Tag Archives: Prisoner

The Prisoner … “Retrieval”

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I just didn’t have the heart to leave Number Six in a global Village. I decided he needed retrieval.

~

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Number Six: Where am I? Number Two: In the Village. Number Six: What do you want? Number Two: Information. Number Six: Whose side are you on? Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… in formation. Number Six: You won’t get it. Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will. Number Six: Who are you? Number Two: The new Number Two. Number Six: Who is Number One? Number Two: You are Number Six. Number Six: I am not a number! I am a free man!

~

“Why Rannesin?” Number Two queried.

“Each familiar person, place, or thing added lends itself to a reality guaranteed to bring about the desired results. He’ll fill in blanks himself, return to old haunts, renew friendships, and finally realize that, the whole world being The Village, his secrets are redundant. There is no place to escape to, there is no longer a need to protect all people. He’ll talk. It may take time, but he’ll talk. There’s no longer a reason not to.”

“You’d better be right.”

“Oh, I’m right. I’ve done this before and its never failed.” The man adjusted his glasses as though for emphasis. “Never!”

~

Number Six stood in the office of Number Two, facing his desk, looking out the window at the London skyline.

“What’s it all about?”

“I told you,” Number Two replied leisurely, “that there were going to be changes. And now you see those changes for yourself.”

“I see nothing but another failed stunt of yours to …” Number Six spoke through clinched teeth as Number Two cut him off in mid sentence.

“Come, come now, old boy, you’ve seen nothing yet,” and he pressed a button. The far wall glimmered, grew lighter, showed itself to be a large screen. “Name a place. Any place, your choice, and I’ll show you that things have changed.”

“Rio.”

Number Two typed out a few letters on a keyboard resting on his desk. The screen blinked once and there was Rio in all its splendor. A panoramic view.

“It’s a trick. You’ve …”

“Pick a place in Rio, any place.” Number Two smiled calmly.

“The Hotel Encontro.”

A few more key strokes and the Hotel Encontro appeared on screen.

“Why not pick a room?” Number Two waved his hand towards the screen.

“1C.”

“Ah, the room you occupied while investigating that messy Colombian drug cartel.” A few more key strokes and they were looking at the hotel room. The maid was currently cleaning. “Any particular angle or spot in the room you’d like to …”

“You’ve made your point!” Number Six barked.

“Yes, indeed. You see, we’ve expanded our, shall we say, franchise. Number Six,” Number Two leaned back in his chair, “you are free to go any where you desire. Go back to your old flat if you like. Pick up life as you knew it, where you left it. We’ll call on you when need be.”

A rather bewildered look on his face, Number Six stood there, stunned.

“We’ve grown, Number Six. We’ve outgrown The Village that you knew and so wanted to escape from,” Number Two leaned forward over the desk. “You see, Number Six, freedom is a myth. Your secrets? They no longer matter. You are no longer a protector of other people. World domination?” He laughed, slumping back into his chair as though fully at home and altogether comfortable. “Governments needn’t be overthrown, wars are a waste of resources, and there is only one thing necessary.”

“Enlighten me.”

“It’s all very simple, Number Six. Well placed people in key positions. Political offices, the military, and the corporate  world. All the world is a Village now, and with no one the wiser.”

“I know.”

“And absolutely no one will ever believe you.”

~

He sat in his usual spot, drinking his usual drink. The pub was packed. Many of the faces were familiar to him. He had come here fairly often and new several of the regulars. Everything was normal. Laughter, darts. And then he saw Leonard walk through the door. Leonard, who he had played darts with so many times. Leonard smiled, waved. Number Six smiled back, nodded, lifted his drink. It was all he could do to control his facial expression. Because now he knew, he understood.

~

“Heart rate up, blood pressure rising.” The med tech began printing out the data.

“He’s in a pub that he knows well. Why would he react this way?” Number Two was looking at the screen, watching Number Six smile, drink.

The phone rang. The red one.

“Yes, sir. Certainly.” And Number Two held out the phone to the current Number Thirteen. “It’s for you.”

“Yes, what is it?” Number Thirteen spoke into the phone. “Yes, yes, I understand, but … NO! YOU listen. I do this MY way! You’ve put this in the hands of imbeciles in the past and failed repeatedly. If you want it done I’ll get it done, but you let ME take care of the project or you can bloody well come down here and do it yourself!” And, punching the “off” button, thrust the phone at Number Two.

Number Two, eyes wide, stood dumbfounded. “Do you … do you … know … who … who … that  wa … was?” He sputtered.

“Of course I know!” Number Thirteen snapped. “And its high time someone stood up to him. He wants this done? Then he’ll learn patience and let me do it!” At that Thirteen looked towards where he knew the monitoring camera was located and made a slight bow.

Number Two was visibly shaking and looked as though he was about to faint. And he very nearly did.

`

They watched the screen together. Number Six was walking away from the pub, seemingly calm. “Blood pressure and pulse have returned to normal,” said the med tech.

“What happened in the pub? Why did he suddenly …” Number Two was watching the screen intently, questioning Number Thirteen.

