It was a chilly day outside in New York City, and Waverly refused to turn the heater on in the underground base beneath Del Floria's Tailor Shop. Therefore, Napoleon Solo stood shivering in his winter jacket in the mercifully semi-heated environment in the shop entrance, considering banding all the other cold agents together and getting them to sign a protest letter to the old man when Illya Kuryakin walked in the front door, his face calm but cheerful, blond hair tussled slightly by the cold wind outside. His black business suit was flecked with snowflakes, but he wasn't wearing a monster jacket like the one Napoleon had been forced to wear.
"Good morning, Napoleon," Illya smiled briefly at his partner then frowned slightly, "What's the matter with you?"
Napoleon simply glared at the Russian enviously.
"Cold?" Illya asked in surprise, "This? Ah, nyet, this is nothing! Let▓s go inside."
With that, Illya and Napoleon headed through the secret door and down an elevator into the headquarters of the U.N.C.L.E., the latter counting the ways he was going to murder his cold-blooded partner.
"Ah, Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin," Waverly recognized them as they stepped into the control room, seemingly unaware of Napoleon's glowering mood, "Come in, I have a job for you - And what is the mater with you, Mr. Solo?"
"It's cold, sir!" Napoleon answered through chattering teeth. The unphased Russian rolled his eyes and continued on towards the desk Waverly had just stood up from.
"Good heavens, Mr. Solo, it's not Antarctica," Waverly reproved the young agent, then turned to introduce the two agents' new case.
"You will be investigating a UFO crash."
Illya looked up at Waverly, his blue eyes wide with surprise.
"You can't be serious!"
"Oh but I am, Mr. Kuryakin," Waverly replied, quite seriously, "and you two will be the first ones on the scene. The President will make sure of that."
FBI Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, 7:53 AM
Special Agent Erin Samantha Tucker received the call that morning, to report to Special Agent Cooper's office to receive a quick briefing, unofficial of course, on her next mission.
As she walked into the tidy, dim office of the X Files' head agent, Nya couldn't help but feel a slight wash of deja vu. Every little adventure seemed to always start out this way. The sunlight from the opened, second-story window glistened on her red, highlighted hair, which had been cut choppishly at shoulder length. Her blue eyes took in her surroundings wearily, the dust specks floating in the air like the spunky, charming freckles on her small, impish face.
"Nobody here but the FBI's most unwanted," Mulder, a nice man with a wife and two kids already, had told the young Texan when she had just started. Erin couldn't help but wonder what that said about the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation viewed her and her reputation.
"Agent Tucker," Cooper said in acknowledgment as she entered, "Have a seat. I've got a new assignment for you, and it's a hot one."
"Hot?" Erin smiled slightly, "How so?"
Cooper laughed slightly at the typical avoidance of small talk. Erin had always been very matter of fact, despite her wild habits and strong southern accent.
"It's a ▒suspected▓ UFO crash-landing," he explained to her grimly, "But there's a problem."
"Pray tell?" Tucker prompted simply, raising one long, pretty eyebrow.
"U.N.C.L.E.'s determined to get to it first."
Erin Tucker sighed and looked at one hand which lay in her lap morosely. "Great," she answered him ironically, "And let me guess - I'm supposed to get there before they do."
"Spot on," Cooper replied sternly, "And then tell them some quick little story about how you're there representing the FBI's interests in this matter if they catch you. Got it?"
"Yes, sir," Tucker replied, standing, "I do."
"Here's tickets to the crash site," Cooper said, handing her a small white envelope, "Plane leaves in about an hour."
Somewhere in the Arizona desert Tuesday, 12:20 PM
Amal huffed as she kicked her viper wing which immediately creaked, a panel falling off. Exasperated she fell to her knees, pulling off her gloves, helmet, and the top half of her uniform. She pressed her com on her wrist, hoping to the gods it worked still after the crash. Who knows, the Pegasus could be out of range.
"Shortstop to Prometheus, can you hear me?" Amal asked, using her call-sign. She let her wrist fall as she waited for an answer, looking at her viper sadly. It was in poor condition. She stood, still waiting for an answer, climbing up to look into the cockpit. It wasn't too heavily damaged but if she didn't stop that fire there wouldn't be anything left to salvage.
"Shortstop to Prometheus, do you read?" Amal asked, hoping they were just recovering from the fact that she'd crashed and could really hear her. She begged the gods in her mind that they could hear her and were just wasting time. She looked around at where she was.
She was in the middle of a desert, which was strangely perfect for this type of situation, although not exactly the ideal situation for a crash landing. She wondered if that toaster who'd shot her down was still out there, waiting to pick her off. She ignored that morbid thought and again tried to contact the Prometheus.
