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Saturday 18 August 2012

Drake's Resignation

    So who exactly is the Prisoner-number 6? In ‘Arrival’ Number 2 has a very extensive file on the prisoner, however for some reason the prisoner time of birth is missing, 4:31am, 19th March 1928, and if there is a name within the file it is never revealed.
     What do we know about the Prisoner? Well his time of birth, his height 6feet 2½ inches tall.
He has code names in France Duval, in Germany Schmit and in ‘Many Happy Returns’ he calls himself Peter Smith, another pseudonym and even to his ex-colleagues in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ he is known by a code name ZM73.
    I have no doubt what so ever in saying that the Prisoner-Number 6 is the former ‘Danger Man’ John Drake. The man is of the same height, the same eyes light blue with light brown hair. The two men share the same mannerisms, their characters are the same, the voice is the same and at times John Drake can be seen wearing the exact same clothes, charcoal grey two piece suit, black polo shirt and elasticised sided black boots as the Prisoner does in ‘Arrival’ and ‘Fall Out’. Okay, John Drake and the Prisoner are played by the same actor, who puts much of himself into both characters, and so in that respect they are the one and the same. Although I fancy many of you reading this would not agree, and you are quite free to do so, just as I am free to write it.
    The Prisoner’s immediate superior is the Colonel as is to John Drake from time to time, Drake has also been under the wing of the General from time to time, the General being mentioned by Number 2 in ‘The Schizoid Man’ though to two may not be the same general.
The prisoner is use to working of ciphers and codes as he did in ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ the delivery note being written in code, then there were the two coded messages and semaphore used by the prisoner in ‘Hammer into Anvil.’ He was also familiar with certain agents within his field, ‘A’ and ‘B’ for example in ‘A B & C.’
    The prisoner being John Drake makes the perfect sense, he even had Fotheringay as a superior, although he then went under the name of ‘Hardy’ which of course would have been a code name, in British Intelligence one has to learn that nothing and no one is as they seem to be. As John Drake we can begin to understand more as to why the prisoner resigned.
    Every government has its secret service branch. America, its C I A.; France, Deuxiemebureau; England MI5; NATO also has its own. A messy Job? Well that’s when they usually call on me, or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is drake, John Drake.”
    All jobs are messy, but some are more messy than others, or there is the occasional assignment which John Drake feels uncomfortable with and in others where he is given no choice in the matter, but to carry out the demands of others laid upon him.
What follows are three specific instances;

‘The Key’
    Drake is called in by the American Ambassador in Vienna to investigate leakages of information which points to the traitor being Logan, an American newspaper man who is also a secret agent, or the Ambassador himself.
    As Logan and Drake soon discover it is Logan’s wife Maria who is the person giving away the secret information to another agent called Alex.
Maria tells Drake that she was born in Budapest, and escaped from Hungary with the help of her husband whom she married later married.
Logan is suspected when the information given to Logan is in the Eastern newspaper, word for word as Drake gave it to him.
However it is not Logan who is the traitor, for it is his wife Maria who has been taking secret information from her husbands safe and passing it onto an agent called Alex.
It is Logan who finds a duplicate key to his safe amongst his wife’s clothes and confronts her. Maria confess her involvement but swears that she knows nothing more.
Both Maria and the agent Alex are eventually captured and taken away by the police, as her husband stands looking on.
Leaving Drake’s to comment, “other people’s dirty work. Someone has to do it, someone’s got to….. I suppose.”

‘The Traitor’
    What makes a traitor? John Drake finally catches up with his prey after travelling hundreds of miles from Calcutta by way of New Deli to Kashmir on a train.
Blatta who sits in the next carriage is about to pass on his information, Drake’s job is to be there when he does.
Blatta slips a package into the shopping bag of Louise Goddard, wife of Noel Goddard and passing himself off as  a tourist John Allen who has lost himself in the mountains, drake accepts an invitation form Noel Goddard for a drink in the Goddard’s home and then to stay for a few days, but his wife Louis is suspicious of Drake, she is certain that she has seen him somewhere before.
Noel Goddard persuades Drake to have his photograph taken under the pretext that he takes a photograph of all their guests, that photograph is then transmitted across the Chinese boarder by a microwave transmitter, and back comes the instructions to eliminate Drake.
    After surviving an attack by Goddard’s Indian servant Panah, for which Goddard apologises, cards are now all on the table as Noel Goddard has nothing to hide.
Goddard has no feelings of guilt and can live with the suffering and death, he has brought to people he betrayed.
But Goddard is a dying man, kept alive by the drugs his wife is obtaining for him, telling Drake that he has one year to live, and that her husband was pardoned because of his knowledge.
His wife pleads clemency for her husband for he can only survive in the mountains, to take him down into the valley would be condemning him to death.
But her pleas for clemency fail to shake Drakes resolve and as Goddard is taken down into the valley his condition worsens and his servant Panah sees to do duty by his master, he is too late as Goddard passes peacefully away.
    Drake thinks to himself that although the woman will hate him for the rest of his life, her husband would understand that he was only doing his job.

