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So, I've found myself in the need of a beta-reader again. Fic this time is once again of the Napoleon/Illya flavour, only PG (maybe edging towards R-ish in a few places), but it is a solid 23,000 words worth of detailed canonical references, elaborate crack-theories, shameless historical geekery, and ridiculously over-extended UST.

I have already had two different betas volunteer but wind up unable to help me out thanks to other commitments, and the fic has now been in various stages of limbo since July. If anyone is in a position to wade through this monster for me in relatively short order, I'd be very grateful.

For some idea of what you're getting into, one partial scene under the cut.

The other half of the trouble with Napoleon is that no matter how many women Illya may have had to watch him woo, there are still those moments that make him... wonder.Collapse )

The other half of the trouble with Napoleon is that no matter how many women Illya may have had to watch him woo, there are still those moments that make him... wonder. For a man so incurably fond of flirting with each and every member of the opposite sex to cross his path, Napoleon sometimes seems to forget to stop flirting when there isn't a woman in sight.

"I am afraid," Napoleon announces, buttoning his cuffs in front of the mirror, "that I will have to deprive you of my fine company for a few hours. Do you have everything you need?"

Illya frowns, upsetting the balance of the ice-pack resting on his brow, and forcing him to shove it back up out of his eyes. The only woman he can clearly remember meeting today had been a THRUSH medical technician holding the syringe. He tries to recall whether there'd been any attractive nurses back at the hospital earlier in the afternoon, but his head swims with the effort. "When did you manage to line up a date in all the excitement?" he asks, suspicious.

Napoleon's smile is rueful. "The only date I have lined up for this evening is with the town mayor. I'm told he wants to know on whose authority people have been detonating explosives within reverberation distance of his constituency. UNCLE has deputised me to smooth things over."

"Ah." Now that Illya looks again, Napoleon isn't dressed for an evening out. He needs that second look – everything in his field of view is still fuzzy around the edges, thanks to whatever they'd given him in the hospital to help bring him down. "How lucky they had someone so uniquely qualified to explain how that came about."

Napoleon catches his eye in the mirror. "He may have some questions about reports of a nearly-naked man attempting to make a getaway over a rooftop too, of course," he adds, which Illya supposes is much the retort he's been subconsciously waiting for for some time. But if Napoleon wants to laugh at him, he's probably earned it.

"Then you can tell him his nearly-naked man has been reunited with his pants and is recovering comfortably in your hotel room," Illya suggests. Not the same pair he'd been wearing this morning, admittedly, wherever those might be now. Lost in the blur that is nearly everything after his THRUSH captors had wheeled him into the boardroom on a gurney is the key detail that would explain why he'd been down to his underwear when Napoleon finally got to him out on the roof. Perhaps the lab techs had wanted him to look vulnerable? It's certainly possible. Illya thinks he'd rather prefer that to be the case, when the alternative is that he'd rid himself of his pants later on his own initiative, for reasons he has little hope of reconstructing now, and even less desire to try.

A captured UNCLE agent must have seemed the ideal subject for a live demonstration of their new fear toxin: after all, if the drug could reduce a professional enemy spy to a paranoid wreck, it could surely do the same for anyone. Having experienced first hand the devastating effects of Gervaise Ravel's own fear agent, Illya would hardly have been inclined to argue the point, and had resigned himself to the inevitability of another experience very much the same vein – at least up to the point where his adrenaline-fuelled thrashing had overcome the restraints holding him to the gurney, leading to an altercation in which he had apparently wrestled a gun away from a guard and wounded at least three people before climbing out a window. It was probably for the best he was out of bullets by the time Napoleon got to him with a syringe full of the antidote – by then camped out under the overhang of an access stairwell on the roof, glaring blearily out into a world that was bright and sharp and over-full, and he himself distinctly under-dressed.

Here in the present, Napoleon raises his eyebrows in amusement, and it's only when Illya sees his expression that it occurs to him that the part about 'recovering in Napoleon's hotel room' probably came out sounding more suggestive aloud than it had in his head.

"You'll understand if I might word that one a little differently in case there are any little birdies still hovering in our vicinity." Napoleon's eyes faintly glitter with amusement. "I should probably check in with the clean-up crew while I'm out."

"Let me know if they've found my dignity in the rubble," says Illya, who is too mature to attempt to hide under his pillow from the trainwreck that has become of his day, but only just. "I suspect it will be right at the bottom, probably in several pieces."

Napoleon winces, and has the decency to look fuzzily sympathetic. "You know I would have offered you my coat for the way down..."

"If you wanted to complete my image of the neighbourhood flasher lurking in the bushes behind the playground, certainly."

"I don't know that it's so bad as all that," Napoleon tries, his wince settling into something more in the vicinity of a pout.

