The basis for this crossover is a fairly straightforward one: Lois Bujold has been quite open about the fact that Simon Ilyan, head of Imperial Security for the Barrayaran Imperium, was greatly inspired by Ilya Kuriakin, agent of U.N.C.L.E.
There’s a few options for this one, most of which involve time travel to allow the two men to meet. What they would each make of the other’s culture and times is a brain bending thought. Both are cosmopolitan in their own ways, and no great believers in their own infallibility, but still there are as many differences between them as there are similarities. Kuriakin might well find Miles more to his taste than Simon, recognising a fellow irrepressible improviser, while no doubt Ilyan and Waverly could trade a few tales over some drinks. The question that needs answering is who goes to whose time period?
Of course, that assumes that it’s the good guys who have the time machine. If it were the bad guys, that would be a very different story. Because if ever there was a Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undersirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (with access to terrifyingly well-developed genetic engineering capabilities), its name was the Empire of Cetaganda.
It might surprise many mages to learn that they have allies among the mundanes who are just as devoted to the fight against the triumph of the Technocray as they are. But there is an entire arm of the United Nations that does little but fight this battle, and often with better intelligence than the Traditions can muster.
That arm is the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, or U.N.C.L.E. for short. And there is a very simple reason why they fight the Technocracy: because it is simply another name for the Technological Hierachy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, or THRUSH. Undesirables, in this context, clearly means what the Technocracy thinks of a ‘reality deviants’ and the subjugation of humanity is of course for their own good.
There are two ways to play such a game.
The first is to surprise your Tradition Mage PCs with the revelation that they have some very competent allies who are not in any way magical.
The second, and more interesting, is for your superspies to gradually uncover the true stakes of the game that THRUSH is playing, and to make places – possibly even awakened places – for themselves in the Ascension War. (They may well discover that one or two Sons of Ether have already made a home for themselves in U.N.C.L.E., working to create those wonderful toys that Solo and Kuriakin use so often.)
I can only assume that pensions for former employees of the United Nations are pretty crap.
What else would make a man of integrity like Napolean Solo reinvent himself as a con-man named Albert Stroller? Perhaps, after a lifetime spent fighting the machinations of T.H.R.U.S.H., he felt it was owed to him?
It’s notable that he – and the fellow con-artists that he is something of a mentor too – subscribe to the idea that you can’t cheat an honest man, which must go a ways towards salving Albie’s conscience. Then too, most of the wealthy upper class types that he so enjoys targetting are also prime recruits for the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. Perhaps he hasn’t strayed so far from the fold as it appears.
Is he truly retired at all, or is Albert Stroller merely a convenient deep cover identity?
Either way, when Illya Kuryakin comes calling, it’s unlikely that the old Mr Solo would refuse to help him.