The Prisoner … “Putsch” … Part 3

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Of course he couldn’t be certain of any of it and much of what he’d learned was contradictory but there was enough that matched, what little there was, that a rather sinister scenario began to form. Number Eighty One was to be accused, and doubtless found guilty, of treason. The basis seemed to be that he was going to defect, “escape”, taking sensitive information with him. Number Six was sure that there would be a great deal of concocted evidence, more than enough to convince the “masters” behind the scenes. Number Four would never have made this move without ample evidence. But it was the reading between the lines that worried Number Six. They could all go hang so far as he was concerned but if the little he’d heard concerning the new Number Two was true …

He was no stranger to the double-dealing side of espionage and the world that went with it. There could only be one outcome if just half of his information was correct. A series of high level assassinations and our new Number Two could easily become the new Number One, or something similar. Would they blame the assassinations on associates of Number Eighty One? He thought it probable. With the “loyalists” out of the way it would be a totally new regime. And an entirely new Village, gone from bad to worse.

Number - 81

Number Eighty One. A case of nerves?

That The Village consisted of row after row of rotting cabbages he was well aware. But they were innocent rotting cabbages. He was sure of what needed to be done. How to do it was another question. One that, as of yet, he had no answer to.

~~~

“You’re sure?” Number Six asked a rather sleepy-eyed Knight.

“Certain.” He’d rather have remained a Bishop. The freedom of movement was refreshing compared to that of a Knight. Being a Knight made him feel a prisoner. But you take what comes. Asking to be a Bishop again might well be seen as a sign of individualism. And he remembered what had happened to the Rook.

“Queens Pawn to row four!” Number Six, on the other hand, was always a Pawn.

~~ ~

Evidence. The truth mattered little so long as the manufactured facts were, lets say, palatable.

“Yes, you wanted to see me?” Number Six smiled at Number Two as he approached the desk, the oval chair swinging slowly around.

“Well, Number Six, I’m always delighted that you drop by but I’m afraid I didn’t call for you. What made you think I had?”

“It was Number Eighty One. He told me that you wanted to see me.”

“Really? How very interesting.” And Number Two pushed a button on the console of his desk.

After Number Six had left Number Two spoke with the Supervisor. He wanted all surveillance records gone over with a fine tooth comb. Something was afoot and he couldn’t chance contradictions at this point. His evidence against Number Eighty One was flawless and needed to stay that way. Either Eighty One was up to something or Number Six was. Either way he needed to know.

~~~

“That’s a very interesting wrist band. Did you buy it here in the Village or is it imported?” Number Six leaned over Number Eighty One’s shoulder at the concert.

He jumped, startled by Number Six. But then everything seemed to startle him lately.

“Confound it, man! Would you do me the courtesy of not sneaking up behind me!”

“Nerves?” Number Six asked, the hint of a sympathetic smile on his lips.

“Number Six,” Number Eighty One got up to leave, “you know what you can do with your nerves!”

~~~

Number Two had watched the surveillance videos. Number Six and Number Eighty One were seen together only twice. Once at the cafe, and once only moments ago at the Village concert. Both times Number Eighty One had left immediately. It was almost as though they were trying not to be seen together. Or Number Six knew something that Number Eighty One wanted no part of. Number Six knew something.

~~~

“And I suppose you’re going to ask me that age-old question, the one on everyone’s lips, why did I resi …”

“No, not currently,” Number Two cut Number Six off. “You’ve been seen with Number Eighty One. He has, lets say, fallen out of favor with the powers that …”

“And doesn’t everyone, given time?” Number Six frowned. “Doesn’t everyone fall out of favor with the powers that be at some point? That’s part of the game here, isn’t it Number Four?!”

“Number Two! I am Number Two! You are Number Six! And you would do well to remember my position and your place!” Number Two was leaning over his desk now, arms stiff, holding himself up on whitened knuckles.

“Well, yes, for now you are Number Two. The new Number Two. And soon I’m sure there will be yet another.” Number Six spoke calmly, with an assurance that grated on Number Two’s nerves. The insolence! “There always is you know.”

“Number Six, I advise you to stay clear of Number Eighty One. You wouldn’t want your image tarnished, now would you?” Number Two spoke through clinched teeth, his jaw set.

“Be seeing you, Number, uh, Two.” And saluting he turned and walked to the door. Upon exiting the Green Dome he began to wander the Village streets. He made certain that he was always in view of the surveillance cameras. Winding what should look like a confusing route he went indirectly directly to the residence of Number Eighty One. With the envelope in his interior jacket pocket at the ready.

~~~

Part 4 … the ~finis~ … Later.

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