“Some sort of glitch, perhaps with the equipment here. Its nothing to …” And Number Two cut him off in mid sentence.

“Glitch?! A glitch did you say? What do you think we’re doing here? Playing a cricket match? We can’t afford glitches!”

Number Thirteen turned and calmly walked the few feet separating them. His face was only inches from Number Two’s. “I,” he said in a low, even tone, “I won’t be bullied by him,” and he pointed to the red phone, “how do you think you’ll fare? I can walk out of this room and leave you in charge if you can do my job. Can you do my job?”

~

Number Six strolled calmly. He knew what needed to be done but hadn’t figured out yet how to do it. But an idea was forming.

~

“Brain waves are erratic.” The med tech adjusted dials, flipped a switch. Number Two and Number Thirteen, shoulder to shoulder, watched the screen. Number Six had stopped, a look of concentration on his face.

“What’s he doing? What’s going on in that mind of his?”

The scene on the screen began to change, to move.

“What the … ?”

The buildings, the walk, the street, everything around Number Six began to bend, rearrange.

“Do something!” Number Two yelled at Thirteen as he feverishly began adjusting the IV drip.

Number Six bolted upright, and tearing the IV from his arm, jerking the electrodes from his forehead, promptly fell back on the gurney while still struggling to get up.

“Restrain him!” Number Thirteen was holding him down as four orderly’s rushed to either side of Number Six.

“Take him to hospital, quickly! If any thing happens to him we’ll all …” Number Two was cut off by the sound of a phone. The red one. Looking at a ghostly white Number Thirteen he said coldly, “I believe that call will be for you.”

~

As the orderly’s rushed Number Six to hospital he could see, through the drug induced haze, the all to familiar buildings of The Village.

Later, in the hospital ward, Number Two stood next to his bed. The man had, by sheer will power, overcome the illusions they had so carefully constructed.

“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me how you knew it was all false?” Number Two raised an eyebrow in question.

“Why not?” Number Six smiled weakly. “I met an old friend of mine, Leonard, at the pub.”

“So? Was that so very odd?”

“Leonard an I used to play darts together. Until his death four years ago.”

~

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The Prisoner: “Imminent Departure”

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~

Prolog: This may, or may not, be my finale for our agent, Mr. Drake, and The Prisoner. As you read this keep in mind that things aren’t always what they seem. But then again, sometimes they are. Confusing, isn’t it? I’ve tried, and please don’t ask me how I came by the information (that would be telling) to fill in a few blanks concerning The Village, its residents, and our agent, here and there. And I have, admittedly, engaged in more than just a bit of humor. The last I heard Number Two was updating my file in that respect. But it occurs to me that in the filling in of blanks I’ve left out some interesting information. And that’s what THEY want, isn’t it? Information. And so there is another story interwoven with “Imminent Departure”. The title? “The Recruits”. You see, Mr. Drake was trained for his job as part of a class of twelve. I thought you might like to know a little about the beginning as we’re drawing towards what may, or may not, be the end. Oh, and FYI, you can cut, paste, and go to Google translate to convert Russian into English.

~

Quote: “Freedom is a myth.” Patrick McGoohan.

~

Number Six had glanced over his shoulder just as he came to the corner of the building. The other man rounded the corner at the same time. Colliding into each other they now stood face to face.

“You!” The mans eyes went wide and then narrowed. His badge read Nine. “You,” he said again, lowly. “So you are the reason I’ve been brought here.” He looked Number Six up and down, taking a slow step back. “No number I see. You are the Number One. I could have guessed!” And turning he walked off, heading now in a new direction. The Green Dome.

“Be seeing you,” called out Number Six, saluting.

~

He heard the person approaching. Heavy steps, obviously male. He waited until the shadow fell, and remained, on his copy of the Tally Ho before looking up.

“Well, the changing of the guard didn’t take long this time, did it?” He was looking up at the new Number Two.

“Number Six,” the new Number Two chuckled, shaking his head from side to side in a mildly amused and somewhat disappointed sort of way. He looked up from Number Six and out over the retaining wall towards the sea and breathed deeply. And calmly walked away.

~

“The Recruits” … Spy school. Who would have thought there could be such a thing? But everyone needs training. Mr. Drake, having been recruited as he was from the bank, took three months sick leave. They said it was some sort of fever he’d contracted while on vacation. Very serious. And the three months of training was just that. Serious, intense. It was a class of twelve. Each man was paired with another. You see, not only did you learn your trade but you learned the necessity of team work as well. There were no lone wolves. Drakes partner, a very likable chap, had been recruited from the Royal Navy. Being a sailor he had a girl in every port, and several far from port. Drake worked hard to master his new trade. It was, after all, life or death.

~

Oddities never cease in The Village. The first man, Number Nine, had a very distinct Lithuanian accent. Number Two had a mild accent, almost undetectable. The sort of accent a person acquires after having learned several languages fluently. The accents weren’t so very odd by themselves. It was the resemblance between the two. They could easily have been brothers. At a distance, side by side, they would be nearly impossible to tell apart. But the oddest part was the feeling in Number Six’s gut. In some dim way he recognized them both. But from where, and when? It would come, given time.

