Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Come Fly with Me Affair

Finally, after many delays, here is my third doll/character figure photo story based on the mid 1960's TV show, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” These photo stories are, I hope, a unique way to present fan fiction. The dolls/character figures used are larger than the typical fashion doll or action figure with the male figures 17” tall and the female figures 16”, all from the Tonner Doll Co.

I've been working on the story (and sets, props, photos, and script) over the last few months. Why does it always take longer to do things than you expect? I hoped to get the story up on my blog before the premiere of “Pan Am”, but at least only two episodes have aired.

“Guest starring” in my story this time is Barbara, the French stewardess, from the “The Foreign Legion Affair”, season two of the “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”. To give you a bit of background, here are a few studio publicity photos and a screen capture from the episode:

If you are interested in the original TV episode and don't have access to the series DVDs, please check out The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Image library. Click here for a direct link to thumbnail screen capture images of this episode. If you click on the thumbnail photo, a larger image will come up, often with dialogue that was being spoken in that particular scene. These images provide a great synopsis of this episode and the library covers all the episodes in the entire series.

So, now, on with my story. I hope you enjoy it.

The Come Fly with Me Affair

Act I: We'll Always Have the Sahara

September 1, 1966
Brussels, Belgium
Hotel Lobby

Pleased that his most recent assignment ended so successfully, Illya Kuryakin is in a relaxed mood as he makes his way down to the hotel lobby to buy a newspaper and catch up on what's going on in the world. As he turns to go back to his room, already engrossed in one of the newspapers, he hears a woman with a French accent behind him, calling his name.

Barbara Dubois (BD): Mr. Kuryakin! Illya! Wait, please!

He turns back toward the hotel's main doors to see Barbara Dubois, a stewardess for a French airline who accidentally became involved in one of his assignments in North Africa earlier in the year, coming toward him.

llya Kuryakin (IK) (smiling): Barbara! Well, this is a surprise. What brings you to Belgium? And in uniform? I thought you would be in Akron, Ohio married to Bob by now.

BD: There was a change of plans. Can we go somewhere to talk privately? It's important.

IK: Yes, of course. There's a small cafe across the street. We can talk there.

Illya and the stewardess find a small table in a secluded sunny alcove of the cafe.

IK: Now tell me, what is going on that has you so concerned?

BD (gesturing to her uniform): As you can see, I'm still a stewardess for the airline. But I'm on regularly scheduled flights now, not charter flights as I was when I met you.

BD: After the adventure I had at that Foreign Legion outpost in the desert with you, I decided I wasn't ready to settle down and marry Bob. I don't care what my grand-mère says. I won't end up an old spinster because I'm not married at 23. There is still too much of the world I want to see before I have a husband and children. But none of that is important now.

I contacted U.N.C.L.E.'s European headquarters in Geneva and was told I might be able to catch you here before you returned to New York. A co-pilot I work with has been acting very secretive and suspicious lately and I thought I should ask you what should be done.

IK: You just barely caught me. My flight for New York leaves this afternoon. What has the co-pilot done that is suspicious? Why contact U.N.C.L.E. instead of the police?

BD: About a month ago after the flight I was working on landed in Paris, all the passengers had gotten off and the rest of the crew had left the plane except for me and the co-pilot. As I was getting my flight bag to leave I noticed him behaving secretively up in the cockpit area. I couldn't see what he was doing, but I heard a compartment door being closed very quietly. I saw him behaving the same way after other flights when we were on one of the airline's newest jets. I'm sure he never saw me watching him, thank goodness.

Then yesterday I heard that several of those newest jets were being pulled out of regular flight rotation to be prepared as the possible plane to fly President de Gaulle and a large group of French diplomats to New York for him to give a speech at the U.N. later this month. I don't know what this co-pilot has planned, but from the way he's been behaving, I'm afraid it's something very bad that could involve Pres. de Gaulle's trip.