"I'd argue with you, but I honestly don't remember much of it," Illya admits. "I'm going to have to read your report just to find out what I've been up to all day, which I can't say I'm looking forward to."

"I don't know what you mean," says Napoleon, straightening his tie. "Agent Kuryakin performed an admirable diversionary service, shaking off the effects of the latest THRUSH paranoia toxin to disable at least three guards before making his escape, leading them all on a merry chase across the rooftops and providing Agent Solo with ample time set the charges and plan their exit strategy."

Illya shoots another look at the mirror, though it's far too high up to reflect his own face from where he sits on the bed. He must look truly dire if Napoleon is working so hard to lift his spirits. Perhaps for once, defensive pessimism has done its job. "So. No date then?"

"None lined up at this time." Finished with his tie, Napoleon pats him on the ankle as he passes the bed. "But you never do know how the evening may turn out."

Illya feels uncomfortably certain he can see the shape of his own already. "If the mayor has a beautiful daughter, I'd advise you to leave her alone."

"And risk having to admit that to our superiors? Illya, you wound me."

Napoleon, Illya decides, is far too chipper for a man whose own partner had very nearly taken him as an enemy plant earlier that day. "One would almost think you'd spent enough time wrestling nearly naked people to the ground for one day."

"Or vice-versa," Napoleon comments, or mumbles, in an off-hand sort of way that Illya is less than sure he was supposed to have heard at all. From the depths of the crowded fog of his recollections, a memory stirs. Illya experiences a sudden and vivid flashback to what may have been his first moment of clarity in what had felt like countless hours of being hunted across the rooftops of the compound by a seemingly infinite army of armed THRUSH enforcers, dogging his footsteps and imitating the voices of his friends. Then, in the midst of all that fury, the terrible the realisation that what he'd taken as an enemy impostor posing as Napoleon was no enemy at all but the real thing, in incalculable danger from an untold number of THRUSH snipers peering from shadowy stealth helicopters over their heads, if Illya couldn't get to him right now...

"Please tell me I didn't." Sense memory is a vicious thing, and Illya fervently hates it. Why the thought of Napoleon having to tackle him in order to stab him with the syringe of the counter-agent should be the substantially less mortifying option is beyond him to justify; all Illya knows is the very organic fear that this could be one he'll never manage to live down.

Stopped in the doorway, Napoleon looks back over his shoulder with a playful smile. "Illya," he says, tapping the side of his nose, voice pitched low as if sharing some particular secret, "a gentleman never tells," and leaves Illya alone in their hotel room with a bag of ice on his head and a warm, fluttery feeling in his gut he'll later try to blame on the cocktail of drugs working their way through his system, or perhaps indigestion – anything, really, except the sinfully low pitch of Napoleon's voice as he flirted shamelessly to reassure his convalescing partner.

(There are a couple more such snippets over on my tumblr, if you're curious. The dates on those demonstrate pretty neatly how long this poor thing has been stuck in limbo by now.)

Pen Paper Coffee

We are opening the December challenge early!

The December prompts are Nemesis and, in honor of the season, Noel!

One or both prompts may be used for your story.
Stories can be 500 words or longer - no maximum limit.

Any genre is welcome.  Both TV-verse and Movie-verse are welcome!

You can post your story to MFUWSS any time.
If you miss the deadline, no worries. Submit it anyway!  

All readers are encouraged to be a Beta - just leave your feedback in the comments!

What Subtext

The Alphabet Affair - M

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.11.06 at 14:18
Title: The Alphabet Affair - M
Author: Spikesgirl58
Genre: slash
Word count: 1118
Prompts: Minion and Moscow

The four men sat in a sedan, only the tip of its hood highlighted by the streetlight. It buzzed and flickered on and off as if trying to signal someone in an indecisive way.

“I don’t like it.” That was apparent by Napoleon’s tone, not to mention his glare. “I’m the senior agent here and I should be going in.”

“And Delno Vickrey knows you on sight. The last thing I want to do tonight is have to rescue you from his clutches… again.” Illya Kuryakin was putting the finishing touches on his disguise. “Hopefully, he never got a good look at me.”

“Even if he did, it’s unlikely he would know you now.” Napoleon caught sight of his partner in the rearview mirror. The moustache and hooked nose were enough to disguise Illya’s face, but the addition of the color contact lenses was the final stroke. Napoleon found it a little sad that the blue eyes he was so accustomed to now hid behind brown lenses.

“With any luck, we will be in and out in a heartbeat.” Lean was working on his own makeup. “How do I look?”

His partner half turned and made a face. “Like a Bowery drag queen. You could back off on the eye shadow.” Sprat tossed his handkerchief from the front seat.