"Shortstop to Prometheus, come in." She said, though she knew she wouldn't get an answer. "Frak," she swore, sighing. It was no use standing around and letting them think she's dead. Reaching into the cockpit she pulled out a small fire extinguisher, made exactly for situations like this. Amal was glad there was only a small fire on the center thruster. Though any fire was bad, if it was just one engine damaged she might be able to take off still.
"Come on baby," Amal said sweetly, as if she were talking to her own child. Not that she had a child. She pulled the pin on the extinguisher and pressed the handle down. It spurted out a little foam and then sprayed full force onto the fire. Amal smiled, spraying the fire for a full minute before stopping and waiting a moment. Satisfied that the fire was out she checked the rest of the ship for damages, yet unaware of the fact that there was life on this planet. And definitely unaware that the life on this planet knew where she was, and was heading her way.
UFO Crash Site Arizona Desert Wednesday, 12:22 PM
A day later, Agents Solo and Kuryakin had made their way into the Arizona desert, and could now see the crashed UFO. Illya was miserable, feeling suffocated in the nearly unbearable heat. Much to the contrary, however, Napoleon hopped out of the jeep and went over to the passenger's side to peer at the sweating Russian through the window.
"Good Morning, Illya! What's the matter with you?"
The Russian glared at his American partner and got out of the car, taking off his business jacket, although still feeling sweltered while wearing a simple shirt, jeans, and tie.
"You've got to be kidding me," he moaned, "It's hot!"
"Naah, this?" Napoleon answered vengefully, "This is nothing!"
Another glower from the Russian, along with a couple of native curses and accusations from the heart of the Soviet Union.
"Wait," Napoleon said, "I just saw something move out there."
Illya immediately turned towards the crash site curiously. "Where?"
"Out there," Napoleon pointed at the wrecked spaceship, "In that wreckage."
The two agents quickly moved in the direction of the wreckage, leaving behind the abandoned tents and equipment that had been set up at the order of the president so the agents would have a good workplace. Nevertheless, the wreck was still a good mile or so away, and on foot...It was murder, Illya decided, trying to ignore the cold chill that ran down his spine as he looked at the extraterrestrial wreck, hoping that it wasn't the first sign of a heat stroke.
Amal hadn't slept a single second since she'd crashed, thankful that it was clear where she'd crashed so she could see clearly as she worked using the light of this planet's singular moon. She was distracted, which was why she didn't see or hear Agents Kuryakin and Solo's approach. Her black vest and her plain white tank top were drenched in her sweat.
"Damn it!" Amal swore loudly, surprised that her voice didn't echo as she examined her FTL. It was totally ruined. She'd put off looking at it and repairing it until last, because this was exactly what she was afraid of. Running her hand through her hair she sighed. Shaking her head and wiping the sweat from her face she sat down in the cockpit, her head leaning back against the seat.
The sun made the back of her eyelids red. She was going to die in this heat if she didn't get her bird into the air. Shaking her head she stood, looking out at the desert. As she turned she noticed something moving towards her. At first she thought she was imagining things, but then she realized she wasn't. Someone was there!
"Frak me," she muttered, pulling out her sidearm from its holster attached to her right thigh and aiming it at the people. She couldn't yet see their faces, and it was better to apologize for aiming a gun in someone's face than get shot or captured by skin jobs because you didn't.
Illya saw the drawn weapon, and quickly drew his semi-automatic. Napoleon did the same, though neither fired.
"It's alright," Napoleon told the woman distinctly. From what he could see of her through the humid atmosphere, she was very beautiful for an E.T. "We mean you no harm. I'm Special Agent Napoleon Solo, and this is my partner, Mr. Illya Kuryakin. We won't fire unless you do."
Illya watched the alien carefully to see what she would do. Call him paranoid, but what assurance did they have that this was what the alien really looked like? She could be a shape shifter, or be using a holo-projector of some sort...hell, 'she' could even be an 'it', for all they knew.
Amal narrowed her eyes at the man who spoke. Napoleon? What a strange name. She gazed behind them, seeing jeep they'd arrived in. She was surprised that they had technology here. Was this really Earth? She also noticed that there weren't any centurions around. Skin jobs never went anywhere without one of those older model toasters to back them up. She lowered her weapon, though only partially.
She gazed at them both, saying nothing. The blonde, who hadn't yet spoken, drew her attention more than the one who had. Illya. He had a kind look about his eyes and the yellow straw color of his hair reminded her of her friend Killjoy. His hair was the same color. She wondered absently if Killjoy was looking for her, if the Prometheus even knew that she was missing yet. They'd been under a lot of heavy fire when she was shot down.
This ┘ Napoleon character. His features were harsher, more prominent. But just as reminding of her of home. The Ex. O. of the Prometheus had the same double chin and a somewhat similar partially hooked nose. But he clearly wasn't her type. Loud, and somewhat full of himself it seemed. Too obnoxious.
