"I solemnly swear I am up to no good." ― Harry Potter
Napoleon Solo twiddled the end of his pencils, his face a mask of thought. "What about Agent Hanson and Montgomery?"
"Only if you want to start World War III." Sam Douglas shook his head. "And since this is supposed to be stopping that."
"I can't believe this. One night. They can't set their differences aside for one night?"
"Those two? Not likely."
"Then how about if we-" The loudspeaker above his head crackled to life. "Will Agents Solo and Kuryakin report to Mr. Waverly's office immediately?" Napoleon laughed at that and made an exaggerated display of wiping imaginary sweat from his brow. "Saved by the bell."
"Just try not to get shot up. I'll probably still be here when you return."
"I'll do my best, but you know how some of these things drag on." Napoleon slapped his hands together as he stood and walked quickly to the door. Somehow, even the thought of being shot at was more appealing than trying to figure out a seating chart for the UNCLE charity ball.
He didn't even have to think about navigating his path to Waverly's office; his feet took him there automatically, just as they had many other times.
Napoleon paused before the door and it slid open to reveal his partner already seated at the table and looking none too happy. A small pinch started in Napoleon's stomach. If Illya was already like this…
That's when he saw a bowl of fruit in the middle of the round table. He wasn't a huge fan of fruit, but this fruit looked so luscious, so delicious that it was all he could do to stop reaching out and helping himself.
He took his usual seat and waited, knowing that Mr. Waverly would reveal what he wanted when he wanted to. Still, his hand ached to reach up and snatch up a glistening plump grape. He could practically taste it. A glance to his left told him Illya was engaged in the same struggle.
Mr. Waverly flipped off the microphone he'd been softly talking into and took his seat at the table. He opened a folder, spread eight by ten glossies over his blotter and then spun the table so that they ended up in front of the pair of UNCLE agents.
"What on earth…?" Napoleon said. There was shot after shot of people with horrible burned faces, singed eyebrows and blackened hair. "What happened?"
"That fruit happened." The disgust in Mr. Waverly's voice was pronounced as he pointed to the basket on the table. "Our old friend Colonel Picks is up to his old tricks again."
"Sir, I thought we permanently put him out of business."
"Well, someone has decided to take up where he left off. Now it's all fruit, not just apples. Pears, peaches, oranges, grapes, even pineapples are all now ticking time bombs." The room darkened and a screen came to life. "This is the warehouse that we believe is the main source of production."
"If we know where it is… we would have taken care of it. There's something else."
"Sadly, yes, Mr. Solo. We have sent three sets of agents to remedy the situation. Those photographs are the results." Mr. Waverly reached out and picked up a plum. "There is enough explosive in this plum to remove a few of your fingers if you were to squeeze it. Imagine the damage if you were to bite it." He returned the plum to the bowl carefully. "As near as we can figure, they are planning to release them onto an unwitting consumer market."
"Wouldn't it be rather limiting? I mean, even the hungriest person is going to beg off after seeing the results."
"So you would think, but the fruit is proving too powerful. I see even you two are tempted. How long could you fight that? Now imagine someone without your training." Mr. Waverly slapped the table top in annoyance. "I don't want to lose any other agents to this. As much as I fear the results, I am afraid we must destroy it, but I'm at a loss as to how to do so without creating a major catastrophe and a PR nightmare."
Illya continued to stare at the fruit. "Sir, are the fruits in this bowl the only ones that are effected?"
"Yes, so far, they have not been able to re-engineer mangos, avocados, watermelons, papayas and a small selection of others."
"What about bananas?"
"Apparently not. The theory is that their potassium levels are too high."
Illya smiled slowly. It was the type of smile that made Napoleon very glad Illya was on their side. "Sir, I think I might have a plan."
"What do you have in mind, Mr. Kuryakin? I'm not keen on the aspect of risking you and Mr. Solo."
"Just me, sir, and a special hand-picked group of agents. I think we can get in and destroy the machinery. Contained, the fruit will rot and, hopefully, not become an issue."
