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When Napoleon and Illya Did CI5

And one more recommendation while I'm still thinking of Bodie and Doyle...

Title: "Incident in a Stairwell"
Author: Debra Hicks
Format: short story, second in a three-part series, gen &/or pre-slash
Universes: crossover between The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Professionals.
Year Published: unknown
Availability: Archived at The Circuit Archive, along with its prequel ("The Waiting Room Affair") and sequel ("People Bending Broken Rules"). The latter only is slash.

If memory serves, "Incident in a Stairwell" is the short story that first introduced me to The Professionals and inspired me to explore that universe further. (At that time I was already a fan of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) It is the second of three in a series, but it stands on its own quite well, though of course the bookending tales are quite nice in their own right. "Incident," however, stands out to me as a particularly sterling example of what crossover fan fiction can accomplish.

Set in the CI5 headquarters of The Professionals' era, the tale follows the dire events of a morning on which a prisoner has escaped and opened fire on agents and innocents alike. It just so happens that Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are there on a recruiting mission for U.N.C.L.E. that same morning. (Guess which two men they wish to recruit?) The teams are separated during the confusion. A worried Solo and Bodie, along with George Cowley, are left to apprehend the prisoner before it is too late for their wounded partners, who are at the criminal's mercy.

In a fast-paced and action-packed story, Debra Hicks does many things well. The characters' voices are spot on, and the opportunity to see each man through the others' eyes leads to satisfying moments of character exploration. The implicit comparisons between Solo and Bodie, Kuryakin and Doyle are well drawn, as is the often wry portrait of the aging U.N.C.L.E. operatives. The relationships between both sets of partners are likewise explored with effective, poignant restraint. Perhaps most importantly, each of the four characters contributes a key ingredient to the successful resolution of the affair: without any one of them, the day would not be won. It is rare to see such balance, such obvious affection and respect for all of the players in a story. Hicks has fun with her dialogue and her in-jokes, and by allowing each man to supply a critical piece of the action she gives credit to both partnerships and the universes they represent. The two cultures, the two generations, play quite nicely together, and the reader can only imagine how future collaborations between the two pairs might change their worlds, and the world at large, for the better.


Solo started stripping off his jacket. Bodie and Cowley turned toward him. He proceeded to the tie. "I'll go."

"Why you?" Bodie demanded.

"He doesn't know me. And the fact that I'm older makes me look harmless." Moving the .38 from under his arm to behind his back as he said it gave a certain ironic note to the statement.

Two older pairs of eyes meet. Whatever Cowley saw there he trusted. Nodding to the American agent he raised the R/T again. "Jax, get the aid kit down here, and a white coat from the lab. Fast."

"What do you know about gunshot wounds?" Bodie asked lowly.

Napoleon cocked an eyebrow at him. "More than I care to." He meet the blue eyes. "I'll take care of them."

"Get Doyle into a sitting position, if you can." Cowley told him. Jax emerged from the stairs, joined them, passing over the large medical kit.

Slipping the coat on Napoleon opened the kit and checked it. "What about a weapon?"

The Scot frowned. "If you think either of them can handle it, and if you can get it to them..."

"Unseen." Napoleon finished. He snapped the case closed. "Ready."

"Hoffman, he's coming up." Cowley shouted.

Bodie touched the other man's arm as he started past. "Luck, mate."

The smile that answered him was feral, for the first time showing the cold agent lurking under the smooth exterior. "Luck is my specialty."


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2004 08:12 pm (UTC)
I _love_ the Professionals. the only problem is that they don't even show re-runs of the show here anymore - cable is the only way to see them (and even then, few and far between).

I was always more a bodie than a doyle fan. I didn't realise there was fanfic for it (I should know better by now...!).

do you have any of your fanfic research online?
Oct. 13th, 2004 06:43 am (UTC)
Hey there! :) I always preferred Bodie over Doyle, too! I'd say the best places to go for Pros fanfic are The Circuit Archive and The Hatstand. I understand that The Pros are on DVD now in the UK, but so far I think that's the limit of their availability.