But Illya, he seemed like someone she could trust. She didn't keep her thoughts on their features for long. She knew how skin jobs worked. They whittled their way into your hearts and then back stabbed you like the machines they were.
Infiltrate. Destroy. That seemed to be their only mission and she wouldn't allow the way these men appeared to affect her judgment. She raised her weapon back up, still not speaking. She didn't trust her voice at the moment. Illya's finger tensed on the trigger as the young woman raised her weapon again.
"Please lower your weapon," Solo advised her calmly, reassuringly, "We're not going to hurt you. Do you know where you are?"
Illya continued to study the extraterrestrial in wary distrust. She seemed Human enough but there was still something about her that was all too alien.
"Earth," Amal said, looking at Solo with an amazed glance. It's as if he thought she was stupid. "I'll lower mine if you lower yours. I'm not unintelligent Mr. Solo, though with the way you both are dressed out here you both seem to be of a low IQ." Amal said, her face not betraying how amazed she was at what she'd just said. It was so rude, and so... daring! She loved it and a smile twitched at her mouth but she resisted.
She glanced down at what she herself was wearing. Her sweat soaked tank top and vest, her thick and insulated pants not helping her at all. In all honesty, they were more properly dressed than she was, but considering they were in the middle of nowhere she looked more at home. "To the contrary," Napoleon smiled back, "We both have a very satisfactory IQ. Right, Illya?"
Illya glanced at his friend, then returned his sharp gaze to the alien.
"Right," he said, not really willing to play word games with this woman, who was aiming a highly advanced weapon at both of them, "Now, miss, if you will lower your weapon, perhaps we can help you."
He couldn't believe he'd just offered to help a complete stranger. However, orders were orders, and Waverly had said to be nice to the alien.
"Well unless you have a spare FTL drive lying around, I don't really think either of you could help me." Amal said, lowering her weapon to her side, but not holstering it. She was a terrible shot, but they didn't know that. And the longer they were wary of her, the better. She figured that lowering her sidearm was probably the dumbest thing in the world she could do, but she knew that they'd probably be there for hours if she kept playing the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' game.
"Though some real food would be nice," She added, her stomach reminding lewdly her of the last time she'd eaten. She rested her left hand, the one not holding her weapon, on the side of her viper's cockpit and then swung her legs over the side. She landed on her feet but stumbled a little, the heat and her own natural clumsiness attributing to the ungraceful movement.
Both Napoleon and Illya took a concerned step forward, then stopped as she regained her footing.
"We brought some food with us, and we'd be happy to share it," Napoleon smiled encouragingly at the young lady, "Though I think Illya's already eaten most of it."
The Russian agent glared at Napoleon in return for this snide allusion to his unfathomable appetite. Although the agent managed to keep thin and fit, his constant hunger problem was a common enough joke among the agents at Base 1 who either knew him too well, or didn't know him well enough to know how hard he came down on folks ever time they joked about him.
"I haven't eaten anything yet, Napoleon," he shot back, "but if you're not careful I might eat your head." Turning then to the alien, Illya invited her to follow them to the jeep with a slight motion of his head.
"You haven't told us your name yet," Napoleon reminded her. Illya rolled his eyes in disdain. Didn't Napoleon ever turn the charm off for even a split second!?
"Lieutenant Amal Badr. Sorry about that." Amal said, not noticing the somewhat flirtatious remark. She was too distracted by the thought of real food to care, even if she had noticed. She jabbed a thumb at her viper which had her name and call sign plastered right on the side.
She glanced back, sighing at how much of a wreck her viper was still in. "Gods..." she said as she thought of how much Chief was going to murder her once she saw how frakked up her ship was. Though, considering she'd crash landed, he might just be thankful she's still in one piece.
"What is it?" Napoleon asked as he took the food out of the back of the jeep. Illya looked at the alien woman in slight concern, but figured it was nothing but the way he felt every time he made a mistake on a job. Alexander Waverly was a hard-driving task-master, and when you messed up, all you could expect was trouble, and a five-hour-long lecture.
As Napoleon spitefully offered Illya two MREs instead of the proper one, the Russian glared at him, took the MREs, and handed one of them to the woman standing beside him. Then looking at the contents of the one he was left with, Illya Kuryakin grimaced and tossed it back into the jeep. Somehow, eating a chemically heated chicken and rice MRE in the sweltering hot desert didn't sound very good to him at the moment.
Grabbing the keys from Solo, he headed toward the jeep and started the engine.
"What are you doing?!" Napoleon demanded.
"Getting some kind of cool breeze so our friend doesn't die of heat stroke," Illya shot back, opening the passenger's side door for Amal. "Okay, three things,■ Amal said tossing the MRE back to Solo, "That's not real food, I'm not your friend, and I am NOT getting into that jeep." Amal said her hand tightening on her sidearm. This was turning bad for her fast. She backed away a few paces. Yes, it did look inviting, but lots of things did.
