Originally written 2005
We first hear of Code 20-A in the Brain Killer Affair
Alexander Waverly is once again down only this time it goes one step further - he's missing.
Illya Kuryakin was reclining in his partner’s chair, his feet propped atop the desk, reading a new ‘technical journal’. The type of ‘journal’ that contained the centerfold that unfolded with the staple in the middle of the picture. It was a secret pleasure for him and evidently for Napoleon as well since he kept the magazine locked away in a drawer. Suddenly the sound of a klaxon blared throughout the building. It could only mean one thing - Alexander Waverly, head of the U.N.C.L.E. North America, was down. He was on his feet in an instant; hurriedly he tossed the magazine back into the drawer and as an afterthought relocked it.
Grabbing his jacket, he rushed out of the office, working his arms into the sleeves as he passed other agents, guns drawn, as they too raced toward Waverly’s office. Getting there he pushed his way though to the front of the crowd finding Mr. Waverly’s right hand girl, Lisa Rogers, standing there looking dazed.
“What happened?” he demanded.
She came out of her trance long enough to point toward the office. “He’s not - there.”
Illya entered the familiar office, coming to a stop midway into the room paused and did a one-hundred and eighty degree circle. His eyes scanned the room, first the communication console behind the circular desk, then the picture window, on to the couch against the wall, and finding everything in place. Lisa was correct, Waverly wasn’t there. Napoleon Solo as number 1, section 2 should have been notified right away. Since he wasn’t available that left Illya in charge. Turning back to the anxious faces in the hallway he started barking orders. “Contact Mr. Solo, Code 20-A.”
“You,” Illya ordered, pointing to someone in the hall. “Seal off this floor. Get George Dennel up here to go over the room.” Then turning to Lisa Rogers he asked, “When was the last time you saw him?”
Napoleon Solo was embracing an extremely attractive woman; their kisses had long since passed the steamy stage. She had just pulled back breathlessly and rose from the sofa to purr, “Darling, I’ll be right back.”
When she reached her bedroom door, she turned, looked over her shoulder and sensually ran a wet tongue over her lips while she fluttered her eyelashes. “After I get into something more comfortable.” Her look promised much.
Napoleon smiled in anticipation, then his communicator started to chirp. Patting his pocket, he pulled the pen out. He moved away from the sofa to find a more private place to take his ‘call’.
“Solo,” he answered, his eyes still on the bedroom door, his smile still firmly in place.
A feminine voice carried over the airway saying briskly, “Code 20-A. ETA?”
Solo’s smile quickly turned to a frown as he checked his watch and made a quick calculation.
“11:45,” he responded tersely before closing the channel. He put his pen away just as his date for the evening reentered the room dressed, or in this case barely dressed, in a rather seductive negligee. With a sigh of disappointment and a final kiss, Solo made his excuses and left.
By the time he reached headquarters his mindset was all business, he’d put his date and his plans for her a thing of the past from the minute he reached his car. He entered through the agents’ entrance and was greeted by the receptionist who fastened his badge to his tuxedo. She tilted her head to one side and informed him, “Mr. Kuryakin is waiting for you in Mr. Waverly’s office.”
Giving her a parting smile along with a sly wink, Napoleon moved on through the sliding doors into the main maze of corridors that encompass the U.N.C.L.E. He made his way to Waverly’s office slipping through the stream of people that were rushing this way and that, a somewhat unusual occurrence for that time of night. Entering Waverly’s office he stopped to see his partner, sitting in Waverly’s chair, his shirtsleeves rolled up, going through a pile of folders, scattered across Mr. Waverly’s desk.
The swishing of the door opening caused Illya to glance up as his partner entered into the room. A sly smile lit his face and without a word he pulled out his handkerchief to pass it to U.N.C.L.E.’s CEA (Chief Enforcement Agent) pointing to a lipstick spot on his face.
A bemused Napoleon wet the cloth and wiped the spot indicated. The lipstick print explained the mischievous glint that had been in Illya’s eyes. Giving a ‘what did you expect’ shrug, Napoleon asked, “What happened?”
Illya leaned back in Waverly’s chair and sighed. “We are not sure. Sara left him in his office, alone, at around seven o’clock; Lisa took over shortly thereafter. When Lisa entered with Mr. Waverly’s usual nine o’clock tea he was…. gone.”
