While the Soviets settled into their hotel and were appraised of their schedules and limited access to New York, the New Minsk Ballet Company continued to practice, working on the roles they would have in solo as well as combined performances with their Soviet counterparts. Illya was pleased at what he witnessed, exceptionally glad that he was able to pull this off. The old memories were fading and being replaced by a new and genuine sense of enjoyment at what he was doing and how his body felt pushing to achieve motion and flexibility that he had forgotten about. The muscles remembered it seemed, and for all of the aches and discomfort that might come later, the freedom of moving like this was exhilarating to him. Karina took notice as well, thinking that he was improving, and that he might yet make a dancer.
Karina wanted to dance with Illya. She began to choreograph in her mind the perfect routine for them, hoping to engage him in something a little more advanced than what he thought he was capable of performing. What she was seeing in him was giving her an indication of just how hard he was willing to work in order to achieve a goal, and before this was over, she intended to know what it felt like for him to hold her. If dance was all they had, then it would be in the dance.
Napoleon had been in constant contact with people at the Plaza, section three agents who were there to observe and report on the personnel in the Soviet entourage. The KGB agents had been identified and their backgrounds were being checked against Illya's; if there was a connection between them it would be better to know of it now. They were also on the lookout for Thrush, for as surely as there were pigeons in New York, there were bound to be Thrush agents who had gotten wind of the information that was about to be passed to UNCLE. There was still no indication of the contact within the dance troupe, which was a positive as long as Thrush also remained ignorant. Not thinking the KGB would want to hinder the efforts to stop a weapon like the one in London, there was still the consideration of how they might react to UNCLE's own Russian. Napoleon had to protect his partner from all sides, and still make certain that they obtained the lab location from the mystery man among the dancers. He was beginning to feel the same type of dread that he'd seen in his friend; for different reasons perhaps, but dread just the same.
On the second day in New York, the New World Dance Company from Moscow loaded onto a bus for a trip to Brooklyn. It would take them through the city and across the landmarks with which they were only vaguely familiar. This first bus ride was their "tour", their opportunity to see some of the vastness of the American capitalistic dream. It was breathtaking to some, those whose ideals were not quite as concrete in Soviet pragmatism and rhetoric. To those who were stalwart in their repugnance at all things American, they shielded their eyes from the effrontery of such vulgar consumerism. It was art that had brought them here and it was the only reason to sully their aesthetics with the scenery they encountered. Still, they all wondered what it would be like…
As the bus finally arrived at it's destination in a decidedly less capitalistic looking neighborhood, the dancers began to disembark at the rehearsal hall and central hub of the New Minsk Dance Company. The name was not lost on them, for here they would find a fellow countryman, or woman; someone who had left the Soviet Union under circumstances they might never discover, but whose reputation was somehow not sullied so much as for the state to deny them this cultural exchange opportunity. There were some mysteries in life, to be sure. Better to not ask than to be found with illicit knowledge.
Illya was there to greet them. He had received the information gathered on the accompanying KGB agents, and was able to say confidently that he did not know them. Whether they might recognize him was another story, however. He had no way of knowing if he might still be a subject of interest to the two men. In addition to keeping an eye on these two, there was the added precaution of monitoring communication to the Soviet Embassy, and known Soviet agents within the city. All of this to protect the man who was of so much value to UNCLE, and the promise of information that might possibly save millions of lives. For Napoleon, the responsibility for keeping all of this in tandem, with all personnel in a heightened awareness and communications ongoing, was a test of his abilities. He was up to it, and the increased pressure to insure the safety of his partner only served to make him doubly cautious and exacting of the people under his command.
The sessions began and ended with a great deal of enthusiasm as both groups greeted, danced and encouraged each other. The sense of détente was certainly in evidence as the communion of artistic expression permeated their fledgling relationships. Karina and Illya met with the artistic director of the visiting group, all of them speaking in their native language and enjoying the exchange of ideas and histories. Although not much could be revealed by the two New Yorkers, the Soviet members embraced them and cheered them with whatever good news they could from their homeland. If Illya had thought to be somehow excluded from this, he was relieved at the warmth of this group; unlike the intelligence community, these dancers had a joy about them that refreshed his spirit. He had missed the inherent happiness that the Russian people were capable of showing; without the confines of political rhetoric, the dancers became one troupe with a single objective: to dance.
At the end of the day, as the Soviets were leaving, Illya and Karina retreated into her office to review everything. She found a small vase of roses with a single card. Even though the flowers were on her desk, the note was intended for the UNCLE agent and had a short message inside:
A pas de deux at midnight
"It seems that your contact has a way out from the scrutiny of his KGB escorts". Karina thought it extraordinary that a member of the Soviet group would risk trying to get away from the hotel in the middle of the night. Illya agreed and shook his head in disbelief. This was not just a dancer, perhaps.
"I will be here to receive him then. It is a relief to have it occur so quickly, I must admit". He was glad for it. The sooner they had the information the sooner that London Thrush laboratory could be shut down. He wondered if that would mean the end of his role playing here…
"Will you remain with us even after the meeting?" The woman read his thoughts and echoed them with her own disappointment.
"I will need to check with Mr. Waverly, of course. If it will help you, I will perhaps be allowed to continue here…for a little while". He said it and was nearly disbelieving even as the words came out. Would he really stay and participate in this capacity as a dancer?
"We will know more after my midnight meeting". He had four hours until then, and he needed to contact his partner.
The dance had truly begun.