Sara Jackson had a spring in her step as she walked through the staff entrance of U.N.C.L.E. New York. To the envy of her colleagues in the secretarial pool, she had been promoted to the job of personal assistant to Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin. She had been one of seventeen women who had gone to, or rather stampeded to Human Resources to apply when the notice was posted. There was a screening process: First, someone in HR sat down with each applicant to review her resume to see if there was anything that made her stand out from the crowd; then Lisa Rogers met with the candidates to determine why they really wanted the job. Miss Rogers was excellent at her job and was so skillful at making people feel at ease that the women forgot they were speaking to an agent trained to gather information. Those applicants who only wanted the position for bragging rights or to be close to the sexy Chief Enforcement Agent and his devastatingly handsome Russian partner were weeded out and returned to the pool.
Sara had been one of the three remaining choices. She and the other two women were interviewed by Solo and Kuryakin themselves. She still remembered how her stomach had filled with butterflies as her appointment time approached. She had heard that the two men had returned to HQ after their latest mission a little worn for wear and had to spend a few days in Medical before being released to desk duty only. She didn't have a lot of experience with the Section IIs, but she had heard that they were not the friendliest bunch and viewed desk duty almost as a punishment and would take out their frustrations on people around them. She had heard the Russian in particular could be quite nasty.
Precisely at three o'clock that day, she had knocked on their office door and was told to enter. Seated inside were Miss Rogers, Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin. The men stood immediately and briefly shook her hand as Miss Rogers made introductions.
Mr. Solo extended his hand to a chair. "Please, Miss Jackson, sit down." He held the chair out for her and then once she was seated, he and his partner retook their seats.
"Gentlemen," Miss Rogers said, "Miss Jackson is the last candidate. When you have made your selection, please let me know and I will apprise the ladies of your decision." She stood to leave. "Good luck, Miss Jackson," she said and left the office.
Sara said, "Thank you" as she settled into her seat. She looked at the two men facing her. She had never been this close to either one; Mr. Solo had given her a quick once – over and a smile while Mr. Kuryakin perused her resume. She wondered if the fact that she was a Black woman with an Afro hairstyle would work for or against her.
"Miss Jackson, what do you think you can do for Agent Solo and myself?"
For the next hour, she had fielded questions about her organizational skills, her dictation and typing abilities, and her knowledge of the UNCLE. She answered each question with what she hoped were intelligent, thoughtful statements that allowed the men to get to know her better and see her work ethic.
Finally the men stood. Extending his hand to help her up, the CEA said, "It was truly a pleasure to meet and speak with you, Miss Jackson. My partner and I will be making a decision very soon and Miss Rogers will let you know who has been selected."
The Russian's face gave no indication either way of what he thought, but he shook her hand graciously and said, "It has been a pleasure, Miss Jackson. Have a pleasant afternoon," as he walked her the few steps to the pneumatic door. When it opened and she stepped through, he inclined his head slightly to say goodbye and was already turning away as the door slid shut.
Two hours later, she and the other candidates were called to Miss Rogers' office. Once they were seated Miss Rogers said, "Ladies, I'm very proud of all three of you and you should be proud of yourselves. Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin were impressed with the way you conducted yourselves during your interviews and said choosing just one was one of their most difficult tasks in quite a long time. They have no doubt that they have made the best decision. Congratulations, Miss Jackson, you are Mr. Solo's and Mr. Kuryakin's personal assistant."
The rest of that afternoon and evening had been a blur to her she was so excited. She was actually an hour early that Monday and decided to go to her new bosses' office to make a fresh pot of coffee for them. She was surprised when the door slid open to find them both at their desks.
"Good morning, Sara," Napoleon said, "I wasn't expecting you this early."
"Good morning. I wanted to have coffee made for you when you arrived. Are you two normally here this early?"
"Nyet," the Russian answered, "We had to fly out yesterday morning and we did not get back here until two hours ago."
"I'm very sorry to have to do this, Sara, but Illya and I have to fly down to DC with Mr. Waverly to meet with the FBI, so we have to leave you on your own. We had hoped to walk you through your first day with us," Napoleon said as he stood and put on his jacket. "But we have to leave…" He glanced at his watch. "Three minutes ago. Come on, Partner, we're late! Bye!"
The agents moved swiftly out the door leaving Sara standing in the middle of the room. She put her purse down and took off and hung up her coat and hat. Looking around at the piles of paper on both desks she thought, I'm sure I can figure out something to do in here.
Napoleon and Illya walked back into their office ten hours after they had left that morning. Sara was just putting on her coat when the door slid open to reveal them. "Hello, Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin. I was just leaving, but let me show you what I've done. I organized both of your desks. Mr. Solo, that folder there contains all the agents' field reports awaiting your signature. This one holds all your receipts for you expense reports separated by month and attached to the forms. I did your August, September and October reports. I wasn't sure if those were all your November receipts, so I left that report blank. Mr. Kuryakin, that folder contains your lab notes. I typed them up and put them in chronological order. I have to apologize though; when I picked up your go bag, the latch gave way and it fell open. Mr. Kuryakin, I hope you're not upset. Your clothing was terribly wrinkled so I sent it all up to Mr. Del Floria to be cleaned and pressed. I requisitioned a new suitcase for you as this one," she pointed to the old case against the wall, "well, it's seen better days. Also, I hope I wasn't being too presumptuous, but I restocked both of your go bags with first aid kits, extra ammunition clips and spare communicators. I, I hope that was okay."
Both men stared at her silently and then looked at each other. She was afraid of what they were about to say.
The Russian looked back at her and said, "Now that you have gone through our papers and suitcases, I insist that you call me Illya and him Napoleon."
The CEA smiled. "I agree completely with my partner, please do call us by our first names. To quote Humphrey Bogart, 'I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.'"