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The Utopia Affair - McDaniel David

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"No choice in the matter, sir. It's not as if you presented only a single symptom or even a single problem—the entire complex syndrome has only one practical treatment. Pills, injections, any forms of chemotherapy––all specifics would only serve as temporary stopgaps with your condition, which is, frankly, deteriorating. It's not as if there were a crisis situation in Section One, after all, and you yourself have said many times that no man is absolutely indispensable. Besides which, sir, if I may say so, we would like you to be able to continue working as our chief for many more years."

Waverly did not speak for several seconds. Many times in his career he had made equally difficult decisions in moments, but this time, though the decision had effectively been taken from his hands, he had to stop and question himself deeply. At length he spoke.

"Very well. I must accept your treatment." He snapped over a key on the intercom and spoke again. "Miss Williamson—send in Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin."

He shut off the set as she acknowledged, and leaned back in his chair, feeling suddenly old and very tired, and vaguely doomed. Alexander Waverly was going to have to take a vacation.


Section I : "There Is A Happy Land...

Chapter 1 : "For The Duration Of My Absence."

Chapter 2 : "Let's Wait And See How You Work Out."

Chapter 3 : "Don't Make Waves."

Chapter 4 : "Happy Halloween, Napoleon."

Section II: "A Principality In Utopia."

Chapter 5 : "We Could Use A Man Like That."

Chapter 6 : "Q: ASSASSINATION."

Chapter 7 : "Always The Easiest."

Chapter 8 : "Are You Sure This Thing Is Safe?"

Section III : "Death In Utopia."

Chapter 9 : "After All, Ills War."

Chapter 10 : "Our Old Fox Is Wily."

Chapter 11 : "This Looks Like One Of Those Days."

Chapter 12 : "You Really Blew It, Didn't You?"

Section IV : "The Pride Of Utopia."

Chapter 13 : "You Knew The Job Was Dangerous When You Took It."

Chapter 14 : "Stop Them."

Chapter 15 : "Pommery '74."

Chapter 16 : "I Trust You Learned From The Experience."

Section I : "There Is A Happy Land...

Chapter 1

"For The Duration Of My Absence."

THE DOOR SLID smoothly open before Napoleon and Illya, and they stepped into Waverly's office, the central command post of the vast international network that was U.N.C.L.E. Their chief didn't look up as they approached the round conference table in the middle of the room; he appeared to be deeply involved in some reports he was studying. But on the table, facing the door, lay a pink copy of a memorandum.

Both agents bent to look at it. A moment later Waverly spoke. "Section Six has advised that my health demands a vacation. I have been unable to convince them otherwise."

Illya looked up. "The wording on this memo is hardly so circumspect. They've picked your health resort, made your reservation, and only left you room to sign."

Napoleon's eye caught on one item and he read it aloud. "Reservations have been made for you in the name of Leon Dodgson at Utopia, South Australia, for six weeks beginning 29 October. They didn't give you much time to look forward to it, did they? And incidentally, where is 'Utopia, South Australia?'"

"Somewhere in the south of Australia I should imagine," said Illya.

"About the northernmost point in the coastline of the Bight," said Waverly, sliding a map before them and indicating the area with a knobbly forefinger. "It seems to be some sort of open-air hospital where valuable people are sent for vacations they don't want. The cost is apparently immense; I will not be allowed to find out precisely how immense until the item appears on the next budget summary, but the impression is that these six weeks will entail an expenditure roughly sufficient to operate one of our smaller offices for six months. The cost is commensurate with the social level of the clientele—Section Six tells me the present patients include the Assistant Chairman of the Board of General Motors, the Director of Krupp, a Prince Regent and three Prime Ministers of solvent European states. I am flattered, but not impressed. As for what goes on inside, I couldn't say, but it seems effective in restoring the efficiency of the inmates."

Napoleon and Illya took seats at the round table as he continued, "I will of course be unable to continue directing operations while on my... vacation. This will require a few temporary revisions in the situation here. Mr. Kuryakin, effective on my departure you will be acting Chief Enforcement Agent, replacing Mr. Solo."

The two agents exchanged raised eyebrows, and Napoleon developed a slightly apprehensive look. Before he could quite voice it, Waverly went on. "You, Mr. Solo, are listed as Section One, Number Two. My second in command. For the duration of my absence you will take command in my place. Your training has long been directed to prepare you to inherit my position— now you will have a chance to apply all the experience you've had in field operations." He paused, reaching for his pipe, then remembered the imperative statements of the memo from Section Six and did not complete the action, shifting instead to rub his jaw. "You will not be left alone to sink or swim—my personal secretary, Miss Williamson, will be able to coach you through the routines and advise you in emergencies.

"You will report tomorrow at 10 A.M. for a day of observation of regular operations and assume command twenty-four hours later, on Sunday the 29th. You will have complete responsibility until my return."

Napoleon was speechless. Finally he looked at Illya, who looked back and said, "Congratulations."

"Thank you," said Solo automatically and turned back to Waverly. "But why don't you have one of the other Continental Chiefs take over your job, as you did last time?"

"The last time was for three days. None of the Continental offices could spare their own commander for as long as six weeks. Besides, you ought to have the practical experience."

"Then I'll be moving into your office?"

"Of course. This is where communications is centered. You couldn't hope to coordinate operations from your own office."

Napoleon looked around the room consideringly. "I presume tomorrow will include checking me out on all the controls?"

"All that and more," said Waverly. "Much more."

Saturday was a busy day for Napoleon. He came in half an hour early and was not at all surprised to find Waverly already deep in his work. For the rest of the day he stood behind his commander, observing the never-ending flow of information through the complex control console and studying the practiced ease with which Waverly juggled the factors of more than a score of active assignments, suggesting new approaches or continuing action, keeping all the salient facts of each in his head, responding to call after call, checking on various operations apparently at random but maintaining constant control over all the activities of the various levels of the U.N.C.L.E. A ten-minute conference with Mr. Simpson of Section Eight covered field problems with the modified communicator design, the current state of development on a practical personal invisibility shield, developed from the researches of a captured Thrush project; and a report on preliminary investigation into a limited-range mental activity detector. Shorter conferences with other Section Heads covered swiftly and with equal detail their respective operations, problems and goals. Waverly had a single file drawer, arranged in some system of his own, with slim manila folders, each with the skeleton globe insignia of U.N. C.L.E. large on the front. Into this he would dip from time to time for a concise summary of something to refresh his memory. He paused once to tell Solo, "This is my reference file. Notes on all current operations are here in order."

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