~

“I know you,” Number Six stood over Number Two as the other man sipped coffee at the café. Number Two, looking up, smiled and chuckled.

“Number Six,” and he chuckled again, only a little louder this time. “Of course you know me. I am Number Two.”

“I know you as someone other than Number Two,” Number Six was fishing.

“Indeed? Well, let me know when you can put a name with the face. Then we’ll talk. Perhaps its just that I remind you of another,” and he laughed heartily, as though at some private joke. “Until then I’ll call for you if I feel the need.” He turned his face away at this, seemingly engrossed by the seascape just visible through the tumble of Village buildings from this point.

~

Number Six stood in his doorway, Number Nine was standing just outside. The man had actually knocked.

“I have been watching you,” the man peered at Six through eyes that were slits, as though he was trying to see past the exterior, trying to see what was inside Number Six.

“Yes, I’ve seen you. And do you find me very entertaining?” Number Six raised a quizzical eyebrow.

“Oh, fascinating. I learn much by your example. I thought you to be Number One. But no, you are a prisoner just as I am,” he titled his head to one side, just the hint of a smile on his face. “I never dreamed such a thing would happen. I had heard rumors of a place like this. And then to find you here. It is almost too much.”

“Yes, I quite agree. But then the world is filled with odd occurrences, isn’t it, ah, what was your name again?”

Smiling, the man replied, “Oh, you know who I am, Number Six. I am,” and he pointed to the badge on his lapel, “Number Nine.”

“Would you care for some genuine non-alcoholic Brandy? Twenty three units a bottle.” And Number Six held out his hand towards the interior of his flat in invitation.

“No,” the man smiled and shook his head slowly. “I will let you know when it is time to talk. Be seeing you,” and, turning, he walked away.

“And you.”

~

~

“The Recruits” … Part of the job consisted of knowing your equipment. The world of espionage has its share of gadgets. They were useful, but Drake preferred to use his mind as much as possible. His partner, on the other hand, seemed comfortable with relying on the “tools” of the trade a little more than Drake was comfortable with. John had told him once, “These things are handy, but they can fail. We have to learn to think on our feet.” His partner replied, “When one thing fails there’ll always be another. There is no end to invention.” Ah, well, to each his own.

~

He was standing in the breeze, watching people as they frolicked on the stone boat. Some actually got seasick on their imaginary journeys. Imaginary journeys. He’d indulged in a few of those himself. Number Two strolled by, turned to him, walked over to him.

“Beautiful day,” quipped Number Six.

“There are no microphones nearby,” Number Two was looking out over the sea, speaking lowly, “Only cameras. Mr. Drake, I couldn’t care less why you resigned. You are more of a problem here than you will ever be an asset. They tell me that they don’t want you damaged, you’re to valuable. I question that. But for now it is the only reason I don’t have you killed. There are about to be any number of changes here, elsewhere, and I am one of them. I want you gone, Mr. Drake. When things come to a head here, as they shall soon, I want you gone. Do you understand?”

He looked at Number Two, a bit shocked but doing a good job of hiding it. This was the first time anyone in The Village had called him by name. Wanting him gone? He’d be glad to go, but he’d not take part in another ruse.

“I am no longer a number then?”

“Oh, yes, you will remain a number for as long as you are here. But I call you by name now for a reason. I want to impress upon you one simple thing,” and he turned slowly, facing Number Six. “I want to impress upon you this … I want you gone. And gone,” he was almost whispering now, “is what you shall be.”

~

He was working out at his private gym. The day was bright, and hot for this time of year. He could see, far down the path, Number Nine approaching. He continued his work out until the man was standing there in the small clearing with him.

“Now we talk,” Number Nine spoke slowly, deliberately.

“About the weather?”

Number Nine shook his head. “No, Mr. Drake. We talk about leaving. You and I. Together we can. We are perhaps the only two people who, together, could.”

“Who are you?!”

“You know who I am,” and he pointed to his lapel. “I am Number Nine. You are Number Six.”

“I am not a number! I am a free man!”

“Yes, and together we shall both be free. Together we will escape this,” and with a sour look, twisting his mouth as though about to spit, he said, “place.”

“Go tell your masters that you tried and failed. I’m not buying.” Number Six turned his back to Number Nine. And he remembered. He knew who Number Nine was now. And Number Two. But which one was the right one? Only one of them could be the man that he now knew that one of them was. The identity was certain, the one it belonged to was the question. He heard Number Nine walking away.

“We will talk again, John Drake. I give you time to think. But do not take too much time. Opportunities are lost over time.”

~

“The Recruits” … Drake worried about his partner. At one point he had actually caught him copying answers from his paperwork. He hadn’t said anything. He was no rat. A fool perhaps, but not a rat. If it hadn’t been for the man’s charm and whit he would have no doubt washed out. But he hung in there, and so did our Mr. Drake. However, lets give the other guy credit where credit is due. He could tell you the vintage of the grapes used in the production of the sherry that he drank. His palate had obviously been well-trained.

