A few moments later, as he lowered himself to a catwalk, still unnoticed by anyone including THRUSH security, he nearly jumped out of his skin as a sharp somewhat southern accent assaulted his ears.
"Larry, when I said you should check out the security, I did not mean you should ninja your cute ass all over the building. I have been waiting to introduce you to Mr. Faversham and Mr. Darnall." He turned slowly. She was alone, but she was carrying a THRUSH style communicator. "I have told them all about you and how outstanding the surgery was to straighten your nose so it's a perfect match. Now come along. You don't want to be in the way while they assemble the big ole computer so they can ask it a couple more questions about our ideas." With an odd combination of grace and arms akimbo, she managed to keep from sticking a stiletto heel though the grid and hurry to the stairs that would lead them down.
Once down, she continued the somehow harsh burble about his looking just like that obnoxious Russian fellow the UNCLE had in their office here and how she was certain he could be of assistance in their little ole plan to make the opposition look no how.
Giles Faversham gave him the once over and dismissed him from his thoughts. Royke Darnall, Faversham's second in command, ran his sharp black eyes up and down the slim, fair haired figure, his even dark brows pulling together slightly. He muttered something in Russian. Illya paused long enough to seem to be thinking of an answer and then produced his utterly perfect words.
"My grandmother spoke nothing but Russian when she lived with us," he added. "She was very stern if we were not letter perfect in our use of the language." Somehow the words conjured a vision of an old school matriarch with a wooden ruler in her hand for disciplining unruly and imperfect students.
Darnall nodded. "You're lucky Solo's not working with him anymore."
Illya produced a grin. "True, the old rascal would've been hard to get past. With him and Waverly out of the picture, this will be far easier. I'm told most of the agents in the local office tend to steer clear of the Russian." He tossed the words off lightly, concealing how much they hurt as he always did. His armor continued in place.
"Excellent," Faversham gave his opinion. "Your first objective is to start tarnishing Mr. Kuryakin's reputation. You'll find a complete briefing packet in Miss Lavender's office. Good luck." They were dismissed with a wave of his hand.
"Miss Lavender?" he repeated softly as she led him through a rabbit warren of machinery and technicians. Was that a giggle?
At the end of a corridor he found oddly reassuring in its lack of brushed steel and chrome accoutrements, she unlocked a door and ushered him into a corner office with a good view of the city. Wait, they were still underground, as far as he knew.
"Projection. I guess they have a camera upstairs and it feeds down here." She placed one slim hand on the surface, disrupting the view as it colored her hand. "This is very cool."
His momentary partner stepped over to a closet and opened it. Inside, a petite woman, wrists and ankles secured, a gag in her mouth, slumbered propped up in a back corner. "I suppose I'll have to let her go at some point. Dehydration and malnutrition would be uncivilized."
"I doubt she'd feel the same about you."
"That's what makes us the good guys," she pointed out in a conspiratorial whisper. "By the way, all the monitoring gadgets are in the top drawer on the right. And this would appear to be the file."
Elsewhere in the installation, Royke Darnall looked at his superior curiously. "She didn't find the last camera."
"I didn't intend her to do so, the real Lavender or not. So. Mr. Kuryakin is working field again." A faint smile curved his lips. "This should be amusing."
"Let them continue?"
"It is her idea that the only way to get him functioning at peak again is to let this charade play out."
Darnall's wolf grin split his face. "Omega section down, Faversham up," he agreed with a nod. Now, if Omega would just take the bait.
"Mr. Solo, this is unacceptable behavior," the woman in the starched white outfit told him. From the small white cap set precisely on her golden hair to the crepe soled white shoes at the ends of her elegant legs, she was the epitome of what a nurse should look like. She oozed efficiency and just a touch of sex appeal. The man in the wheel chair staring out the window took note of neither. For over a year the handsome dark haired man had remained essentially catatonic. Occasionally his pupils would dilate or shrink, he ate if someone put food in his mouth, but on the whole, Napoleon Solo was non-responsive and no one knew why.
She stepped around to the front of the chair, pushing it back slightly and then crouching to stare into the man's eyes. "Really, Napoleon? Is this the way you want to go out? A pale ghost of the man you were? We want you back in the saddle."
Nothing, he never blinked, never moved.
She looked up at the sweet faced new doctor and shook her head. "Nothing. I suspect we could do a strip tease in front of him and it wouldn't get through. How's your research coming?"
The younger woman shook her head. "I've got the files, but I can't seem to make much headway, so much is under security lock down. Get him settled for dinner and come help me decipher things?"
"Certainly, Dr. Vale. I'll be along soon." She turned back to Napoleon. "Well, Mr. Solo, it's time to get ready for dinner. Come along." She pushed the chair out of the sitting room at a brisk pace.
AN: OK, apparently I didn't kill him after all. I wonder what I did do to him?