Napoleon Solo deplaned in New York after what he considered a mundane assignment in Paris. Diplomatic assignments were not something he enjoyed doing, and yet as he was the successor to Waverly position, he needed to get used to them.
Not expecting anyone to meet him, he was surprised to see an UNCLE agent waiting at the end of the exit ramp. He hoped this didn't mean another Thrush campaign would send him out immediately. He was looking forward to spending the night with Illya and Jo somewhere that was exciting but had ordinary people there as well.
"What's happened that I have the honor of your presence?" he asked Mike Kozmo, one of his favorite Section Three agents.
"Mr. Waverly sent me to meet and deliver you immediately to medical."
"Illya?" Napoleon moved quicker heading for the waiting car wondering what his partner had gotten himself into this time.
"No sir. Miss Kuryakin and Mr. Petros are both in critical condition and heading into surgery soon."
Napoleon rushed into medical as soon as he arrived at Headquarters and as he turned the corner to the waiting room, he saw Illya Kuryakin sitting in a chair with his head held in his hands. The CEA had never seen his partner looking so defeated.
Next to him sat Gloria, a co-worker and special friend from the lab, her hand resting on his arm.
"Napoleon," she said. "We were in the lab when the news came in. I wanted to make sure he didn't have to wait alone." She stood to leave the partners alone.
"You don't need to leave," he said.
"I'm learning. He needs you right now." With that, she left the room and Napoleon took her place in the chair next to his partner.
"Illya, how are they?" He was asking about his partner's sister and the woman he loves and her partner Andreas Petros. Kozmo had explained on the way in that both agents were reported missing that morning, but they'd been found late in the afternoon, alive but in serious condition.
"They have been in surgery for about an hour now. The doctor was not very optimistic with his prognosis." Illya's normally expressionless face was etched in pain, and a silent tear ran down his face.
As Illya looked at his partner, a new emotion replaced the anguish from the moment before. The pure anger his face now showed was something Napoleon had never seen before. He pitied the person or people who had done this to Jo and Andreas.
"They threw them into a dumpster behind a restaurant a few blocks from here, as if they were garbage." The pain of this action alone was tearing him apart.
"Did you see them before they were taken into surgery?"
"Yes, he is in worse shape than she is. They could not wait until they were stabilized before operating." Illya returned his gaze toward the operating room door. "What if they die in there?"
Although both knew death could claim them at any time, Illya had his sister back in his life for such a short time, and was just now was coming to terms with her being a Section Two agent. He did not want to lose her again.
Napoleon understood his partner was expressing the grief he felt, and if Jo was to die, Illya would go to the ends of the earth to stamp out the lives of those who had done this to her. Of course, that would occur only if he, himself didn't find them first.
"I should have been with them. They invited me to go, but I was too tired, so I said no. If I had been there….."
"Then there might have been three agents in the operating room.
Napoleon continued to sit beside him, this time his hand on Illya's shoulder. He knew they could do nothing until the surgery was over, but felt that keeping his partner's mind off what was going was the best way to prevent the Russian from doing something he might regret later.
"How did UNCLE find them?" he asked.
Illya handed him an envelope. On the front was written his name and the word urgent. Inside was a piece of paper that said, "Check behind 555 55th Street for missing cousins." A spider was drawn on the bottom of the perfumed letter.
The aroma of Chanel #5 brought a smile to Napoleon's face. "Angelique?" he asked.
"It would seem. I just do not understand why she would have had it delivered to me."
"I believe she knew I was in Paris at the time," Napoleon said. "I wonder how she's involved in this situation."
"She had better hope that she is not involved in it," Illya warned whipping his head toward Napoleon.
"Come on partner, she may be on the other side, but this isn't her style. Besides, she wouldn't have helped if she'd been responsible."
"Sometimes you have a blind spot where that woman is concerned."
Illya knew he was being unfair to his partner, but his concern about his sister overrode his normal ability to ignore Napoleon's soft spot for this woman.
Napoleon didn't answer him, and just shook his head as he watched the door to the operating room in silence.
He had changed his lifestyle when he met Jo, and she was the reason he no longer came back from an assignment wanting a woman to help him forget. Being a Section Two agent herself, she knew what he went through and just holding one another was often enough to remind them that they weren't robots but sensitive human beings. He couldn't lose her now.
Yes, he still liked to flirt and have women want him. Whether UNCLE, Thrush or innocents he loved women, but it was Jo he wanted to spend his life with.
A few minutes later Illya said, "I am sorry. That was unfair."
"It was, but I understand where it's coming from. Angelique may work for Thrush but does have some scruples. She didn't have to help us, and my guess is this attack wasn't something that Thrush sanctioned."
"If not Thrush then who?" Illya asked.
That was a question that they needed answered, and why these two specific agents.
Hours later, a tired doctor exited the operating theater shaking his head while he approached the men.
"Doctor?" Napoleon asked not sure what he was about to hear.
