Lucas Weir was accustomed to victories, both small and large. To have gained Napoleon Solo in his grasp was rather a large victory to Weir's way of thinking, and certainly to THRUSH. He was mildly disappointed that Illya Kuryakin had not accompanied his partner here, something that he would need to rectify. Then again, it was entirely probably that the so-called 'friend' of whom Solo spoke was indeed the elusive Russian agent.
Within a few minutes answers arrived when the doorbell to Weir's apartment rang out and in walked a lovely auburn haired woman who was accompanied by a stylish looking blond man. This then, thought Lucas, was Kuryakin. His satisfaction at that was slightly impeded by the woman, however. She seemed familiar and memory was not engaging for the THRUSH operative.
Weir was immediately in their midst as the four UNCLE agents congregated much as friends would in a new environment. Napoleon feigned delight at the appearance of the couple as he introduced Illya and April to Lucas Weir.
"Lucas, this is Anton and Isabel Duarte. Anton and Isabel, Lucas Weir, our host."
Illya extended his hand while April purred her delight at being invited.
"We've been hearing about you, Mr. Weir…"
Lucas smiled, his attention on the woman in an effort to place her in his extensive file of names and faces.
"Please Isabel, I am Lucas to my friends of whom I hope to count you and Anton."
Illya portrayed himself in a perfect continental posture, his all black ensemble curiously in style. Napoleon noted with some amusement that the trousers were not corduroy, the turtleneck seemed to be cashmere, and the thigh length jacket made of silk. He had a white scarf wrapped loosely around his neck and hanging nearly to his knees. It was in contrast to April's shocking pink mini-dress and thigh high black suede boots. Together, the duo looked as though they had stepped off of a London runway.
April smiled in reply to Weir, prompting Illya into a conversation.
"You are too kind, Lucas. Here we have invaded your party like social paupers, and you welcome us gladly. We are honored to be here."
Weir was pleased. Of course he knew Illya was lying through his teeth in his performance, but he admired these UNCLE agents. Sometimes he wished he could turn his loyalties and join the other side. He wouldn't do it, but they did have their appeal.
"Isabel, you look awfully familiar to me. Have you modeled somewhere?"
The party was escalating as drinks flowed and people were becoming inebriated with liquor and anticipation. These little events at Weir's apartment always tended to loosen up as the hours progressed and the drinks had their effect; following Lucas Weir wasn't merely due to his charisma, the drinks were laced with THRUSH drugs intended to induce a type of mind control. A small army was being assembled under the guise of searching for paradise.
April thought back, trying to place Lucas somewhere in her short tenure with UNCLE, but nowhere did Weir appear.
"I did model some while I was in college. I can't imagine that you would have seen any of that, Lucas. You do flatter me, though."
Illya was immediately concerned. If Weir recognized April he might piece things together, if he hadn't already. Something about this entire set up made the Russian uncomfortable and he found himself searching out some signal from his own partner.
That's when Illya spotted Tammy, the agent who had set up this gambit. She was serving drinks, carrying on in her role as a member of Weir's staff. Tammy Gaines was a new recruit, one of the starry eyed females that had survived Survival School and made it to New York. Even with April Dancer's triumph in Section II, Kuryakin still had some doubts about a few of the women he had seen. Not all of them had April's savvy and ingenuity when it came to dealing with the real world of THRUSH and others like it. He wondered about Tammy as he watched her circulate. She was either really good at this deception, or she was entirely too comfortable in Weir's presence.
Napoleon sensed Illya's apprehension and was beginning to share some of it. Wordlessly the two men agreed that the situation needed careful watching, even as they observed Lucas Weir and April.
Mark Slate had also been keenly observant and was now following Tammy as she ducked into the kitchen. In the most nonchalant posture he could manage, Mark leaned against the wall next to the door and tried to pick up any conversation that might be going on. What he heard shocked him.
"So, is the crowd almost ready?"
It was Tammy who replied to the question.
"Yes, I think so. And the new ones should be coming along as well. I just know they're going to be as enthusiastic as we all are. I'm so glad to be able to share this; so happy that UNCLE is wrong about Lucas."
Mark stood up a little straighter at that, immediately turning his attention back to the three still conversing with Weir. How was he supposed to handle this one? Tammy was obviously compromised, which meant they all were as well. The Englishman juggled several scenarios before heading back to his comrades. When he approached them, he was pulling out a cigarette.
"So, Lucas old man, I seem to have lost my lighter. Could I bother you for one?"
Weir obliged, turning to a nearby cabinet in order to retrieve a lighter for Mark. When Weir's back was turned, Mark signaled with a slicing motion across his neck, a quick and wordless announcement that they had been identified as UNCLE agents.
Illya reached out to grab April by the arm, only to find that she had followed Weir to the cabinet and was attempting to distract him from the other agents. Mark and Napoleon stepped towards the balcony, intending to come up with a quick plan for exiting without endangering any of the partygoers. Illya watched April, unsure as to how he might extricate her without raising any suspicions. He was unprepared for what happened next.
The crowd in the room had become suddenly quite still, as though a spell had been cast without a word. Aside from the four UNCLE agents, only the wait staff was left standing; they and Lucas Weir all shifted their attention to the intruders.
Napoleon and Mark turned as one towards the balcony, only to be met by one of the servers holding a gun pointed directly at the American. April attempted to overcome Weir with a similar threat, only to be overwhelmed by the man's surprisingly agile retreat. At the same moment as her unsuccessful assault, Illya failed to reach the other two before they were hit with THRUSH sleep darts. Napoleon and Mark fell to the floor in a heap as the Russian watched, and then turned abruptly in April's direction. He had no choice but to grab April and pull her out the door and into the corridor where they sprinted for the stairs in a rush to escape pursuit by two more members of Weir's staff.
"What did you mean going after Weir? Couldn't you see that Napoleon and Mark were in trouble?"
April was nearly breathless from the running and her exasperation with Illya. She had tried to help, to disarm Lucas Weir. Why was that now responsible for what had happened to her and Illya's partners?
"I'm sorry, Illya. I thought that I could take him… Can you hear anyone coming?"
Illya had stopped, pulling April in close to him as they listened for footsteps. They had run down the stairs until reaching the ninth floor, then taken the elevator down to the lobby. Descending lights had spurred them towards the service entry in the back of the building, and now they were in an alley that defied the otherwise well appointed complex.
Kuryakin didn't want to argue with the younger agent. The female agent. He also didn't want to disregard her abilities because she was a woman, but he had to wonder if a man would have been able to take Weir where she had failed to do so.
"It isn't your fault, April. I apologize. I should have done something, but at the moment we seem to have been outnumbered and …"
April caught her breath; looking at the man next to her she wondered about the scene upstairs. Someone had compromised the mission, and it wasn't any of them. That meant Tammy Gaines, and for the life of her, April couldn't figure out why.
"Illya, the only person who could have fingered us is …"
"Tammy Gaines. I know. Watching her in that room made me wonder about her; I should have acted sooner.'
So there it was. It would do no good to look back now.
"We need to go back for Napoleon and Mark, if they're still up there. Weir has a reputation for brokering with THRUSH, and he's certain to offer up Napoleon for a bonus."
That remark made April look up at her companion with a start.
"What about Mark? Is he valuable enough…?"
Illya regretted causing concern, but the truth was he didn't know.
"He may be… I honestly don't know. Napoleon is CEA of this region, though, and therefore…"
A clicking noise halted the conversation.