~

~

He sat thinking, a tumbler of genuine non-alcoholic bourbon and water, on the rocks, in his hand. The Muzak played, the sounds of The Village drifted in through the open window. And he thought. This felt different. Something wasn’t right about it, and he knew it. But what? What was the twist or turn here? The underlying current? The plot? Because there was one. There always was one. The Muzak stopped and the syrupy sweet female voice made the following announcement.

“Fellow citizens, one and all, your Village Council, and remember it is YOUR Village Council, democratically elected by YOU, is pleased to announce that in one week, exactly one week from today, there will be a glorious Festival of Unity. There will be music and refreshments, a truly carnival atmosphere, an unveiling of NEW Village statuary, and the main attraction, a moving speech by our beloved Number Two. So come one and come all! Its festival! More details to come!”

~

Number Two sat down across from him at the chessboard.

“Care to play?” Number Six asked pleasantly.

“Hardly. I want to give you a word of advice.” Number Two looked from side to side, and, leaning over the table, snarled, “Listen to Number Nine. The festival is your opportunity.” Standing, he looked down at Number Six and whispered, “Remember where it is I want you?”

“Gone?” Number Six smiled nonchalantly.

“Specifically.”

~

For the next several days Number Six saw very little of Number Two or Number Nine. When he did see Number Two the man would scowl and walk away. Number Nine would smile and nod faintly and go about his way. This was fine with Number Six. Perhaps they had given up on their game. But then the warders never gave up that easily.

~

~

Number Six was making his way to the General Store as he passed Number Nines door. It opened as he neared it, an older woman, in her sixties and carrying several small potted plants in her arms, backing out, a broom tucked under her arm, trying to keep it all balanced and in hand. As she turned she smiled pleasantly at him and said, “Good morning, Number Six. Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Bending over she sat the plants down, and rising up he saw her badge. Number Nine.

“How very odd,” he said, an amused look on his face. He was used to this sort of thing. “Why just yesterday Number Nine was a middle-aged male from Lithuania.”

“Well, if you say so,” she twittered. “Things do seem to change, don’t they?”

“Be seeing you, Number Nine.”

“And you,” she replied, as she turned to her gardening and the sweeping of her front walk.

The public address system blared, “Attention, citizens. Just a reminder, only one more day till Festival! Be ready for all the fun and excitement on this joyous occasion! This is YOUR day! Enjoy it to the full, and remember … Life is for living!”

~

“The Recruits” … It had been something of a scene. Drake’s partner had been caught sneaking a girl into the compound. The chief instructor, a middle-aged man with eyebrows like feather dusters, had gone livid. “Being a commander in her Majesties Royal Navy I understand that you may think you have an image to protect, all sailors being infamous womanizers, but you WILL hold it in until training has been completed! IS THAT CLEAR?!” If Drake hadn’t spoken to the Colonel later, well, who knows what might have happened to his partner?

~

The Butler was just leaving the General Store as Number Six approached. Entering he saw a tall man, easily in his late fifties, standing near the counter, a copy of the Tally Ho held in front of him.

“Good day to you sir,” the storekeeper chimed pleasantly. “And what might I do for you?”

“I’d like some halibut for the evening meal please.” Number Six walked past the tall man. “Excuse me.”

The man slowly folded the paper, his badge clearly visible now. The new Number Two.

“A new Number Two again?” Number Six cocked his head to one side. “And where do they store all of you for the keeping?”

“You needn’t concern yourself, Number Six, with details. You’ll deal with me now. As far as you’re concerned I’m the only Number Two there’s ever been.” And turning, he walked out.

~

~
“Rise and shine, rise and shine! It’s another beautiful day in The Village! Remember that today if the Festival of Unity! Make your plans to attend now. The wonderful celebration begins at ten o’clock sharp so don’t be late. And now, to help you ready yourself for fun and frolic … Music.”
Number Six rolled over in bed, pulling the sheet over his head. They could keep their Festival of Unity.
~
He sat down with his coffee, the Muzak conveniently tucked away in the fridge, when he saw it. On the floor, just a few inches from the door. It had obviously been pushed under the door and five minutes ago it hadn’t been there. He picked it up, a white envelope, and on the front, in bold block letters, he read: “To John Drake”. Inside was a short note …
“Behind the hospital at 11 a.m. during Festival. It is our chance.”
~
He leaned cautiously around the corner. There were five cargo helicopters, fully two dozen Village workers, a multitude of crates in various stages of being packed and loaded. And pandemonium. The workers feverishly went about packing, loading, and fetching more from the building. Much of it looked to be computer equipment.
“Be careful! You break that and I’ll break you!” One worker, obviously in a supervisory position, yelled at another.
“What’s all this about anyway? Why the rush?”
“And do you REALLY want to know?!”
Number Six watched. In all the rush and confusion it would be a simple matter to hide in one of the larger crates, pulling one of the many tarps in and over to cover himself. The rest would be left to chance, true, but at least it was a chance. If they found him out he’d be no worse off.
~
“The Recruits” … Graduation day. Such as it was. A tallying of the grades, a going over of the records. Drake placed at Number One in the class. His partner? He earned the twelfth position. Well, that WAS better than washing out. They had talked, he and Drake. The training had been for service with NATO but the other man said he was going to pull a few strings and opt for MI5. Drake would continue with NATO. They made plans for one farewell drink before they parted ways. And the day after having left the compound, the day before Drake was to return to the bank from hospital and his partner return to Naval service, they agreed to meet at a certain pub at a certain time.
~
Five hours. Five hours he was bumped and jostled. He could hear the copter, he could feel the unloading, he heard the workers as the crate was transferred to what must be a truck.
“Be careful with that, mate! It’s supposed to be delicate.” If they only knew.
He felt the truck stop, more voices, more jostling. With a thud he felt the crate set down.
“Start the unpacking, men. They need these things upstairs today.”
He heard a crowbar biting into wood, the crate shook slightly, nails made a screeching sound as they were pulled out. He shielded his eyes from the light. The worker stood there, eyes wide, mouth open.
“Frank? You might like to have a look at this.”
~
 