‘The Black Book’   
    John Drake is flattered when General Carteret requests to see the M9 man, indeed the General has followed Drake’s career and has nothing less than unreserved admiration for the man and he does not flatter.
    Drake is offered a fortnights vacation in Paris, this to investigate a case of blackmail against his brother in law Sir Noel Blanchard.
However Drake feels that his department M9 would not allow him to take such a vacation, nor really is this any of his concern. But his protests falls on deaf ears as he tries to refuse the assignment, but it is made quite clear by General Carteret, a man far too important to displease,  that Drake doesn’t have any say in the matter, because Drakes superiors in the department of M9 have already been told to grant Drake indefinite leave!
There cannot be a breath of scandal, otherwise irreparable damage could be caused to General Carteret’s career.
    Sir Noel Blanchard is being blackmailed by Simone and Serge, a Defective Russian who posses the black book which contains confidential information on certain westerners, and Sir Noel Blanchard who holds a high ministerial post in Paris is one such person in the black book, he cannot go to the police, if the secret came out the result would be politically disastrous for him.
Drake then applies his M9 methods to the problem and discovers that Sir Noel is not the only one being blackmailed, then there are the two Russian counter agents sent bring both Serge the black book back to Russia.
    At first Drake saw this as a simple case of black mail and nothing to do with him or his department, but now that the Russians are involved and judging by what the black book contains, along with the defecting Russian Serge, the matter is very much a concern of both Drake and his department. Sir Noel Blanchard sees himself as being too important, because if this leads to an enquiry Blanchard will be recalled to London in disgrace. But no amount of browbeating will detract Drake from his duty, and this will certainly lead to an enquiry.
    Drake shadows both Simone and Serge, he is on hand when further packages are collected by Simone from Sir Noel and other blackmail victims, and about the two Russian counter agents. That Serge a minor clerk stole the book, defecting to the west in order to capitalise from the contents of the black book for his own advantage.
Simone clears out, the French prison’s not to her liking, leaving Drake to home in on Serge.
Sir Noel Blanchard is recalled to London in disgrace.
    Drake makes a call on Serge at Simone’s flat and makes a deal in exchange for the black book and drive Serge to a derelict house where the black book is hidden.
The two Russian counter agents make there move and in the room of the derelict house a fight breaks out with a flurry of stinging left and right hooks. Drake dispenses the two Russian agents with ease, but Serge is shot and lies dead upon the floor.
Casually Drake stoops to pick up the black book lying at the feet of Serge, and without so much as a second glance at the two dead Russian’s departs in silence.