Napoleon’s eyebrows drew up in disbelief.
Illya shrugged in response. “We’ve checked all the entrances and have gone over all the tapes. There is no sign of him leaving. Not this office or the building.”
“That’s impossible,” stated Napoleon firmly.
“Impossible or no, that is what happened.”
George Dennel, who had been quietly examining the room, came over. “I’ve gone over the entire room. It’s clean as the proverbial whistle. I plan to return to my department and check out the records there and see if I can come up with anything else. See you guys later.”
“So, we’re ruling out kidnapping?” Napoleon turned back to his partner.
“We have not ruled out anything. I’ve been going over his files,” Illya said as he waved to the folders that covered the round table. “There is nothing here that could…” his Russian accent growing more pronounced signaling his frustration. He sent a sly glance toward his partner before suggesting. “Why don’t you go change, unless you prefer to impress the secretaries with that tux?”
Napoleon glanced down at his tuxedo. Somehow during the activities of the evening it had lost its pristine look and several buttons were in the wrong holes. He started to correct that situation, but stopped when he decided Illya was right. Nodding, he set out toward his office, glad that he kept a change of clothing there.
The first thing he did was to sit his desk and take out the special key he kept hidden, unlocking one of the drawers. He couldn’t help but notice right away that something was wrong; his magazine which he usually kept face up was now lying upside down. His eyes became mere slits and he uttered just one word, “Illya.” Who else would enter his office and invade the privacy of a locked drawer. The corner of his mouth twitched, it seemed you can’t trust anyone. He started to relock the drawer then thought better of it, since Illya had already managed to get into the drawer there no longer seemed a point to it.
Freshly dressed, Napoleon reentered Waverly’s office just as Illya smoothly rose to switch places. Sitting down he glanced sideways at the Russian and muttered, “You could buy your own copy, you know?”
Illya looked at him, blinked as he wondered what Napoleon was talking about. Once he realized, a small slightly embarrassed smile lit his face. He considered playing innocent, but decided there was no need and shrugged. His frugal ways were well known, besides it was more fun getting into places that were supposed to be off limits.
Napoleon shook his head, letting that matter slide. He looked over the information that Illya had organized for him and continued, “So what brings you here at this time of night?”
“There was nothing better to do and my air-conditioning is out…again,” Illya grumbled
“You‘re always welcome to use my spare room. I even have color TV,” Napoleon offered.
Illya smiled his thanks as he shook his head negatively.
Napoleon shrugged. “It’s your loss,” he said as he continued to sort through all the reports Illya had gathered. Finally leaning back he stated, “You’re right. We have a visual as well as a written record of him entering this morning at eight o’clock. Not to mention a complete list of everyone he saw from that time on.”
Illya interrupted, “They are all being questioned to see if there was anything said, no matter how small, that could be of any help.”
Napoleon nodded his approval. “Sara is positive that he was here when she left at seven, but Lisa can not verify that he was here when she arrived.”
Illya shrugged. “She had no reason to enter the office until nine.”
“Soooo, he most probably disappeared sometime between seven and nine.” His eyes squinted he looked around the room. “The question is how?”
Illya grunted his agreement.
Napoleon rubbed his face with his hands. They had been at this for hours and were still no closer to an answer. He’d gotten back into town late and immediately changed for his date that night, so that explained why he was tired. His partner had to be tired as well, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. “Why don’t you get some rest?” he offered, taking a sip of coffee that one of the secretaries had so kindly provided them with.
Illya looked up from the papers he had been going over. “I am no more tired than you are, my friend. This is more important. When we have located Mr. Waverly then I will rest.”
Napoleon sighed and shook his head; there was no arguing with the adamant Russian. That led his thought to a topic that had been at the back of his mind for some time, yet never asked about. “Illya?”
His partner looked up again.
“Why is it you never speak in your native tongue?” He himself sometimes called Illya ‘tovarish’, but with Illya it was always ‘my friend’.
Illya looked at him amused. “You are getting punchy; perhaps you are the one that should rest.”
Napoleon smiled back. “You could be right. But seriously, why don’t you?”
Illya set the papers he’d been studying down and considered.
“Napoleon, not everyone...,” how could he phrase this. “My accent alone gives many people…what is the word…cause for concern. Much less my actually speaking…”
Napoleon looked shocked. “Aw, come on, this is a free country.”