IK: You did the right thing, Barbara. This does sound like it could be serious. I'll contact the U.N.C.L.E. office in Paris before I leave for New York today. I'm sure they'll start investigating the situation immediately.

ACT II: You'd Have to Land Where?!

U.N.C.L.E. Headquarters, New York
Alexander Waverly's Office
3 weeks later

Alexander Waverly (AW): Thanks to the information Mr. Kuryakin received from the airline stewardess, Miss Dubois, our Paris office put a man undercover as a mechanic for the airline. It appears her concerns were valid. This is indeed a situation beyond the capabilities of the local police.

AW: Our undercover agent at the airline found eight of these boxes hidden in different locations in the cockpits of eight jets. Each box contained an electromagnet that can be activated remotely. Unfortunately, at this point, we don't know what that trigger may be.

IK: Why an electromagnet? What could it do to a jet?

AW: Our lab says new scientific information shows that many bird species use the Earth's magnetic poles to help them find their way as they migrate. A false direction signal coming from a plane, especially during take-off or landing, could disorient a flock of birds causing them to fly into a jet's engines, crashing the plane.

Napoleon Solo (NS): What are the chances a pilot could keep a plane from crashing under those circumstances?

AW: Not good, Mr. Solo. In a crowded metropolitan area there are few places to bring down a passenger plane safely outside an airport.

NS: Yes, there's less open land around New York City all the time. It could get to the point someday that a pilot would have to try to land a plane on water, maybe even the Hudson River!

IK: That's highly unlikely, Napoleon.

AW: The co-pilot Miss Dubois identified has been quietly taken into custody in Paris for questioning so as to not tip off any co-conspirators he may have. The U.N.C.L.E. has already approached the French government about rescheduling Pres. de Gaulle's U.N. speech due to the great number of migrating birds at this time of year. But they said that his schedule can't be changed and they see no reason to do so since the electromagnets were found and the Presidential jet is ready to fly now.

I'm not as confident as the French officials that we've seen the end of the matter, gentlemen, which is why both of you are being assigned as part of the security detail that will accompany Pres. de Gaulle and the French government officials on their flight from Paris to New York. You leave for Paris in the morning.

ACT III: Ahh...Now THIS is the life!

Airport, Paris, France
On board Pres. de Gaulle's jet
2 days later

BD: Illya! Mr. Solo! Welcome aboard! I didn't know you would be making the flight with us to New York.

NS: Our boss, Mr. Waverly, wants to make sure everything goes smoothly so we were added to the security detail.

BD: I'm glad he decided to do that. I feel much safer having you two on board. Please let me or the other stewardess know if there is anything we can do to make the flight more comfortable for you.

NS: Merci beaucoup.

Over the Atlantic Ocean, 5 hours into the flight

NS: Why did Barbara involve you in all this in the first place?

IK: She trusts me. We went through a lot in North Africa earlier this year. I'm glad she did. From what we've learned if there are other players involved, ready to take over where that co-pilot left off, it's a good thing we're here.

Michelle (the other stewardess): Champagne, monsieur?

NS: Merci, but no, I'm on duty, mademoiselle....?

The stewardess looks at Solo with a raised eyebrow and increased interest.

Michelle: My name is Michelle. And you are?

NS: (smiling charmingly) Solo, Napoleon Solo, at your service.

Michelle: Some hors d' œuvre perhaps?

NS: Yes, they look delicious. Thank you.

After receiving his hor d' œuvre and taking a quick appreciative glance at Michelle as she makes her way down the aisle of the plane, Solo turns back to Kuryakin who is still engrossed in his reading.

NS: I hope we can get more of these security detail assignments on presidential flights, especially France. The food is superb, the stewardesses are beautiful, and we're on one of the most advanced jets in the air with a layout roomy enough for a head of state.

IK: It's all too opulent for my taste. Don't forget – we're here to see that nothing goes wrong.

NS: I realize it doesn't happen often, but maybe Mr. Waverly is wrong this time and we saw the plot fizzle out in Paris a few weeks ago.