Napoleon was intrigued now. "Just who do you have in mind, Illya?"
"I need to make some calls first before I fill you in upon the details. If all goes well, suffice it to say, for the record, that I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
Illya pulled at the collar of his turtleneck. It was really too hot to bother with all the black-upon-black ware, but his conspirators insisted and since they were doing all the heavy lifting, it seemed a small price to pay. His communicator crackled to life.
"Channel D, Illya, are you in position?" Napoleon's voice was distorted by the instrument, but Illya could hear his concern.
Illya lifted binoculars to his eyes and scanned the horizon. "Yes, they are just about to change guards. We will move then."
"Illya, you are sure about this?"
Illya looked at his attack squad and nodded. "Very sure."
"Well, good luck. Solo out."
Illya felt a tug at his pant leg and he looked down at Dave. At three feet, he was nothing but attitude and focused mayhem.
"Nama to boca?"
"Yes, I think we are ready. Prepare to move out."
Dave saluted and ran back to his fellow minions. "Tokas hustle!" He looked at Illya who gestured forward. "Prompo!"
As one guard left his post, pausing to exchange pleasantries with his relief, wave after wave of small yellow figures surged forward racing the distance between the tree line and the fortress.
The guard paused and looked over his shoulder. "Did you hear something?"
"No… I don't think so."
After a moment of listening to bird calls and the wind blowing through the trees, the first man shook his head. "I guess I didn't either. After UNCLE's last attempt, I don't expect them to try again. Man, those agents were messed up."
"You're welcomed to join them." Illya's punch dropped the man to his knees and the other guard was swarmed by minions before he could react. They were quickly stripped of their jumpsuits, then bound and gagged.
Two of the taller minions hurried dressed, Pete climbed into the pants and then Kevin climbed up on Pete's shoulders. Illya adjusted the top of the jumpsuit.
"Now, remember, think like a bird."
"Chirp cheep!" Kevin said and pulled the beret down low.
"The rest of you, no sampling the fruit."
"No bananas?" Stuart asked, sadly. "Ka quer bananas."
"Afterwards, I will get you all the bananas you want, but don't eat anything inside." Illya squatted so that he was eye to eye with the minion. ""Promise me this."
Stuart sighed long and hard. "Ka enfur." He adjusted his Rambo-style head band. "Coopee batooay ba."
"Then off we go. Let's go do what we do best." Illya crept to the door and slowly opened it. The factory floor was humming with activity. He took something from his belt pack and held it up.
"Oooooooo," the minions said as one as they eyed the stun grenade. Illya smirked, pulled the pin and tossed the grenade inside.
At the resulting explosion, the minions surged forward. Some were armed with plain old-fashions weapons, like flamethrowers and rifle grenades while others were armed with fart and jelly guns. Illya had a feeling THRUSH would never know what hit them. With a yell, he followed them in.
Napoleon made a mark on his clipboard as the last group of THRUSH captives were led from their camp. Some of them looked as if they'd been run through a jelly mill while others still coughed and gagged. With the stench still clinging to them, Napoleon didn't have to wonder why.
"How did we do?" Illya toweled his hair dry. The minions, still in high spirits, had dumped a bucket of fruit punch over his head. He still felt sticky.
"According to the personal file that we found, just about everyone is accounted for. A few are a little banged up and a couple keep going on and on about seeing little yellow people. No deaths, though."
"That's good. Just about?"
"They are still trying to dig a couple of people out of those mounds of kumquats. Wouldn't want any to explode accidently on purpose."
"Excellent." Illya tossed the towel aside. "Now if you will excuse me, I need to see about fulfilling a promise."
"Yes, mischief has been managed and it's time to reap the rewards." Illya started to walk away and then paused. "Do you know where I can get some bananas?"
"Yup, they are on the house!"
As he disappeared into the trees, Napoleon could swear he heard someone shout, "Kanpai!"
Nama to boca – Are we ready?
Tokas hustle – Let's go
Prompo - Hurry
Ka quer bananas – I want bananas
Ka enfur - I promise
Coopee batooay ba – Let's do this