‘To Our Best Friend’
    To the department of M9 it seems that their associate in Baghdad has been “cooking the books”, and they want John Drake to go to Baghdad to find out if he’s been playing a double game.
Drake tells the Colonel that he cannot help, because our associate, Bill Vincent, happens to be a friend of his. But then that’s why Drake has been chosen for this assignment.
However Drake is reluctant to accept this latest assignment, telling the Colonel that ‘they’ can find somebody else!
Yet M9 have confirmation, absolute proof, well as good as.
So reluctantly Drake accepts the assignment, well it’s better than one of the Generals men!
    Bill Vincent is one of Drakes closet friends, and having arrived in Baghdad Vincent is delighted to see Drake, who meets Vincent’s wife, an enchanting Canadian, Leslie insists that Drake stay with them in their lavish apartment.
    Drake then sets a plan in operation, hoping against hope that the trap he is about to setting for Vincent will prove his friend innocence.
Drake tells Vincent that the plan is to raid the house of a local politician in the hope of finding documents which will prove that the man working for the Russians.
If the plan goes as planned, it will indicate that Vincent is in the clear. However Drakes hopes are dashed, he is expected at the politician’s home. Someone has leaked the news about the raid, which only Drake and Vincent knew about. And so this appears to provide conclusive proof of his friend’s treachery.
Vincent discovering that Drake has tricked him, maintaining his innocence, orders him to leave his home.
    Meanwhile Drake has spotted an M9 man, Phelps, who works for the General’s department. Then in a Hotel room drake meets with Rutledge, a man whose only boss is the General. A man who ‘tidies up’ when all other ventures of persuasion have failed, and being convinced that Vincent is guilty, he arranges for Vincent to meet with a fatal accident.
Later however Drake is on another trail, and through keeping his wife under close surveillance, Drake discovers that Bill Vincent is not the traitor he appears to be. In fact his wife Leslie has been meeting with Ivan, a Russian agent.
Drake then tricks Leslie by telling her that he is leaving, that the investigation has been called off.
As expected Leslie races off to Ivan’s house, and straight into the arms of Drake, who is now able to extract the truth.
    Permit me to tell you the life story of Mrs Leslie Vincent, however fantastic it may seem, certainly she has nothing to be ashamed of, she was only doing her job.
Leslie Vincent was born, shall we say somewhere north of here, {remembering this is Baghdad}.
    “You know where I was born.”
    You showed great promise at school, particularly in languages. One day a stranger came to interview you and you said goodbye to your parents, and went to Moscow.
You took an intensive course in English language, but you didn’t know why then. And presently another stranger came to see you, and you were sent on a long journey into the Steppes.
You came across a small town, and this is the biggest surprise of your life, it was a complete replica of an English town. You had started your training as a secret agent.
You stayed five years until you spoke, thought and dreamed in your new language, and then you were given a British passport. You went home, home to a place you had never seen, and stayed long enough to get a genuine background, and then you went to London.
One day ‘they’ pointed out Bill Vincent to you and ‘they’ said, “he’s an important British agent…… marry him.”

{A complete replica of an English Town in the Steppes……. Colony Three}

    Offering Leslie a drink, gin, whiskey, Rum, Vodka, he discovers a radio set in a secret compartment of the drinks cabinet. Ivan returns to his home, gun in hand, whom Drake easily deals with, the aid of an exploding cigar!
Then offers Leslie a chance to escape, just as long as she goes straight to the airport, and then later tells Vincent the truth about his wife, Vincent who is now a disillusioned man, thanks Drake for clearing ho same and for allowing Leslie to escape.
    However this is not the end. Leslie on her way to the frontier calls in at a gasoline station and has a cup of coffee, Bill Vincent meanwhile has gone after his wife and catches up with her at the gasoline station.
Drake returns to Rutledge’s hotel room to report Vincent’s innocence, that it was his Vincent’s wife who was working for the Russians. Rutledge informs Drake of a plan to dispense with Vincent, believing he has bolted for the frontier, ‘special instruction s’ have been given to his men and that it is now impossible to contact his men to rescind the order.
Both Drake and Rutledge race of in pursuit of Vincent, and catch up with Rutledge’s men at the gasoline station. A canister of gas has already been placed in Vincent’s car, under the passengers seat.
As Drake and Rutledge drive of in hot pursuit, Vincent’s car is swerving all over a quarry road, as the gas begins to take its effect. Drake tell Rutledge to take the wheel as the two cars draw level, Drake then leaps onto the roof of Vincent’s car, and edges his way to the door and climbs inside as the car zig-zag’s across the road.
Resting the wheel out of Vincent’s hands, Drake finally brings the car to a screeching halt.
    Finally as Leslie is taken away by a Russian military officer, Drake drives his distraught friend back to his apartment
    Those are four specific instances amongst John Drakes many varied and dangerous assignments, in both ‘The Key’ and ‘The Traitor’ Drake is unhappy with the final results. In ‘The Black Book’ Drake is not at all happy in being used by the general to achieve his own ends, not to clean up his brother in laws own mess.
    Such assignments over a certain amount of time would have had a profound effect on Drake, causing him to think about the kind of work he was doing and question whether or not he wanted to continue doing such work. This then would be another part of the reason for his resignation was that he had become disillusioned, fed up with being used by others to achieve their own ends and clearing up other peoples mess. It’s no wonder he resigned!

Be seeing you


  1. Hello David

    Certainly the allegorical No.6 as John Drake would have resigned if 'It's Up To The Lady' or the man with a 'Dangerous Secret'. ;-)


    Mr. Anonymous

    1. Hello Mister Anonymous,

      Well quite.