~
He rode in the back, the two bobbies up front. Once at the police station he could explain, could get word to the Colonel. For now he contentedly took in the sights and sounds of London. Even the exhaust fumes were a welcome alternative to The Village.
~
~
In Moscow Georgio Rannesin was escorted into a large, sparsely furnished office. There, behind a desk, sat a large man, moustache bristling. He smiled at Rannesin pleasantly. And Georgio’s heart sank into his shoes as he heard the words …
“Товарищ Добро пожаловать в деревню. Теперь … Скажите, почему вы уйти в отставку?”
~
~
“The Recruits” … They waited patiently for the bartender. The place was packed. But they took the opportunity to talk. It would be a friendly parting. Drake couldn’t help but like the other man and he sincerely wished him well.
“And do you think you’ll be able to get on at MI5?” Drake asked.
“Oh, yes. It’s just a matter of making the right call,” he smiled.
Drake reached into his pocket and took out a pen and small pad.
“I know one person, a secretary, who works at MI5. Call her,” and he wrote out a name and number. “Mention my name.”
“And where do you know her from?”
“The London bombings, during the war.”
The bartender moved to their end of the bar.
“Sorry it took so long, gentlemen. Now, what can I get for you?”
“Whiskey,” answered Drake.
“And you sir?” The bartender looked at Drakes friend.
“Martini, please. Very dry and please don’t stir the ice, it bruises. I prefer it shaken, not stirred.” Ah, the well-trained palate.
“Certainly sir, coming right up.”
The two waited patiently, silently now. The drinks arrived. Taking their glasses they raised them.
“To your very good health, John,” Drakes friend smiled.
“And to yours, James.”
After finishing their drinks they got up to leave. As they shook hands Drake put his hand on James’ shoulder, smiled, and said, “Now, when you talk with Miss Moneypenny be certain to tell her I gave you her number.”
“Thank you, John. I will.”
~
~
Off the elevator, down the hall. Drake walked between two officers. One stopped at an unmarked door and, reaching for the knob, smiled at Drake and said, “Here you are, mate. You’ll get to explain yourself now.”
The room was ordinary enough. Through the window he could see the familiar London skyline. The high-backed chair behind the desk was turned away from him, its occupant obviously intent upon what looked to be a computer monitor. The chair began to revolve as a hand reached towards a button. There was a slight swishing sound behind him as a chair began to rise from the floor. “Have a seat, dear boy,” a familiar voice said pleasantly. The chair completed its turn, and a smiling Number Two said, “Welcome to The Village.”
~
Epilog: Well, well. The whole world a Village? Remember what we’ve learned here. Things aren’t always what they seem. And in The Village they are very rarely so. I’m not sure I have the heart to leave Number Six in a situation like this. Who knows? He doesn’t seem to be able to escape The Village. He’s always brought back. Maybe I won’t be able to escape these tales either. Time will tell. And from time to time I may just have to come back. I mean, somebodies gotta feed Rover when Number Six isn’t around. Oh, please excuse me. Number 14 just pulled into the drive and you know how she gets when kept waiting. Be seeing you.
 

A Personal Note

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Just a note. I have a lot of health problems, terminal cancer being the most serious, and recently I’ve started several alternative therapies that have all helped, some more and some less. They are, however, time-consuming. So I may not write fan fiction as much as a result. I’m not saying I won’t write any, but the posts may be few and far between. I just have to prioritize and there are only so many hours in the day. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and hopefully its been enjoyable for some other folks as well. And the site will be here for whoever finds it, the stories, for what they’re worth, being new to them. 🙂

And just a thought for all the people out there who think that The Prisoner is just cool fiction at best, and that George Orwell’s “1984” can’t happen, I offer you this …

In times of profound social change like the present, extreme views hold out the appeal of simplicity. By ignoring the complexity of the forces that shape our personal and collective circumstances, they offer us scapegoats. Yet they fail to provide a viable pathway from the cold war to the global village.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.286 Sep 25, 1996 Be seeing you.

Village Residents: “The Help”

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English: Broken glass

Like shattered glass in a picture frame, some few break free. If not in physical reality, perhaps their freedom comes in their memories of yesterdays … and tomorrows.