"They're alive. I'm always amazed at the will power of you Section Two agents. By all rights, neither of them should have made it. The hypothermia caused by the low temperatures outside is the only thing that saved them. It slowed the bleeding and decreased their vital signs enough to allow their body to maintain life until we found them."
"How bad are they?" Napoleon asked.
"A few broken ribs that punctured their lungs needed surgery. Miss Kuryakin has a tear in her liver that we repaired. Mr. Petros has a broken arm while both have contusions on some of their internal organs and bruising body wise. We're looking at a stay for at least a few weeks, and then desk duty for a couple more, but no permanent damage. They'll live to wind up in this shape again."
"Thank you," Illya stood, "Which room?"
The doctor knew that neither man would leave the two injured agents until they became conscious. He had stopped long ago trying to prevent one agent from sitting with another
"Room 4 but when they do wake up don't tire them out. They'll need all the rest they can get."
Illya and Napoleon waited in silence in the rooms for Jo and Andreas to arrive.
It was not long afterwards that Andreas and Jo were wheeled in and transferred to their beds. After attaching all the tubes to there proper connections, the nurses left the agents alone.
Napoleon took the chair between the two beds, while Illya pulled his chair up to the other side of Jo's bed.
Most of the night passed with nursing frequently checking on their patients. When they started to breathe on their own, the respirator alarm would go off each time their breathing interrupted the machines function. When they improved, their artificial airways were removed.
Andreas opened his eyes first as the dawn rose. His sounds woke Napoleon who quickly offered him some ice chips.
"Jo?" Andreas crocked out.
"Right next to you buddy. Doctor said you'll both be okay."
"Not yet," Napoleon smiled. "She still needs a little more beauty sleep."
A moan from Andreas had Napoleon calling for the nurse, who arrived to administer pain medication and within a minute Andreas was back asleep.
It was another hour before Jo opened her eyes. The first thing she noticed was the white wall of medical. She could hear the beeping of the monitor above her head.
Turning her head to the right she saw her partner in the next bed, and Napoleon sleeping in the chair between them. On the left was an IV pole with four bags of fluids on it, each pumping something into her. Illya was asleep in a chair on that side.
She could feel the tubes exiting different parts of her body. Bandages covered her body, and every inch of her was screaming out in pain. The slightest movement caused a cry of pain.
Illya and Napoleon woke instantly. Illya offered her ice chips for her dry mouth.
"Andreas?" she nodded in his direction.
It was always the partner they asked about first before themselves, the CEA thought.
"He is going to be fine just like you." Illya answered her as he helped her move into a more comfortable position.
Once more Napoleon summoned the nurse. When she arrived, Jo tried to speak to them.
"Wung," she moaned, but the pain medication racing though her system sent her back to sleep before she could say anything else.
An hour later, a nurse returned to inform the two agents that Waverly had sent a message that he wanted to see them immediately.
Entering Waverly's office, they noticed he had a number of reports spread out across the table. "Sit down gentlemen," he said without looking at them.
Both men wondering what it was that had their boss' attention but knew to wait until he spoke.
He looked at them, "How are Miss Kuryakin and Mr. Petros?"
"They'll be fine in a couple of weeks sir," Napoleon reported, surprised that Waverly had asked. Usually he knew everything going on around him.
"Good, good. Has either of them said anything about what happened or who attacked them?"
"My sister said the name Wung before she fell back to sleep. Nothing more," Illya said.
"I'm not surprised that name was mentioned," Waverly said as he passed a few reports around the table. They indicated the deaths of a number of Chinatown leaders who had been assassinated within the last couple of weeks. This included Chinese communities in Vancouver and Montreal, Canada. In the United States, the deaths occurred in New Orleans and Las Vegas.
Waverly continued, "The only connection between these leaders is that they all support the new government of Mao Zedong, and that Wung was seen in the area before each killing. At the site of each death, a Russian Fedorov Avtomat Rifle was found. Also, a Thrush beret. It seems Mr. Wung is trying to set up both organizations to be blamed for the deaths."
"Sir, the USSR and Thrush would never work together. Both would find the other too dominating," Illya knew his country would oppose any inclusion of Thrush in their projects.
"I agree Mr. Kuryakin. No, I think Mr. Wung is trying to cause conflict between major powers. Killing these men on American and Canadian soil involves those countries, the rifle and calling card includes the other groups. Furthermore, he knows that UNCLE will be investigating. All the major players will be the losers if we don't put a stop to this now. Gentlemen, we need to find out what is going on. Mr. Kuryakin, I understand it was Miss La Chien who sent you the message."
"Yes sir," he acknowledged looking toward his partner.
"Do we know why she would have helped us?"
Napoleon cleared his throat, "We're never sure why she does what she does sir."
He thought of the many times her intention was just to get him into bed, but then he used her the same way.
"Can you find her and ask?" Waverly eyed his CEA making him very uncomfortable.
"I believe that I know where she might be found," he confessed.
"Good, take Mr. Kuryakin with you and find out what is going on." With that the agents were dismissed
Wung was an old enemy introduced in The Temples of the Gods Affair.