IK: We won't know that until Pres. de Gaulle gives his speech at the U.N.

With that, Illya returns to his reading and Napoleon settles in for a nap as the plane continues uneventfully across the Atlantic.

Three hours later over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are beginning our approach to New York. Please fasten your seat belts and prepare for landing. We will arrive in approximately 20 minutes.”

As soon as the captain finishes his announcement, taking care not to alarm the passengers, Barbara rushes from the cockpit to where Napoleon and Illya are seated.

BD: Illya! Mr. Solo! I was in the cockpit a moment ago and saw the co-pilot put one of those electromagnet boxes in the compartment below the jump seat, but I don't think he noticed I saw what he did. I wanted to let you know as quickly as I could without making him suspicious.

ACT IV: We'll Always Have the Air Space Over New York City

By the time Barbara told them what happened, the co-pilot had made quick strides down the aisle and grabbed her from behind. Holding a knife to her throat, he backed up the aisle a short distance as Illya and Napoleon rose from their seats.

Co-pilot: Don't get any closer or I'll slit her throat!

Knowing that his time to activate the electromagnet has almost run out, he tries to maneuver his other arm so that he can reach his watch with the hand holding the knife. The switch that starts the electromagnet is the stem on his watch!

Recalling their time together in North Africa, Illya remembers what Barbara does in tense situations.

IK: Barbara, stay calm. I'm sure you're feeling TENSE right now.

Noticing his direct focus on her, she looks at him for a moment with a puzzled expression. Then her eyes widen as she realizes what he wants her to do. Seeing the fleshy part of the co-pilot's hand so near her face as he concentrates on trying to reach his watch, she lowers her mouth to his hand and bites down as hard as she can.

He yells out in pain and surprise, dropping the knife and giving Barbara a chance to break free. With her in the clear, Illya is able to land several blows to his jaw and mid-section.

Napoleon delivers the last blows that land the now woozy, disoriented co-pilot on the floor. Solo draws his gun and puts his foot on the man's outstretched watch-wearing arm.

NS: Don't even think about it, monsieur.

U.N.C.L.E. Headquarters, New York
Alexander Waverly's Office
3 days later

AW: Miss Dubois, I wanted to give this commendation for bravery to you personally. We need more young people like yourself willing to get involved and let authorities know when something seems amiss. However, given the circumstances of the event, you and your colleague here won't be able to tell anyone what happened or show the commendation. I'm sorry about that.

French authorities have taken over the investigation of this incident now. The French and British are working jointly on a new supersonic jet to be called “le Concorde” that will be unveiled and put into service in the next few years.

BD: That would explain Pres. de Gaulle's comment during his speech at the Paris airport before we left for New York. He said the next time he comes to America it will be a much quicker flight thanks to French ingenuity.

AW: The radical group planning this plot felt this would be their last chance to bring down the President's plane while he was still flying in jets with conventional engines. The new supersonic jet may not have turbines that would be easy for birds to enter. They felt this would be the last time they could try their electromagnet device.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, mademoiselle, I must attend a meeting. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope you have a pleasant and uneventful flight back to Paris today.

BD: Thank you.

After Mr. Waverly leaves his office, Napoleon and Michelle have a quiet tête-à-tête to say their good-byes and plan to meet the next time she has a layover in New York.

IK: So, you leave for Paris today.

BD: Yes, Michelle and I need to change into our uniforms at the hotel and check out. Our flight home leaves this afternoon.

IK: Before you leave, I wanted to give you this. It's the name, address, and phone number of an excellent martial arts school in Paris that accepts women students now. You seem to attract dangerous situations and you need to be able to defend yourself with more than your teeth.

BD: (with a small laugh) Yes, I suppose you're right. Thank you – thank you for everything!

With that, Barbara looks deeply into Illya's eyes and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

BD (whispering in French): Until we meet again.


Copyright 2011 Marianne T. Smith.  Man from U.N.C.L.E., Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, Alexander Waverly copyright Warner Bros.