There is a psychology to The Prisoner that has always astounded me. I’ve wondered at the depth. I’ve told friends not familiar with the series that the whole thing seems to me to be some great Freudian slip. And I’ve wondered about the history of some of the characters. Of course the whole thing, as deep as it may be, is a work of fiction. So I suppose their stories are what I make them.

Everyone in the Village is there for a reason. The prisoners need keeping, the warders need to do the keeping. But he was there for reasons of his own.

~

The room was odd to say the least. The furniture was placed at varying angles compared to the walls, giving the entire place an askew look. There were a few small bird cages, very ornate, placed here and there. Making bird cages had been his hobby before coming to The Village. There was no need for bird cages here. Animals weren’t allowed. Except for the cat of course. One of the two chairs faced into a corner. The other chair, an overstuffed monstrosity the color of murky water, had all four legs sawn off so that only stubs remained for the rubber coasters. The pictures on the wall, and there were at least a dozen, were all one of two types. Some were of a lady, nicely dressed for the 1920s or 1930s, with very lovely hair and eyes that, even though she was smiling in the photos, seemed overflowing with pain. The rest of the frames, hanging here and there with no rhythm or rhyme, were empty. The glass in one of these was cracked and looked as if someone had struck it, the cracks spider-webbing out from its center.

~

“Ah, Number Six, what an unexpected pleasure!” And Number Two,  yet another new Number Two, beamed over his desk as Six walked briskly down the ramp. The Butler, silent as always, followed close behind with a cart carrying sandwiches and other working lunch items. “Please, please, have a seat and join me for lunch.”

“I’ve already had my fill, thank you.”

The Butler quietly, efficiently arranged lunch and stepped to the side, ready to be of service when needed.

“Number Six, I was wondering … ” And it began again. Always questions, always attempts at subterfuge and trickery. And always with the same results. Or lack of results.

~

The room was of course monitored just as every other corner of the Village was monitored. But they rarely if ever turned it on. What, after all, was there to check on? He wasn’t supposed to know that the monitor was “canceled” but he did. He had his privacy. It didn’t matter to him one way or another. Even when he was seen he was never watched. The monitor being on or off made no difference. He had always been seen yet never watched. It was as much a part of his life as she had been. As she still was.

~

“Beautiful day, Number Six.” Number Ninety One smiled as she walked by. Number Six waved and smiled in return. He was on his way to his private gym. A good work out after having dealt with Number Two always made him feel better. There was something about the physical exertion that seemed cleansing. The Butler walked by, umbrella overhead.

~

The empty frames were by now almost invisible to him. He remembered the face that had occupied the space years ago. The smile that seemed more a sneer. He had stopped noticing them years before. At one point in his life he had focused on them but not now. Now? All of his attention, while in the room, was on her. He remembered fondly of the times he had brought her breakfast in bed. She had always seemed pleased with his attempts. Even as her illness had progressed, even as her eyes grew in sadness, even when the face from the empty frames had left for good, she was always pleased when he brought her breakfast.

~

“Yes, that will do nicely.” Number Six took the wrapped cod from the grocer as he handed him his Village credit card. Perhaps this fillet hadn’t been tampered with. There was never any way of knowing. You never knew you’d been drugged until after the fact. As he left the shop, as he opened the door, the Butler entered. No doubt there to purchase Number Two’s evening meal. Pity Number Six couldn’t think of a way to drug that.

~

For a long while he had wondered where the other face had gone. He had always known why. Her eyes told him although she never spoke of the other women. She had loved the other face. And she had loved him. He never understood why she had loved the one who left. But he was content in remembering her love for him. Even in the Village the memory of her made things brighter, free. He was not a prisoner. He was no warder either.

~

The music played softly. Mozart. Number Six enjoyed the fish. He enjoyed properly cooked cod, he enjoyed cooking, he enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t drugged. Maybe he could get a good nights sleep after all. In the morning his work would begin again. He would be free, he would escape. At some point the enemy would make a slip and he would seize the opportunity. But it required constant vigilance on his part. He walked to the window and looked out. A few people were still stirring. Well, at this time of year it was still light out side and it was a good hour before curfew. An elderly couple, Numbers Fifty Two and Fifty Three, moved slightly to one side in order to let the Butler by. He was heading towards the Green Dome.

~

The day was done. It had been like a thousand others. He slipped quietly between the sheets on the well made bed. He required no maid service. He was very capable. He had learned while caring for her. He took one last look at the chair facing the corner before turning out the light. He thought about how, towards the end, she had been so motionless, so weak, so dead before death. She had asked him to turn her chair towards the corner. She said she didn’t want to look out the window any more. She was tired of life and wanted to see no more of it. She had smiled after she said it and had squeezed his hand. The last thing she ever said, the day before she passed away, was “I love you. You’ll always be in Mamma’s heart.” He got out of bed. He took one of her pictures down and held it close. He hadn’t known what to say to her that day. He had said very little since. There was nothing left to say. He sat in the chair facing the corner, drawing his legs up into the chair, very nearly in a fetal position. He was in her lap again. In the morning he would remember her. He would remember the breakfasts in bed. Number Two had asked that he bring him breakfast in bed.