“You’re just jealous that you don’t have such marvelous eyes in such a marvelous face. Is that marvelous?” Lean’s voice had gone up an octave and he fluffed the wig he was wearing. He picked the handkerchief and stuffed it down his bodice. “I shall indeed carry your colors into battle, m’lord.”
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Pen Paper Coffee

It's time for November's New Beta Challenge!

This month, the prompts are Minion and Moscow!

One or both prompts may be used for your story.
Stories can be 500 words or longer - no maximum limit.

Any genre is welcome.  Both TV-verse and Movie-verse are welcome!

You can post your story to MFUWSS any time.
If you miss the deadline, no worries. Submit it anyway!  

All readers are encouraged to be a Beta - just leave your feedback in the comments!

Halloween kittes

Please take a moment

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.10.29 at 15:16
To drop over to the Scrapbook and check out all the excellent stories posted for the Halloween Challenge!

Title: The Alphabet Affair - L
Author: Spikesgirl58
Genre: Slash
Word count: 1230
prompts - Letter and Luck

Napoleon attempted to bring some order to the bed, but nothing short of stripping it and remaking it would suffice. He finally just pulled the bedspread over the rumpled bedclothes and sat to put on his shoes.

“Our escort from the local office should be here any minute,” he said as he tied his left shoe. At the nonresponse, he glanced up and saw Illya standing in front of the mirror, his turtleneck’s collar pulled away from his neck. He was examining the various bruises there. “Are you okay? Do they hurt?”

“Quite the contrary. I was just remembering back to the last time I received one of these. I think it was my second year in Paris.” He let the collar go and ran a finger through his hair. “I never took you for a biter, Napoleon.”
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Prompts: letter, luck
Word count: 1442

If he thought about it for longer than a minute he reckoned the entire incident might be put down to bad luck. Ordinarily, Illya didn't believe in such things, and he continued to defy and polarize himself by being intolerant of the popular myth that there was something called Solo's Luck.

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Pen Paper Coffee

It's time for the October New Beta Challenge!

This month, the prompts are Letter and Luck!

One or both prompts may be used for your story.
Stories can be 500 words or longer - no maximum limit.

Any genre is welcome.  Both TV-verse and Movie-verse are welcome!

You can post your story to MFUWSS any time.
If you miss the deadline, no worries. Submit it anyway!  

All readers are encouraged to be a Beta - just leave your feedback in the comments!

halloween night 1

Last chance!

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.09.24 at 07:24
This is your last chance to put up a prompt in mfu_scrapbook for the 2016 Halloween Challenge. Entries close tonight at midnight. so if you have the perfect photo, now is the time!! Don't let these plot bunnies down!

What Subtext

The Beta challenge

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.09.10 at 10:26
Title The Alphabet Affair - K
Author - spikesgirl58
Genre - slash
Word count - 823
Prompts - Kidnap and Knucklehead!

Illya stared at the ceiling, still not quite believing what had happened. His limbs felt as if they weighed a ton apiece and there was an ache in the small of his back that promised bigger things yet to come. It didn’t matter. For the first time in what seemed forever, Illya was sated, from his eyebrows to his toenails. He was both invigorated and exhausted at the same time. He wanted to leap from the bed and shout his news from the inadequate window that overlooked Geary Street. He wanted to never move from the bed and keep his news to himself, hidden away forever.

Even so, as Napoleon stepped from behind the partially closed bathroom door and smiled, Illya felt himself start to stir again. He didn’t take his eyes off his partner, though. It was as it seeing him for the first time.
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happy halloween

Don't be afraid

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.09.05 at 11:14

There's still time to participate in MFU_Scrapbook's Halloween Challenge.

You don't need to take a prompt in order to request a story. You can take a prompt that has already been taken by someone else. There is no minimum/maximum word count and the only rule is to not post before October 29th.

What could be easier? So drop on by and see if something strikes your spooky fancy!

Pen Paper Coffee

I have been on vacation, and now it's over!  Time to get back to RL and, more importantly, MFUWSS!

It's time for September's New Beta Challenge!

This month, the prompts are Kidnap and Knucklehead!

One or both prompts may be used for your story.
Stories can be 500 words or longer - no maximum limit.

Any genre is welcome.  Both TV-verse and Movie-verse are welcome!

You can post your story to MFUWSS any time.
If you miss the deadline, no worries. Submit it anyway!  

All readers are encouraged to be a Beta - just leave your feedback in the comments!

halloween night 2

It's not too late!

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.08.26 at 13:58
We are still taking prompts for the 2016 Halloween Challenge in MFU_Scrapbook! So grab a broom and head on over. All the necessary information can be found here.

halloween night 2

Is anyone up for the Halloween Challenge?