“Only to some,” Illya said softly, looking down. “Could we please change the subject?”
Napoleon nodded but made a mental note to find out which people had ‘cause for concern’.
Illya got up and started pacing the office; the question had bothered him and he didn’t like thinking about it. Then he had an idea. He looked from one wall to another. “Napoleon? Where are the blue prints of this office?”
Napoleon sorted through all the papers spread on the desk and finally pulled one free. The two men stood over it and studied the dimensions. Then Illya mentally went over the dimensions of the actual room. There was a shortage, but where?
They had gone over every inch of the room and were on the last wall. Napoleon was running his hands down a certain section, when he felt rather than heard a click. He moved back just in time to miss being hit in the nose by a section of wall, as it swung open.
The two agents came and stood side-by-side and stared - at another wall. This one had a large, and rather ugly, painting on it. Napoleon sighed. “Well, it’s no Picasso.”
Illya gave him a look of amusement as he ran his fingers over the picture, a large bowl of fruit. The pear in the picture looked out of place and as Illya’s fingers touched it, he found a depression and the frame slowly swung open.
Both agents backed away before moving forward again. What they found was a doorway with a voice-activated lock. Napoleon looked at the Russian. “I’d heard rumors that there was a fifth entrance.”
Illya nodded. “Evidently it’s not a rumor any longer.”
“So, now what?” Napoleon asked.
“Usually people use something easy to remember, something familiar to them, such as a birthday or anniversary,” Illya suggested.
Napoleon went back to the desk and thumbed a button. “Lisa, we’re going to need a few dates. Mr. Waverly’s birth date, his anniversary…”
“The date he started with U.N.C.L.E,” Illya threw in.
“Any dates you can think of that Mr. Waverly might use,” Napoleon finished.
Lisa returned shortly with four pages of dates. Her eyes went wide when she saw the opened wall.
“You never saw that,” Illya said, his eyes going over the pages in his hands.
She just nodded as she backed out of the room.
They had gone over half of the dates when Napoleon suggested it might be programmed to Waverly’s voice. They had passed this thought on to George and he had confirmed that that might be the case.
Illya who had entertained friends with his uncanny imitation of Mr. Waverly started over again. Nothing. Illya was about to suggest using explosives when Napoleon suggested facetiously, “Why don’t you try Open Sesame?”
Illya gave him a look that clearly suggested what he could do with that idea. Then he considered that he had nothing to lose and cleared his throat. “Open Sesame,” he said in a perfect imitation of Alexander Waverly. Much to their surprise the door opened leading into a tunnel.
The agents, after much deliberation and with flashlights in hand, had decided to follow the tunnel. Their lights flashed against the dark, damp wall along the way until they reached the end of the tunnel and found another doorway. Unlike the other doorway, this one had just an ordinary handle. They opened it to find themselves inside a subway station. Looking back at the door, the sign hanging on it said ‘Broom Closet’.
As people kept rushing around them Napoleon stated the obvious, “Okay, what do we have…a secret wall with a secret door and a secret tunnel.”
“That leads to a subway station,” Illya finished.
Napoleon ran his hand through his hair and looked around. He spotted a large sign that said ‘Waverly’s Way’. “You don’t suppose?” he asked looking at Illya.
Illya shrugged as they went over to the sign. They regarded it far a few minutes, and then Illya pushed on sending it swinging inward. The two agents looked at each other before cautiously entering yet another tunnel. When they arrived at the end finding just an opening, no door, and exiting they found to their surprise a limousine waiting for them.
“Mr. Waverly sends his regards,” the chauffeur said.
With great reluctance they entered the limo and were whisked away to Mr. Waverly’s home. The chauffeur doffed his hat to them as he let them out before returning to the driver’s seat and driving away. The two agents approached the front door and knocked. An English butler opened it and promptly led the way to the dining room where Mr. and Mrs. Waverly were seated eating breakfast. Two additional places had been set and Mr. Waverly motioned for his agents to take their places. The two agents looked at each other and silently sat down where he had indicated while the butler brought out plates of egg, bacon, toast, and coffee as well as juice. Mr. Waverly looked at them with disapproval as they started to attack their plates. Checking his pocket watch he sternly stated, “Gentlemen, it is now eight o’clock. I had expected you here at least half an hour earlier. Perhaps next time you will do better.”