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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Prismatic Reflection


   “One egg or two?” It would appear that by this time Number 6 has had one of his privileges rescinded. The fact that he has to make his own breakfast means no more breakfasts brought to him in the mornings on a tray by his personal maid. But wait a minute! Oh look here’s Number 8 to boil his two eggs for him! But I’m jumping the gun slightly!
   The Prisoner isn’t bending, not even a little and that’s why he’ll break. Mind you there are methods they haven’t even used yet, but Number 2 doesn’t want a man of fragments. He wants Number 6 with a whole heart, body and soul. If Number 6 will answer just one simple question, then all the rest will follow, “Why did he resign?” Yes, that’s what one of his predecessors thought, when he got the Prisoner to bring his file up to date by giving the time of his birth. And that’s all he got, the time of the Prisoner’s birth, but then they knew that anyway!
    So an outsider is brought in, Nadia Rakovski she called herself, but I’ll call her Number 8, and what she was, was a plant in the Village. It was played that Number 8 would become a damsel in distress, and so being, Number 6 would become her protector. But Number 6 took some convincing. At the beginning he was suspicious of her, thinking that she was working for Number 2, which of course she was. But I’ll say this, Number 8 was good, a dedicated agent, who came to the Village with her eyes wide open. I’m sure she would have been well briefed on the Village, and yet nothing could have prepared her for her encounter with the Village Guardian. That was a risk for both Number 8 and Number 2, she could have been half drowned and suffocated to death.
   So Number 6 took Number 8 under his wing, he offered his protection for whatever that was worth. And he had a plan, a plan for escape by boat. You see if Number 6 knew where he was sailing from, he could calculate where he was sailing to, and that swung the game in Number 8’s favour, as she claimed to have seen a file on the Village, but for a few seconds only, but enough to know the location of the Village……..in Lithuania, on the Baltic, thirty miles from the Polish border. And for that piece of information, Number 6 had to enact a romantic scene with Number 8.
    Number 8 claimed to be an Estonian, she spoke with an eastern European accent, which she retained at the end of the episode. Her files claimed that she was a swimmer, an Olympic bronze medallist at the age of 17, I’ll leave it to yourself to figure out at which Olympic games that was.
   So, Number 6 and Number 8 shared a plan of escape. For his part he would construct a boat, for her she knew the location of the Village. She also has a contact man, and knows of a fishing village, whose people resist those of the Village. Do they? I wouldn’t have thought that the people behind the Village have much contact with outsiders!
    Number 2 wants Number 6 to settle down, and Number 6 promises to do some woodwork for him. It turns out as a three piece abstract sculpture which he enters into the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts. Members of the awards Committee have a problem, they don’t know what it is! I’ll let Number 6 explain. “It means what it is! This piece what does it represent to you? “A church door?” “Right first time.” “Think I see what he’s getting at.” “Now this other piece here, on the same general lines, somewhat more abstract as you’ll notice. Representing freedom or a barrier, depending how you look at it. The barrier’s down, the door is open, you’re free, free to go, free to escape, to escape to this, the symbol to human aspirations. Freedom, knowledge, escape.” But why the crosspiece? Well obviously he needs that to hang a sail from!
    And so now we know why the crosspiece! That night after curfew, Numbers 6 and 8 take the pieces of the abstract sculpture, and with the aid of a tarpaulin, and Number 38’s tapestry for a sail, they put to sea, on a course for the Polish coast.
   Having gone so far, there seemed nothing that could stop them now. In the Control Room the Supervisor has them on sonar, “They’re almost out of range.” Number 2 orders the Supervisor to contact Post five just in case, then to issue an Orange Alert, and the Village Guardian is despatched. Nadia can see the cave, but then she can soon see something else! “Look!” Number 8 shouts, behind them the white mass of the Village Guardian can be seen, just as they are within an ace of achieving this goal, and so are forced to abandon their craft, to swim for it!
    From the cliffs a man aims his rifle, he fires at the Village Guardian, once, twice, four times hitting the membranic Village Guardian, which appears to be impervious to bullets. The Guardian’s membrane would appear to be self-sealing!
