The new transfer from UNCLE London sat next to Napoleon's desk as the CEA explained how he liked his section to write mission reports. "Basically, Mr. Slate, it's pretty much what you were used to in London with the exceptions I just mentioned. Any questions or comments?"
The man smiled serenely. "About paperwork, no, sir. Please, Mr. Solo, call me Mark. When do I meet my partner? I was told that I would be assigned a partner in New York."
"And so you will, Mark, but first, promise you will call me Napoleon. Only The Old Man stands on formality at all times."
Mark laughed and held out his hand. As Napoleon shook it, Mark said, "It's a deal, mate. Now, about my partner…"
Napoleon sat back. "Yes, about your partner," he replied, "Mr. Waverly handpicked someone he thinks, as I do, will complement your skill set splendidly. A new Survival School graduate; top scores in firearms, hand to hand combat and communications. Someone Mr. Waverly feels will be a future rising star in the organization."
The Brit's eyes widened. "Cor blimey, "Oo is this superstar? Wot's 'is name? Am I going to be able to measure up?"
Napoleon grinned, "Mr. Waverly and I have no qualms about your ability to 'measure up.'" He glanced at his watch. "She should be here any moment."
Mark was gobsmacked. "She?" he repeated incredulously.
Napoleon was watching him closely. "Yes. She," he repeated, "the first woman to complete Survival School. She not only finished, she finished near the top of her class. The Old Man and I spent many an hour going through personnel files looking for the right agent, the right man, to partner her. She and the man who will be her partner will face challenges no other team will. You might face resentment from your fellow agents. Until your reputations are solidified, THRUSH might target you as a weaker team because half of it is female. We already know she is up to the challenge and looking forward to proving the Doubting Thomases wrong. I think we picked the right man. Do you?"
"Aye, Napoleon, I will try my best to be a good partner. When you said 'she' I admit, you surprised me, but you and I both know that Jules Cutter holds everyone to the same standards and if he says she's a capable agent, then she is a capable agent. I look forward to meeting her."
A huge smile broke out on Napoleon's face. "That is exactly what I hoped to hear! Follow me, please."
They headed to Communications where the new agent was studying the new system. When the pneumatic door swished open to admit them, she turned around. Napoleon stepped between them and said, "April Dancer, it is my pleasure to introduce to you your new partner, Mark Slate, formerly of the London office."
They shook hands and said hello. After a few awkward seconds, Mark asked, "'Ow about you and me go down to the Commissary, get a cuppa and start to get to know each other? Our first mission will be in a week so we don't 'ave a lot of time."
April smiled and said, "That sounds like a good idea, Mark." As they went out the door, Napoleon could hear April saying, "I have a habit of calling friends 'Darling.' Is that a problem for you?"
Mark smiled back and replied, "No. Luv, no problem at all." They laughed and took the left to head to the Commissary as Napoleon went right to go back to his office.
When he got there, Illya was sitting at his desk. The Russian looked up and asked, "How did it go with Dancer and Slate?"
Napoleon stuck his hands into his pockets and leaned against the file cabinets. "It went well. Something tells me they are going to work out and be an excellent team."
Illya grinned, "As good as we are?"
Napoleon pushed off the cabinets and went to sit at his desk. "Don't be ridiculous."