Thanks for asking about my research! The recent pieces on gender in Tolkien fanfic ("Reimagining Rose: Portrayals of Tolkien's Rosie Cotton in Twenty-First Century Fan Fiction") and movieverse vs. bookverse fanfic ("Make Mine 'Movieverse': How the Tolkien Fan Fiction Community Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peter Jackson") are in print in hard-copy form only. My older stuff on Star Trek as Arthuriana is the same. But if you'd like to email me (my email is available on my website), I'd be glad to get copies to you one way or another. :)
Oct. 12th, 2004 11:44 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the multi-fandom recs community crack_van? I don't think they've had any Professionals recs.
Oct. 13th, 2004 06:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion! I think rach74 just started, but I've replied to her. Is the community just for online fic, or do zines count as well, do you happen to know? Thanks again for pointing me in that direction. :)
Oct. 13th, 2004 06:48 am (UTC)
Just online, I think (the idea is to get people addicted to new fandoms as rapidly as possible!). The Professionals is very zine based, IIRC.
Oct. 13th, 2004 07:34 am (UTC)
Ah, that rapid addiction. I can already tell that's going to be a problem. :) As if I weren't intellectually promiscuous enough! LOL.

I think you're right about the Pros being a zine-based fandom, though I've heard there are efforts underway now to move some of the older classics online. I certainly hope that happens, because that's the likeliest route to the next generation of readers.

Oct. 13th, 2004 08:36 am (UTC)
Very "Professional" your recs, thanks. Another very good Rec site is www.alijot.net?The_Professionals_Recs.htm she recs, online stories, Proslib CD stories and zines!

Oct. 13th, 2004 08:38 am (UTC)
sorry, the ? in the addy should be / .

Oct. 13th, 2004 08:44 am (UTC)
Wonderful! Thanks so much, Astrid. :)
Oct. 13th, 2004 11:32 am (UTC)
Actually, there are over 50 Pros recs up on crack_van - click on Memories, then scroll down to The Professionals and click on that link.

Also, a massive amount of older Pros stories -- from zines and from the old paper circuit library -- have already been converted to electronic format and are available on CD. (They've been in the process of transcribing them for years.) If you go to the proslib group on Yahoo Groups and e-mail the list owner for info, she can tell you how to get a copy of the CD. As additional stories are converted to .txt files, they are posted on proslib -- which is a stories-only list -- and then archived to CD.

(Forgive me if I'm telling you stuff you already know, but Pros stories are actually fairly accessible these days, and I don't want anyone to miss out.)

And Ali's recs are also excellent, as Astrid pointed out below.

Plus, the DVDs are well worth buying -- if only for the sarky liner notes. :) I bought a DVD player for about 60 bucks that I hacked to make region-free with no problem. And you can then watch the Man from UNCLE movies on DVD as well -- bonus! (They're only available in Region 2 format.)
Oct. 13th, 2004 11:47 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for all the great info! :) I'm glad to see some familiar titles among the older recs. I did know about the CD collection, though I'm very glad you mentioned it: once I discovered the fandom, I spent some quality time with the stories on CD, getting up to speed. (Ah, good times.) What a great idea about the DVD player! I'm so glad to hear the set is worth it. I definitely need to check that out. And, as you point out, I could double my pleasure with some UNCLE, as well! Many thanks for your feedback and your advice. They're most appreciated.
Oct. 13th, 2004 12:07 pm (UTC)
Ah, I'm glad you've got the CD, then -- it is a source of much evil. And the online Circuit Archive is in the process of being overhauled, which will be lovely as well.

And the DVD player is truly stellar, I have to say -- got it off a Japanese porn site (of course), and it came with a printed sheet of instructions to hack it. You have to love that; nobody is getting between those boys and their addiction to schoolgirls and tentacled monsters. *g* (Like I should speak.)

The UNCLE DVD set is great, BTW -- clear picture, excellent packaging, some fun little extras. Sadly, no interviews. :( But they're finally bringing the UNCLE reunion movie out on DVD, so there's hope that the series may not be too far off. (She says, fingers crossed...)
Oct. 13th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
ROFLOL! Your DVD player story is just priceless. :)

I'm glad to hear the UNCLE DVD set is worth it, as well. Extras are always good!

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )