He could see Rover, up above, floating on the waves next to the boat. He was, at this point, perhaps twenty-five feet down and near the base of the cliffs. The concrete, if that’s what it was, went straight into the rock. It looked as if it had been somehow made a part of the root of the cliffs. And there was the consistent slope downward the further away from shore you went. Nothing else. Not a fish, no plankton, nothing but crystal clear sea water. Dead sea water.
“Hows our lad doing?” Number Two asked.
“Currently exploring the area around the bottom of the cliffs to the north, 23.8 feet under water. Rover is guarding.” The voice of the Supervisor answered back.
“Excellent, excellent!” Turning in his chair he picked up the yellow phone, clicked the button, and said, “Number Twenty Nine, please bring Number Forty One around. Make sure he’s ready for lunch. Thank you.”
Number Six was listening to Bach when the door opened and Number Two walked in.
“Number Six, good taste in music I see. And how has your day gone?”
“Swimmingly,” he answered dryly.
“Sense of humor! Wonderful. Actually, I dropped by to see if you’d made any marine biology discoveries you’d care to share,” and Number Two sat down, across from Number Six, making himself comfortable.
“No, nothing currently. But then you know that already, don’t you?”
“Well, while its true that Rover has kept an eye on you and your doings it can’t read minds you know. At least not yet.” Number Two, now very much at home, reached for the cigarette box. “Do you mind?”
“Would it matter? And how is your precious Number Forty One coming along? All bright-eyed and Village citizen extraordinaire I assume?”
“Oh, he’s acclimatizing slowly but surely. I wouldn’t worry too much about him. He seems co-operative enough. Perhaps he should give YOU a tour of The Village, help you see reason and all that.” He leaned back, made a smoke ring.
“I’ll be content to carry on as usual, thank you. We wouldn’t want to upset the natural balance, now would we?”
“Yes, of course, I’d … ” Number Two, red phone in hand, was sweating bullets. “Immediately, sir. Yes … Yes … Yes, sir, you can count on me. I’ll … Yes, and you.”
It had been the Voice on the phone that had “suggested” to Number Two that he lure Number Six into giving Number Forty One a tour of The Village. Number Two hadn’t believed Six would accept. It had been Two’s idea to offer scuba gear. With the Barrier it didn’t matter. Even Number Two had no control over that. Now Number One wanted Number Six and Number Forty One to interact more. He wanted a bond formed. It was up to Number Two to bring this about. Number Forty One was something of an oddity. He was valuable, he had been informed of that in no uncertain terms. But Forty One was a chemist working in a lab, one among many, for a corporation of no real significance. No government contacts, no secretive work on chemical compounds that would lend themselves to the business of either side. That there was an underlying motive he was certain. What and why? He would not risk asking and he thought it safer not to know. Bringing Number Forty One and Number Six together, for whatever reason, was at this point his only concern.
Number Two had arranged for an “accidental” meeting between Numbers Six and Forty One. They were playing chess, Number Forty One rather badly. His hands shook as he moved his pieces. The game went on longer than usual, and as Number Two watched on the monitor it was evident that Number Six was allowing the game to continue. Six said very little. Number Forty One on the other hand was pouring his heart out. The man had no clue why he was there, wherever and whatever “there” was. But perhaps, Number Two surmised, his trusting Number Six after the tour, given Number Six’s blunt honesty, was the reason Number One wanted this relationship tended tenderly. Maybe Number Forty One was going to share something and that something might be the reason he was there. And the monitors, the warders walking by, the hidden microphones, captured it all.
He would be able to make one more dive after this. He had breathed shallowly, making the three hours worth of air last closer to four. If he went back to the boat in three to four minutes he’d have about ten minutes, maybe twelve, for his last dive. Up to this point he had seen nothing, discovered nothing. It was all more of the same. Up to this point. It was floating kelp that had caught his eye at first, then a small group of fish. It was when he swam towards them that he had found it. He swam straight into it. “It” was a wall of some sort. You couldn’t see it but it was there. Perhaps a type of glass? He wasn’t sure. But it separated the ocean on the one side from the ocean on the other. This explained the lack of sea life. This barrier kept everything out. And the “concrete” floor made growth impossible. He realized now more than ever what a prison The Village and the surrounding area was. If this existed what else might there be? The logistics of it alone was mind-boggling, considering what it must have taken to convert several hundred acres of sea bottom to this. He was about to surface when he spotted it, hidden away in the rocky base of the cliff. It was a metal hatch with a screw type handle, like the ones on a submarine. Was it a way out? Or a way in?
When he surfaced he did so at the wall of what he called glass for lack of a better term. There was, above water, a sort of shimmer to it. Standing in the boat he reached as far up as he could, feeling, feeling. How high did it go? Where did it end? He marked the spot mentally. His next dive, his last dive, would be here. And he would go directly to the hatch.
Number Two was watching vicariously via Rover. “He found one of them, and the Barrier. Surprising, surprising. Well, this ought to prove entertaining,” he mumbled to himself. “I wonder how much air he has left?”
Next, the end of “Deep Six”.
- The Prisoner … “Deep Six” … Part One (theprisonerfanfiction.wordpress.com)