    The Prisoner asks for a pencil and paper, he has a “delivery note” to send, it is in code, and must be transmitted to London immediately. Karel has the escape route mapped out, by sea Gdansk/Danzig, by air to Copenhagen, by air again to London. So the Prisoner can time the journey, he asks for Karel’s watch as his own is water logged, sea water, is no good. So Karel hands over his wrist watch, little knowing that this error will be the Colonel’s undoing!   “Quickly now please” it’s time to get into the crate, and start the next part of the journey to London, which will take some twelve hours.
   Of course what we see on the television screen isn’t what takes place. The crate containing the Prisoner and Number 8 is on it’s way back to the Village, and the twelve hour journey merely a simulation. Oh it works perfectly well when watched for the first time, but after that, well no-one is fooled.
    Good old Fotheringay, he’s looking forward to seeing his old friend and ex-colleague. He receives a telephone call “Fotheringay here, yes…I’ve seen a copy of the deciphered message….What time would you say?…..Good…….Yes I can’t wait to see him.”
    During the journey Nadia passes the time by interrogating the Prisoner, despite feeling a little sick. Where are we going to land in England? Doe he have a wife at home? This he denies. Is he engaged to someone? No response. I wonder why he didn’t tell her about Janet Portland?
    The crate together with it’s occupants arrives in the Colonel’s outer office. It is opened, and the Prisoner is confronted with the welcoming sight of his old friend and ex-colleague Fotheringay. They greet each other warmly, and Nadia is introduced. And then Nadia hears what she has been waiting to hear for a long time, the chimes of Big Ben. For Number 6 it means he’s home, for Nadia the assignment is over, as she is led away by two men.
   The Colonel is sceptical about Nadia, he asks the Prisoner what her name was before she left Peckham Rye and went off to train with the Bolshoi Ballet?
    There is a de-briefing session between the Colonel and Number 6. Number 6 tells the story of his abduction to the Village…….”The Village?” says the Colonel, “Where is this Village?”
    There isn’t much difference between the Colonel and Number 2. Number 6 risked his life and Nadia’s to go home, to go back there because he thought it was different, “It is isn’t it, Isn’t it different?” No Number 6 it isn’t different, except it’s the Colonel asking the question instead of Number 2! And it might have worked as well, had it not been for one small detail…..as Big Ben strikes eight…….Number 6 realises that his watch, given to him by a man in Poland says eight o’clock. Why should a man in Poland have a watch showing English time, when there’s one hour’s difference? The Colonel supposed he was slow. Yes, if it hadn’t been for Number 6’s waterlogged watch, and his wanting to time the journey to see that it tallied.
   So Number 6 had been back in the Village all the time! However he did learn some valuable things. Firstly that his own people are behind the Village, and it was they who had him abducted in the first place. Secondly that he is completely and utterly on his own now, and that there is no-one he can trust. He was betrayed by Nadia, and his own people. Number 6 has also learned that the Village is not in Lithuania on the Baltic, the time of the watch given to him by Post Five is proof of that. Wherever the Village is, it is in the same time zone as Great Britain!
   But in any case the game is up! No.6 leaves what was supposed to be the Colonel’s office, and out into the Village. On the steps of the Recreation Hall Fotheringay asks No.2 what his next assignment is, the Colonel will tell him when he returns to London. As for Fotheringay, he had better get back to London before any embarrassing questions are asked.
   As he passes by, he see No.2 with Fotheringay and Nadia, “Be seeing you” he salutes and makes his way back to his cottage. Now he realises who it is who abducted him, which side is behind the Village………his own!
    Poor old No.6, as he makes his way back through the Village to his cottage there is a public announcement about the Local Council having organised another exciting competition the subject this time Seascapes! There seems an expression in the female announcers voice that seems to be rubbing salt into No.6’s wounds when she says “Seascapes.”
   In the Control Room No.2 makes a brief report “File Number Six, section Forty-two, sub-section one, paragraph one, back to the beginning.” Nadia admits that No.2 was right about him. He did tell her. But don’t worry, he did his best, and perhaps he’ll do better next time in the Embryo Room of ‘Decree Absolute!’

Be seeing you

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