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.08.16 at 04:42
If you are, check out my post in Scrapbook. I hope to see you there!

What Subtext

The Beta Challenge - J

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.08.14 at 07:17
Tags: ,
Title: The Alphabet Affair - J
Writer: spikesgirl58
Genre: slash
Rating: a soft R
Prompts: Jaded and Justify!

This was the best time. Napoleon was just on the edge of waking up. Everything was soft and sweet just like the body next to him. It shifted closer and a smile escaped the still sleeping agent’s lips.

Warm, willing, what more could a man ask for? He let his body answer for him, a physical reaction as old as man himself. He nestled his erection in a well of heat in the small of the woman’s back. She responded by pressing closer. Napoleon’s body woke a bit more at the encouragement.

He slipped an arm over the slender waist, making his way up to a supple breast. He stroke the stiff nipple and stroked the hair…
Read more... but there is slash aheadCollapse )

Pen Paper Coffee

It's time for the New Beta Challenge for August!

This month, the prompts are Jaded and Justify!

One or both prompts may be used for your story.
Stories can be 500 words or longer - no maximum limit.

Any genre is welcome.  Both TV-verse and Movie-verse are welcome!

You can post your story to MFUWSS any time.
If you miss the deadline, no worries. Submit it anyway!  

All readers are encouraged to be a Beta - just leave your feedback in the comments!

So, a little while back I made a post here about my efforts to track down the original production notes for the UNCLE show. I'd found Napoleon and Illya's bios online, but only fragments of Mr. Waverly's, or the surrounding notes about the world of the show. Folks helpfully suggested I might find the parts I was looking for in the old yahoo groups or the Facebook group, which I tried without success -- then largely by accident stumbled onto an auction for a copy of the original promotional pressbook for the series with high-quality scans of several pages, and by trying a matching-image-search on that I found another site with low-res scans of yet more pages from the pressbook, and...

[breathes] Well, long story short, I found the complete text of Mr. Waverly's original bio! And like Napoleon's and Illya's, it hints at a whole bunch of stuff that never made it to the screen. As per previous discussions, it's debatable how much of these bios still count as 'canon' at this point, but are generally still a fascinating read. Transcript under the cut. Just to have them all in one place, I've copied Napoleon's and Illya's over as well.

There are a number of other interesting pages in the pressbook, which hint at episodes which were pitched but never filmed, or ultimately filmed under different names. Also, it seems that not only Heather McNabb but also Grace Lee as Wanda Mae Kim, an East-Asian receptionist, were supposed to be recurring characters on the show, though neither character actually appeared more than a handful of times in early episodes.

Mr. WaverlyCollapse )

Napoleon SoloCollapse )

Illya KuryakinCollapse )

My default

The Alphabet Affair - I

Posted by spikesgirl58 on 2016.07.17 at 14:30
Title - The Alphabet Affair - I
Author: Spikesgirl58
Word count 889
Prompt: Ice and Invisible

Illya watched the people come through the gate and was beginning to grow concerned when he saw a familiar shape moving among the crowd. Napoleon exited and nodded to his partner.

“How was your flight?” he asked casually. To anyone around them, it would appear that Illya was simply on hand to greet an old friend.

“Rotten. Yours?”

“The child apparently had an ear infection, a situation compounded by the altitude. The mother was less that sympathetic. I believe her comment to the stewardess was that she should try living with it. I now know why some animals eat their young. He finally fell asleep over Colorado.”

“I had a chatter. All the way across, except when she fell asleep. Then she snored.” Napoleon led the way to baggage claim. Both men approached slowly, scanning the crowd, looking for anything, anyone who might raise a red flag. The area was filled with people coming and going. “I believe we are Carousel Three.”

They stood there, looking for the world like two tired businessmen, blending in easily with everyone else, invisible to most people
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City River at Night

Fair Use & Brexit

Posted by fiorenza_a on 2016.07.03 at 07:06

Originally posted by fiorenza_a at Fair Use & Brexit

The latest thing to arrive in my inbox from the Organization for Transformative Works is a piece about Paramount/CBS' Fan Film Guidelines.

Brexit & FanworksCollapse )

So really my question, such as it is, boils down to two parts a) has anyone else found themselves bewildered by comments about copyright law predicated on the assumption that the DMCA and related legislation applies universally? and b) is anyone else wondering how Brexit might affect fanworks?

Back in January, I posted a fic for the New Beta Challenge, letter "D" (here) in which Napoleon and Illya were faced with a difficult situation: a Soviet scientist trying to defect.

Thanks again to everyone who gave feedback! You helped me fix up various problems in the fic, and also reassured me that the ending I went with was believable, even if a lot bleaker than the show itself.

I've posted the revised version here.

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