Podhradi AffairThis is a featured page

By Jkkitty
Chapter 1
Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin met in the hallway on the way to Waverly office and were surprised he had called them so quickly for a new assignment. They had just returned from a difficult mission just a few hours ago and were hoping for a few days of down time.

When the door opened, they were startled to see Josephina Kuryakin already sitting at the table looking as exhausted as they felt.

“Jo,” Napoleon nodded at her, “When did you get in?”

“An hour ago,” she said leaning back in the chair, her eyes closed, feeling dirty and unkempt.

“Gentlemen, Miss Kuryakin. I have an assignment for you in Czechoslovakia. It seems there have been a number of deaths among the gypsies from an unknown virus. You three will join up with a caravan headed by Stephen Gabriel who has brought this matter to our attention. I believe you know him Mr. Kuryakin.”

“Yes sir, I helped him and his people out at one time.” Napoleon looked at his partner and Jo.

“Won’t the Kuryakins stick out? I mean with their hair and complexion.”

Illya shook his head at that statement. “Napoleon your American television view of gypsies has colored your perception. Gypsies come in as many types and differences as the rest of the world.”

“I thought gypsies were stationary now assigned to towns along the eastern border of Czechoslovakia and their caravans outlawed by the government. I’m sorry, but I really don’t know much about those people except what I’ve seen on the news,” the CEA admitted.

“You did work with the Gypsies in the Terbuf Affair,” Illya reminded him.

“If you remember my friend, I wasn’t in the best shape to judge people at the time.” Illya remembered the affair well and how his normally careful partner had thrown caution to the wind a few times during it.

“Napoleon, those people, as you put it,” Jo angry voice brought their attention to her. “They have been forced into settlements, horses killed, and wagons burnt to prevent them from living their lives the way they always have. The government has restricted their culture, language and music from public areas. Many have been forced to resettle in border areas and subjected to involuntary sterilization. The general population considers them a primitive, backward, and degenerate people. ‘Those’ people as you have put it have had their heritage taken from them.”

Napoleon raised his hands in surrender. “I meant nothing by my statement other than my knowledge of them is limited. Don’t take my head off.” Jo realized the men were staring at her after her outburst.

“I am sorry.”

“Sir, if it’s illegal for caravans to exist, how does Gabriel’s people still travel in one?” Napoleon asked.

Illya grinned, “They do have a settlement that the government assigned them. However, they are a free people who do not like to be tied to one place. You should be well aware of the fact that the more you tell someone they cannot do something they love, the more people will find a way to do it.”

Mr. Gabriel’s band lives in the forest around Podhradi. The government has little to do with the area, as it is uninhabitable for the most part. Now Mr. Solo I believe you will recognize these two men.” Waverly handed a file to him. Napoleon opened it and was surprised by the contents.

“But sir, weren’t they were killed about eight years ago in a lab explosion in Brazil?” Napoleon said, passing the folders along.

“What do you remember about these men?” Waverly asked.

Napoleon said, “Colonel Sveto Hukovic and Dir. Florek Pogelsek. I was on loan to our Brazil branch about eight years ago and as the only one not from the area, I was the inside man looking into the situation. They were using the natives Indians of the area as guinea pigs for a virus they had created. After retrieving the information, we blew the place. Two of the bodies were identified as Pogelsek and Florek by both myself and other surviving members of the lab.”

Waverly took it from there, “We have recently come across files that indicate Thrush had doubles to take their place in case UNCLE discovered the project and its location. Since that time the two men have been working together to recreate and improve the formula that we believed was destroyed that day.”

“And are now using the gypsies of Eastern Czechoslovakia for their experiments,” Illya said with disgust.

“The three of you will get the data and destroy the project. This time make sure these gentlemen are taken out of operation by whatever means necessary. Do I make myself clear?”

The three agents nodded their understanding.

As they stood up to leave, “Do take a few minutes to clean up Miss Kuryakin before heading to the airport; you do represent our organization. Dismissed.”

….

On the plane, the agents were able to reserve the rear seats that were designed so that the occupants could face one another. They reviewed the information that they had been given and made plans.

“Okay give, Illya.” Napoleon said.

“Give?”

“How do you know the gypsies we’re going to work with?”

“Really it is nothing.”

“Oh no you don’t partner, not this time.”

“They needed help finding someone, I helped. That is it,” Illya replied, laid his head back and closed his eyes.

Jo grinned at the interchange.

“Oh he is so frustrating at times,” Napoleon said seeing her grin.

“Rest moya lyubov,” she said also closing her eyes.

“Russians!” They used the rest of the flight attempting to catch up on sleep they all needed badly.
…..


Barely rested, they were met at the Prague airport and were immediately taken to headquarters where they changed into clothing for the train that would take them to the small town of Podhradi. From there, Gabriel’s people would deliver them to the camp.

Napoleon and Illya dressed in baggy pants, boots, and loose fitting shirts with long, wide sleeves and the neck buttons left open. Illya’s in shades of blue, Napoleon’s greens. A colorful vest would conceal their guns.

Illya smirked at his partner’s attempt to smooth out the outfit knowing his choosy friend would never wear these clothes if he had a choice.

“Do not worry Napoleon; the girls will still love you.”

