Avalanche Gerat AffairThis is a featured page

By Jkkitty

The two agents sat waiting for their boss, Alexander Waverly, to begin the briefing. Napoleon Solo Number 1 Section 2 and CEA of Uncle Northwest played with his fingers.

Illya Nichovetch Kuryakin, Napoleon's partner, Section 2 number 2 was reading the file in front of him. Both knew nothing would begin until Waverly's pipe was lit.

Finally when the pipe was lit, he addressed his two agents, "Gentlemen what do you know about avalanches?" Napoleon was surprised at the question, but then in this business you never knew where the next assignment would lead. He glanced at his partner of just over a year and hurried to answer the question before Illya did.

"Well sir, an avalanche is a sudden, unexpected movement of a large amount of snow down the slope of a mountain," he grinned at his partner—'Let him beat that,' he thought.

Waverly nodded towards his CEA to acknowledge his statement, "Mr. Kuryakin do you have anything to add?"

"Well sir, what Mr. Solo said is true; however, there is a lot more to an avalanche than that as there are many types," taking a teaching tone that often served to irritate his partner.

"Avalanches are classified by their characteristics that include the type of snow involved, the nature of the collapse, the sliding surface, the trigger of the avalanche, and the slope angle, direction, and elevation," he said with a grin toward his partner.

"Very good, and…" Waverly looked down toward his information and missed the sour expression Solo gave his partner while mouthing the words 'Smartass'. "Ah here it is. What can you tell us about a dry avalanche?"

"A dry or powder snow avalanche occurs when the upper solid sheet of snow causes the softer under snow to give way. This type of avalanche takes less time to reach its maximum speed of 60 to 80 miles per hour within 5 seconds then a wet snow avalanche making it almost impossible to escape it path."

"It comes down in waves instead of just one large piece of snow, each covering the next making it very dangerous. It is extremely deceiving as it looks light and fluffy but beneath the misty dust cloud is the "core" of the avalanche—that is a solid mass that moves as a liquid mix of 70% air and 30% ice particles because of this many people describe this type of avalanche as beautiful."

"Thank you Mr. Kuryakin."

"Sir, I don't see what this has to do with us. Aren't avalanche very common?" Napoleon asked.

"Quite common. However, lately there has been a rash of them in an area which have very few normally-most unusual."

"I can see where that would be troubling, but why is UNCLE involved," Napoleon asked.

"Before each occurrence, the area received instructions to leave a money tribute to prevent it. Of course no one took this threat seriously until after the occurrences. Your assignment is to find out what is behind these sudden avalanches; here is the information from the previous ones. Your plane for the Zermatt, Switzerland leaves in an hour. Good luck, gentlemen and keep me informed. If there are any updates that you need, I will have you notified immediately."



As the two men left Waverly office, Napoleon poked his partner, "Where do you get all this miscellaneous useless information from anyways?"

"I would not say it was useless, after all I was able to explain what Waverly asked," he said rather sharply, "Beside no information is ever useless."

Continuing the discussion as they entered their office "You still didn't tell me where you get it all."

"I have always enjoyed learning and reading; plus I do have lots of free time to read Napoleon, when you are out chasing women on assignments."

Napoleon looked over at Illya, this man who no one would every guess was extremely dangerous when he needed to be, was a conflict of personalities. Scientist and agent were only a few of the personalities he could portray when needed.

When Illya first came to UNCLE and was partnered up with him many of the other agents had given him their sympathies for having to work with the Communist. Now, many of those same agents looked forward to working with the Russian when the opportunity arose.

"Okay, oh fountain of information, where is Zermatt?"

Illya chuckled, "Zermatt is a township in the district of Visp in the German-speaking section of the canton of Valais in Switzerland" seeing Napoleon's eyes rolling upwards. "For you in might be easier just to say that it is at the bottom of the Matterhorn."

"You couldn't just say it that way to begin with," exasperation Napoleon began pulling out equipment from his desk that he felt he might need.

"And allow you to have nothing to complain about?"

"Okay, Okay. So what is so important about Zermatt?" Napoleon asked as they headed for the roof's heliport.

"The three of the communities around it, Täsch, Visp and Brig have been hit by avalanches after the warnings." Illya summarizing the file that he held as they entered the copter but the noise of it kept them from further discussion.

….

After checking in and boarding the airplane, they continued their discussion. "All the villages lay low on the mountain side, and have been partially destroyed after refusing the demand for ransom. According to the file, it is believed that Zermatt will be soon the next community hit."