Village Residents: “Surveilance”

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Drawing of a CCTV Camera (MS Paint)

A watchful eye is one thing. Taking joy in your work is another.

Different personality types are best suited for one job or another. We like to believe, and regrettably it may be wishful thinking, that everybody is good at something. We’ve all seen people promoted in their field until finally they reach a position that they will never be promoted from because they’ve reached the end of their capabilities and now do a mediocre job at best. And so we appreciate those few individuals who, having reached their own “top”, excel at the job they do and stay put. Its reassuring to know they’re in control of the situation, that the job is held in capable hands. Unless …

~

It had been years now. He had acclimatized to life in the Village rather quickly and, having seen what he considered advantages, made a useful niche for himself. He wasn’t irreplaceable, he knew that. But he was good at what he did, no, he was excellent at it and they knew it. From the top down they all knew it.

~

Number Six was playing chess with a fellow Villager, one that he was sure was a warder. The conversation seemed civil, benign. But body language, voice inflection, facial expression, these gave away information even when the tongue was restrained. And Six was most observant. So were the Village security cameras and microphones.

~

At first he had wondered. It was clear enough why they had brought him to the Village. As a high-ranking executive with a major corporation holding government contracts with three of the worlds super powers he had access to information that was sensitive to say the least. His first few days in the Village had been filled with anger and a desire to strike back. In certain ways he had been much like Number Six. In some ways. Unlike Number Six he had given up on the idea of escape almost immediately. He was an executive, not a government agent. He knew well his area of expertise and his limitations. One encounter with Rover was all of the convincing he had required.

~

Some of the information he gathered had been somewhat disturbing. But, armed with such knowledge, he was better equipped to deal with certain elements in the Village. The more Number Six knew about them and the less they could get from him all worked to his advantage. He was, overall, pleased. It had been a very enlightening chess match. And every move had been recorded.

~

It was when he realized that by giving them the information they so longed for that he could ruin one of his rivals in the corporate world that he pitched in with full vigor. It was all the encouragement he needed. In an instant the anger had been redirected and his term as prisoner ended. He would be a warder supreme. And he was.

~

Number Six was dressing for bed, humming to himself. He would hum, he would be himself even here, in spite of them. Some of these things, like the humming, he did to let them know he was still an individual, still himself and no number. Every day, every moment, every activity was a chance for him to show them they weren’t winning and never would. He made use of every opportunity. And they saw, they saw it all.

~

This job had been nothing less than a stroke of luck. He had been in the right place at the right time. His “promotion” had been within three weeks of his arrival. He found out later, while doing his job, that putting him in that position had at first been a ruse. Place him in a job they were certain he’d fail at and, given his personality type, use the resultant stress to break him further and gain yet more information. But he had done a perfect job and willingly, freely gave them all they asked for. They had underestimated his sadistic bent. He had very much enjoyed the ruining of his rival. Now? He could make the ruin of others a daily occurrence. It mattered to him not one iota that they were strangers to him and innocent. His job was now his passion. He had found his true purpose in life. And he could re-run the tapes any time he pleased.

~

“Supervisor,” Number Two called out.

“Yes.”

“Put recent videos of Number Six playing chess with Number Thirty Seven on screen three please.”

“Certainly,” the Supervisor replied. “And I can re-run the tapes any time I please.”

“Yes,” Number Two replied dryly. “So I’m told.”

Developement

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Often people that criticize your life are usua...

Development. In Danger Man the character of John Drake is, over time, filled out nicely. In The Prisoner Numbers Six and Two, especially Leo McKern‘s Number Two, are dealt with and fleshed out rather well. We get to know them, we see their characters, their emotions, and have an idea about what drives them. But there’s more here than Drake and Two. We see others that, while highly visible, are kept in a kind of void. We see them its true but we never get to know them. John Drake, Number Six, Number Two, you, me, we all have history. So I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to get to know these people, share their lives. I’m not sure just how many of the Village residents I’ll deal with. Over time I’m sure of three in particular. Who are they? Well, wait, give it some time and we’ll get to know these people together. It might be an enjoyable get together. And then again, we might end up knowing more than we want to.

The Prisoner … “Deep Six” … Part Three

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Number Two's residence as it stands today, kno...

“Number Six, report to the Green Dome. Number Six, report to the Green Dome immediatly.”

“Yes, I understand. … Oh, no, I agree totally sir. Yes indeed, it was a mistake. … Everything will be put to right soon, you have my word. … No, regrettably Number Six said nothing. But he is tight-lipped. … Yes, yes I will. … Thank you, sir, thank you very much.” He put down the red phone and exited through the concealed door to the rear of the room, giving the monitor one last glance as he did. Number Two would be back soon and he didn’t need to be here.

The Supervisor smiled to himself. He was glad they had never “offered” the Number Two position to him. He was good at what he did and that was one reason they kept him where he was. Another reason was that he never spoke of what he saw. The man who had just used the red phone? That came as a surprise even to him. The twists and turns never ceased to amaze him. But he never reacted, never spoke to anyone of them. Sometimes he felt as though he knew more about what was going on than Number Two did.

