Intersections by Curuchamion [Reviews - 3] |
Originally written for eponymous_rose on the LJ comm fandom_stocking.
(If you're not familiar with The Man From UNCLE, all you really need to know is that it was a '60s spy show on American television and that the man in this story was one of the main characters. And that it's totally worth checking out if you like clever writing, great acting and wobbly sets. *g*)
"Doctor Shaw? Are you busy?"
"Yes, rather," said Dr Liz Shaw without elaboration. In fact she was quite busy; she had three complex experiments running at the same time, all needing to be checked against one another, and was just in the middle of taking readings.
"May I help?"
"No — yes! Turn off that burner, please." She pointed across the lab through a tangle of equipment, then turned back to her work.
The newcomer made his way around the edge of the crowded lab, switched off the burner in question, sniffed cautiously at the compound bubbling atop it, discovered that it was coffee, and with a gentle smirk tugging at his mouth, folded his arms and leaned against an unoccupied patch of wall.
While he waited, he observed his surroundings carefully. Old habits die hard, and he was not so long out of the business in which attention to detail means the difference between life and death.
The lab was large and well-equipped. It would have been sunny, if the weather outside had not been the usual English compromise between a foggy drizzle and a dull grey illumination too shadowy to be called light; it was reasonably tidy, in the peculiar style developed by labs in constant use, which mold themselves around the personality of their occupants. The man had spent his fair share of time in a lab, and he learned a good deal about Miss Shaw before she finished making notes and turned to face him.
"You'll be the new lab assistant?" she asked.
"More or less," the man replied with a self-deprecating little smirk. He held a doctorate in quantum mechanics, but he had been sent to assist Dr Shaw with her experiments, and there was no point antagonizing her without cause. "Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart told you to expect me?"
"Yes," said Liz. "His exact words were 'There's some chap from the U.N. been assigned to help you with your research and see if his organization's interested. You'll give him full co-operation, of course.' And I will — within reason — but I really don't need an assistant."
The man's blue eyes twinkled. "I can see that. But an extra pair of trained hands can often be a help. Would you at least do me the honor of discussing the matter more thoroughly with me over lunch?”
“It would be my pleasure, ah, Mr... ?”
“Kuryakin. Doctor,” with a little shrug of 'it doesn't really matter but it is better to be precise', “Illya Niko'vich Kuryakin.”