Napoleon looked at his watch; it was 5 pm that meant it was 11pm at their destination. "We should be arriving about 7am their time, so we better catch a nap on the flight. Of course, you never have a problem with that do you?" He was always surprised with his partner's ability to sleep anywhere at any time.



As Zermatt was car-free, they arrived by the local train at 7am in the dark as the shadows from the mountains prevented sunlight from shining on the old village until later.

After departing the train, they walked straight to the guesthouse that had been reserved for them. The car-free mandate of the village would be a disadvantage but if needed outside the village, UNCLE had left them a car parked in the lot at Tasch.

Although the absence of cars might present a problem, no one had that advantage as a result most of people were walking, riding horse drawn sleds and cable cars, or taking one of the two trains to travel to the areas around the village.

The agents found one significant point in their favor, as there was helicopter service if needed.

As the sun rose, they were able to see that Zermatt was encircled by mountains over 13,000 feet high with the Matterhorn and its bent-over top visible outside their window.

They unpacked before walking into town for breakfast. As they entered along the Bahnhofstrasse, the town's main street, they were surprised to see it was already busy.

The village retained its original rustic weathered-brown chalets sprinkled across the valley intermingled with inviting shops.
Searching for breakfast, they came across a restaurant that was serving a buffet with cereals, eggs, several kind of charcuterie (cold meats), authentic Swiss cheeses, homemade jam, rye bread and butter Gipfli (crest).

After breakfast, they explored the rest of the town that consisted of three main roads with traditional buildings surrounding them. Within thirty minutes, a visitor would be able to reach wherever they wished in the village.

From these main streets, they followed the Hinterdorf that lead off the main streets. It was made up of twisting alleys that were lined with dark-wooden buildings interspersed with traditional barns. The barns were raised on stone discs to prevent mice from gorging on the harvest.



As they arrived at the end of the Hinterdorf surrounded by fields of sheep and were turning to go back toward their house when they heard bullets zipped pass. This caused them to dive into the snow before being hit; pulling their guns while searching for the shooters.

When no further bullets came their way after a few minutes, they rose up slowly. Napoleon offering a hand to his partner pulling him up, then they careful made their way back to the twisting alleys they had just left.

As they made their way back toward the Bahnhofstrasse, they returned their guns to their holders before blending into the other visitors walking the street. Instead of heading toward their house, they entered some of the shops along the street to ascertain if they were still being shadowed. When they were convinced that no one was trailing them, they careful returned to the guesthouse.

"Do you get the feeling some yellow belly Thrushes don't want us here, Illya?"

"I would think at least someone knows we are here. Perhaps that was just a warning that we should not investigate further."

"Well tovarisch, I've never been one to be dissuaded by warnings. At least we know we're on the right track. It's just on the track of what?"

Napoleon contacted Waverly, "Sir, we were fired on while exploring the town but didn't see anyone. Have you any other reports of demands in this area?

"There are two witnesses that you will meet up with tomorrow. First, you'll meet Mr. Johannes Leuthold at the train station in Brig at 10-tomorrow morning; then Miss Annaliese Brilhart at 2 pm at the hotel in Täsch. Gentlemen. I've been informed that these are the only two survivors who claim to have any information from the avalanche areas. Be careful."

Napoleon replaced his communicator joining his partner who had pulled out the map of the area.

"We can reach both places along this trail by traveling on the shuttle to Tasch, pick up our car then drive another 50 minutes up to Brig to meet Leuthold at 10. After that meeting, we can have lunch and still have enough time to meet Miss Brilhart at 2pm. I would suggest that you dress warmly."

Illya said smiling, "I know how much you hate cold weather. I would not want the little lady to see you all red from the cold."
He gave his partner a frosty look, "Funny, Kuryakin. I'll remember your concern for me, the next time we're in the desert and you want my help."

Illya continued with a smirk on his face knowing how much his friend hated the cold, "I think it would be wise if one of us talk to the witness, while the other one checks out the site."

"I'll take the witness; you examine the sites," knowing that it would be warmer inside than on the mountain.

"Okay, Napoleon, I know the weather would have nothing to do with your decision," chucking, "I will do another check outside before we retire." He said as he walked toward the door, only to be hit by a flying hat.

"You might need that," Napoleon grinned as his partner looked back at him. "Don't want someone shooting at that golden target of yours."

Chapter 2


AUTHOR NOTE: ** All description of the towns and places of Villages in as true to fact as possible.


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