He was rewarded with an unfriendly look. “You might look good in these clothes, but I’d would prefer my suit and tie.”

“Well when in Rome.”

“I know the saying thank you, but I just don’t care for the look. Let’s go see what your sister is wearing.”


As they walked out of the men’s dressing room, Illya pulled out his camera, calling his partner’s name and as he turned snapped a picture.

“What are you doing!”

“Had to make sure it worked, did I not. Besides I am sure the women of headquarters will enjoy seeing it.” He said innocently.

“Kuryakin, you wouldn’t dare.”

“Of course not,” his smile widened as he walked past his partner.

….

Entering the waiting area, Jo stood speaking to the agent who had picked them up. She was dressed in an off the shoulder white peasant top, paisley handkerchief over skirt and a striped under skirt. Her strawberry blonde hair tied back with a bandana. She jingled from the large number of bracelet, and amber bead necklaces that she wore. The finishing touches to the ensemble were a number of rings on her fingers, and dangling earrings.

“Wow!” Napoleon said as he grabbed her hand and twirled her around. “Now that’s what I call an outfit.”

“You need to remember Napoleon, gypsy women attempt to get the attention of the onlookers while the men do the five finger purchasing.”

“Well if all the women look like you, I’ll have to keep a hand on my wallet. Are we ready to go Podhardi?”

“By the way, I love that shirt you are wearing,” she said laughing at his discomfort.

“I took a picture for you,” Illya said annoying his partner further.

“The two of you will get yours one of these days.”

He turned his back on the amused brother and sister to face the agent who had met them.

“How long?”

“Train leaves in two hours. I suggest we wait for the last minute to ensure not many people see you here. Few gypsies visit the area.”

…..

The train was crowded and noisy. The agents found seats at the back of the last car. When they sat, the people in the seat in front of their, glanced at them and although the train was crowded left it and moved toward the front of the car. The seat remained empty although others stood in the aisles.

Jo laid her head on her brother’s shoulder and fell back into a deep sleep feeling secure that the other agents would keep her safe.

After riding in silence for a while, Napoleon looked at the other passengers many who were standing.

“I don’t understand this. Why aren’t they sitting in that seat?”

“It is fear and hatred of things they do not understand. People believe what they are told by the government about the gypsies—they are sub-human. The racist view of gypsies created these feelings. The public is taught that gypsies as thieves, liars, and immoral,” Illya explained to his partner.

“I’ve never felt so disliked in my life, even hated seems to come from some of them. I have had people hating me because of who I work for, but not for who I am,” Napoleon confessed.

Napoleon thought about Russian agents traveling with him, “May I ask you a question?”


Illya nodded. “Is this how you felt when you arrived in New York? Or maybe still feel?”

“You have always treated me as a partner and friend. Yes, at times I suffered the hatred by some at headquarters but it is much less now than when I first came. However, your friendship and support always made it bearable.”

The American turned to stare out the window; he never understood hatred a group of people could have against another group. He had heard of it, fought against it, but this was the first time because of who he was pretending to be that he experienced it.

He felt, a warm hand on his shoulder, “My friend, do not take it so to heart. We can only do our best to prevent this hatred from spreading.”

Napoleon sighed, “Thank you, I know but it still doesn’t help.”

…..

When the train stopped in the small village of Podhradi, Czechoslovakia, Napoleon went to stand, but Illya’s hand stopped him.

“What?”

“We must do as the gypsies would so there is no retaliation against them. Everyone else must exit first.”

The feeling of anger began to resurface in the American.

Jo placed her arm around his, “The gypsies accept it as normal.”

When finally stepping down from the train, the platform was almost empty. As the men grabbed the suitcases, a young girl ran up and threw her arms around Illya waist.

“Oh Illya, I am so happy to see you. I thought you would never get here,” she said in Romani.

Napoleon slowly removed his hand from his jacket where his hand had instinctively gone as the person had run passed him; at the same time Jo released her hold on the gun in her waistband. lllya turned in the girl’s arms and smiled.

“Katarina, you have grown so since last I saw you,” he said in Czech smiling down at her.

“My friend does not speak Romani.”

She looked at the two people with him moving closer to Illya.

“This is my sister and friend, do not be afraid. Where is your grandfather?”

“Grandfather said I could accompany old Joseph to pick you up.”

Napoleon cleared his throat reminding his partner that they were standing in the middle of an open railroad platform. Illya led the girl toward the building with the two other agents following.

“Katarina, this is my friend Napoleon and sister Josephina. Where is Joseph?”

“On the other side of the clearing with our wagon; he did not want anyone to become angry that he was in town.”

Napoleon, who had been looking around, poked Illya, “Some birds, I think?” nodding toward a few men standing to the side watching them.

“I recognize the middle one, Thrush. I do not think he knows me.”

“Jo, take Katarina to the wagon. We’ll see what our friends over there are up to.”

As she led the girl away, the men circled around the building coming in behind the Thrush agents as they stood alongside the building. Although they were taking pictures of everyone who had left the train, they didn’t seem to be watching the UNCLE agents specifically.

“What do you think?” Illya asked.

“They took our pictures but didn’t seem to recognize us. I think we have some time, but they’ll be aware of who we are soon enough. Let’s get out of here.”

Chapter 2


jkkitty
jkkitty
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