"I'm going back," Amal said continuing her backwards walk to her viper. She really hated this situation now. Trapped on a planet in the middle of a desert, no food, no radio contacts, and stuck with two guys who could easily be skin jobs was NOT her idea of an afternoon. Not to mention the fact that her viper was pretty much trashed. She hoped that if she had to get physical that she'd at least clock one of them in the head, preferably Napoleon. He just really creeped her out.
Illya and Napoleon looked at each other accusingly, and as the woman walked away, Illya quickly spoke up.
"So you think you'll do better without our help?" he challenged her, his Russian accent a bit stronger now that he spoke faster, "You think you'll be able to survive out here in this idiotic terrain alone? Where do you think you'll get food or water? Shto bardachnaya dyela, you'll die of dehydration if you don't die of the heat first. There's barely any shelter out here!"
"I'm sure I would die a worse death if I got inside that jeep," Amal snarled, wondering what he'd said. It wasn't in any language she'd heard before, or if she had heard it before she didn't recognize it. She glanced behind her at her viper. At least twenty paces... she could run it if she tried.
"Besides, I've almost got this thing repaired," she lied, hoping it wouldn't show. She really, really wanted to run. Get away as fast as she could. Her hand shook, terror rushing through her. She was totally frakked.
"We won▓t hurt you," Illya promised her. Napoleon watched with growing concern. If this didn't work, if the alien ran off on them, then Waverly would be more than pissed - he'd be murderous.
"Please," Illya continued calmly, "Trust us."
And save us from the wrath of Waverly, Napoleon thought humorously.
"Trust you?" Amal asked, as if she couldn't believe he'd be so naОve to think she'd trust them. "I'm sorry if my past experiences teach me to be smarter than that." Amal said, her hand shifting its grip on her sidearm so that her finger lay more easily against the trigger.
"I shouldn't even be here," She said spitefully, her eyes almost swelling with tears as she struggled to keep her mind clear. This was why she was never good in face-to-face battle. She started talking and everything just went downhill from there. "F-f-frack," she managed lifting her hands and holding them against her temples, her gun still held tightly in her hand as if it were her life source.
Illya looked shocked, as though confused as to what his next move should be. Instead, Napoleon stepped toward her gently.
"It's alright," he told her soothingly, "I understand everything must seem a little weird to you right now. Just bear with us, okay? We're in unknown territory too, when it comes to contact with, ah, your kind."
Illya then stepped forward, a bit annoyed that Solo had taken over for him, but still a bit relieved.
"You don't have to trust us," he told her, looking into her face, "You can keep your weapon, and you don't have to tell us anything until you're ready. Just let us help you in what ways we can."
Amal said nothing, taking a shaky breath. She just wanted to get in her viper and leave, but that was truly unlikely. She had no idea if the engines would even start, having never had to really repair one she couldn't tell if anything was wrong with it.
She looked up and noticed they'd moved closer. She swore in her mind and swallowed, though it was dry and it hurt to do so. She lowered her hands but kept her sidearm at the ready. After careful deliberation she bit her lower lip, hard until she could gather enough courage.
She turned, and ran. Her legs quickly helped her close the distance between her in her viper. Scooping up her helmet she scrambled towards the cockpit. Moving quickly, Illya grabbed her arm before she managed to attempt take-off.
"You need our help," he told her firmly, "There are other people who will want you for far more drastic reasons. You're safest with us."
The Russian really didn't want to knock her out to complete their mission, but he had made sure that if that was what it took, he would do it without hesitation. For his part, Napoleon hurried to ready a small, had-sized tranquilizer dart gun just in case, making sure to keep it out of the alien's sight.
"Let go of my arm, Illya," Amal said warningly. She didn't understand at all what was going on. "I have to come back anyway, my FTL's all frakked up remember? My battlestar's probably jumped away by now, I have no where else to go but back down." Amal said placing her hand on top of his.
"I don't trust you, and I really don't understand the big deal about me leaving for an hour or so," Amal said letting her hand fall from his, "I'm going whether you both like it or not," She finished, pulling her helmet over her head and working on her gloves, not yet making a move to get into the cockpit again.
She hated them being so close to her ship. If they were Cylons, they could probably just turn their human side off like some sort of switch. Latch onto her plane, and kill her before she even broke atmosphere.
"No, you're staying," Illya told her firmly, "And if you leave our sight for any amount of time, I can assure you that someone else is bound to get their hands on you, and that would become a much worse predicament than just coming with us."
Turning back to Napoleon, he nodded ever-so-slightly, giving him the go-ahead for the tranquilizer. Quickly, napoleon raised the tiny gun and fired. Illya caught the now unconscious woman, and carried her away from the wreck and into the jeep for transport back to the U.N.C.L.E. headquarters.