The Butler never moved a facial muscle. The question uppermost in his mind at the moment was: “I wonder how he takes his tea?”

~~~

Number Six tried to look innocent. Surely they hadn’t noticed that he’d spotted the hatch. If they had they wouldn’t have allowed him to return to the spot. Unless of course it was some meaningless hole leading nowhere, which was what he half expected. But it could be a way out and he’d never know unless he checked. Rover floated only a few feet from the boat as he prepared for his last dive. Falling over the side backwards, the water splashing around him, he began his descent.

He swam along the wall of whatever it was. On the other side he could see various forms of marine life. There was a shark moving slowly towards him. At one point it obviously touched the wall and jerked away as though shocked. He made his way towards the hatch. He knew they were watching but he had to try, he had to know. And the Village warders only need slip up once. Perhaps this was that time. At about twenty feet distance from the hatch he made a dash for it. He grasped the wheel of a handle and began turning it. He could see Rover sinking towards him. He pulled. The hatch opened with Rover about fifteen feet away. There was nothing but blackness inside the hatch. Suddenly there was a rushing of water, a pull. He was literally sucked into the hole. The force was so great that it hurled him against the interior head first. That was the last thing he remembered. Until later.

~~~

Three men were standing over him. One yelled at him: “Are you a fool?! The interior mechanism wasn’t turned on! You could’ve flooded the entire level if we hadn’t turned on the emergency valve system!”

One of the other men punched the man speaking on the shoulder. He said, “I don’t think he’s one of the crew. He’s a topper.”

“Well how’d he get here then?”

“Don’t know, but have either of you ever seen him before? Any word that a new crew member was coming on?’

“No”, both of the others muttered.

“Up with you!” The second man grabbed Number Six by the arm, pulling him up roughly. “Come along then. We’ll soon see what you’re about.”

As they escorted a rather groggy Number Six down a rock lined corridor he thought he saw steam rising through what looked to be a vent of some sort. And he thought he could hear music from someplace, he wasn’t sure where. He was stumbling, blood dripping down the side of his head. He wasn’t sure how badly he was hurt.

At last they entered a control room of sorts. He was starting to come around now, a little more at himself. He felt his head.

“You set here then!” And the first man pushed him into a chair. “You,” he spoke to the third man roughly, “Go call topside. Get word to Number Two that we have a possible topper here. He’ll know what to do. Hurry about it!”

~~~

He was fully himself now, but not acting like it. He slumped over a panel of switches, holding his head. And reading labels. Valves, motors, lighting, vent system, flow control. Interesting labels. He seemed to have been there forever.

“Ah, Number Six,” said the familiar voice, “whatever shall we do with you? I give you an inch and you take the proverbial mile. I’ll expect the return of the scuba gear of course.”

“Of course,” Number Six sat up straighter, looking at Number Two.

“And have you satisfied your curiosity?”

“Not quite,” Number Six smiled as he suddenly flipped three of the most promisingly labeled switches.

A number of alarms went off. “Good choice,” he thought to himself.

Number Two went deathly pale. “You fool! You’ll kill us all!”

Number Six could hear shouts. He thought he heard rushing water. Number Two pulled him towards what looked like a glass tube. In a moment they were traveling upward, as though in an elevator. An elevator made for speed.

~~~

“Yes … Yes … I understand … Yes … Yes, at once.” A pallid Number Two set the red phone down.

The Supervisor watched with a sort of perverse satisfaction from the control room.

The Butler walked towards the door, pushing the tea cart before him. Tea time was obviously over.

~~~

The two bottom levels had been flooded. The computer systems were a total loss. It would take days to pump out the sea water, and weeks to install new equipment. Number Six new he’d created a disturbance. He had no idea how much of one. Of the five lower levels of The Village “system”, as the keepers called it, these two were a large part of the nerve center. This was a major victory for Six. Sadly, he would never know how great a victory it had been.

~~~

“Number Six report to the Green Dome. Number Six, please report to the Green Dome immediately.” The public address system seemed a bit out of sync today.

Number Six, paying for his tea, left the cafe and walked leisurely towards Number Two’s office. Knowing that he had done some damage somehow made this visit worthwhile.

~~~

The doors slid open, the Butler waving Number Six in. The globular chair didn’t move. He was at the desk before it slowly began to revolve. The new Number Two smiled slyly. The new Number Two, the old Number Forty One, spoke slowly, deliberately.

“Ah, my dear Number Six. What a wonderfully devious Villager you are. You’ll never know the pains I’ve gone through on your account.”

“Don’t feel obligated.”

“Yes, well I do have a responsibility towards the citizens,” he sighed. “Be glad you’re not being billed for your little escapade. But, after having helped, without knowing it of course, remove a weak cog from our machinery writing off the bill was the least I could do. And I just wanted to let you know that I’m here for you should you ever feel the need to talk.”

~~~

“Yes, things will change, have changed, for the better,” Number Two smiled as he spoke into the red phone. “He wouldn’t confide in me as a fellow Villager, but I guarantee,” his teeth gritted, “he WILL confide in me now. … Oh, no sir, I wouldn’t think of damaging the tissue.”

~ finis ~