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Saturday 26 April 2014

Prismatic Reflection

  "Sir, do you play chess sir?”
   “I’m the Queen. Come and be the Queen’s pawn.”
   It is on a bright Village morning that the white membranic mass of the Village Guardian is on patrol. As it rolls and bounds along a street, pedestrians step to the side of the road, and cyclists dismount their bicycles, everyone stands stock still as the Guardian passes by. Everyone except for a man with a walking stick, who shows his defiance by carrying on walking in spite of the Village Guardian. Number 6, is standing in a pagoda, observes this act of defiance, and decides to follow the man with the walking stick.
   Number 6 is led to a lawn, upon where white boards have been laid out, interspaced with the green of the lawn to form a chessboard. People carrying chess poles to denote the chess pieces are taking their squares on the chessboard, as Number 6 is about to do, as the white queen’s pawn.
   The man with the walking stick makes the opening move as white “Pawn to King four,” his opponent responds with the same move. The thing with using human beings as the chess pieces in the Village, is that every piece is dressed alike!
   The game progresses, Number 6 having asked No.8-the white Queen who the man with the walking stick is, gets his reply. Apparently he’s an ex-Count. What an ex-Count would be doing in the Village we do not know, nor do we know why he came to lose his title. And neither do we know where he comes from. But they do say that his ancestors used to play chess using their retainers, and they also say that they were beheaded as they were wiped off the board! But that’s not allowed to happen in the Village.
   As the game goes on, Number 6 asks the white Queen “Who is Number One?”
    “It doesn’t do to ask questions” the Queen advises him.
   In the Control Room the Supervisor-No.56 is in the company of Number 2. On the wall screen the chess match is being played out.
   “It seems alright to me” observes Number 2.
    “Yes, don’t let it fool you, we keep him under close surveillance” returns the Supervisor.
   Back on the chessboard Number 6 is undaunted and persists with his questions.
   “Why were you brought here?”
   “That was a good move wasn’t it?” says Number 8 dodging the question.
   “I know a better one” he tells her.
   “Away from this place.”
   “That’s impossible!”
   “For chessmen, not for me.”
    “They told me there wasn’t a hope.”
    “I don’t believe what they tell me, are you surprised?”
    “Pawn to Queen four” calls the chess player.
    The pawn does not move. The chess player repeats the move, and still the pawn does not move.
    “Maybe I could help” the white Queen tells him.
   “Pawn to Queen four.”
   “Pawn to Queen four.”
   “Pawn to Queen four,”
   “Pawn to Queen four, to Queen four, to Queen four, pawn to Queen four.”
   The Pawn is poked and prodded by nearby chess men and urged by the white queen to make the move. Finally the Queen’s pawn makes the move.
   “Be seeing you” says the white Queen.
   “Don’t worry, you’re safe protected by the Queen” the bishop tells him.
   “Bishop to Queen three.”
   “Told you so” says the bishop.
   In the Control Room the Supervisor-Number 56 observes that Number 6 seems very placid. Number 2 observes that he’s just a pawn, one false move and he’ll be wiped off the board. But not while the Queen is protecting him is the Supervisor’s further observation. But the Queen will take no risks to help him.
   Back on the chessboard the game progresses, and a black pawn looks as though he’s in trouble. Well in that case why does he play?
   ”I like a game of chess” is the pawn’s response.
   There follows a quick exchange of moves. The white Queen’s Rook stands on his square looking about him as each move is made, then makes a move of his own. He marches to the end file and shouts “Check!”
   The Rook has moved without orders! This has not gone unobserved in the Control Room. The Supervisor telephones Number 2, who orders the Rook to be brought in for treatment. The supervisor in turn contacts the hospital and orders them to report to the chessboard.
   “Call the substitute, call the substitute, the substitute, the substitute, call the substitute. Remove white Queen’s Rook to hospital” booms out the supervisor’s voice over the Village through the public address system.
   A siren can then be heard, a Mini-Moke towing a red cross trailer arrives on the scene and parks near the chessboard. Two hospital medics go onto the chessboard, they take the Rook, place him onto a stretcher and carrying him off, place him into the red cross trailer and is taken off to hospital.
   “What’s all that about?” Number 6 asks.
   “Cult of the individual, it isn’t allowed” the white Queen tells him.
   “What’ll happen to him?”
   “He’ll be well looked after. They’ll get the best specialists to treat him.”
   There is a final move by white, queen to King three, checkmate. There is a round of applause, the shaking of hands, and Number 6 is approached by the chess champion Number 14.
   “Sir you play a fine game.”
   {Get away, Number 6 only made one move and even then he was told by Number 14 what move to make. But then I suspect it’s not the chess match Number 14 is talking about.}
    Number 14 suggests that they walk together, and talk as they walk. They cross the chessboard and ascend the steps into the central piazza, where they pause by the pool and fountain. Number 6 asks 14 why they use people. The psychiatrists say it satisfies the desire for power. It’s the only opportunity one gets in the Village. But then I suppose it depends on whose side you are on. Number 14 may be old, perhaps too old for escape, but he is as defiant as ever he was, “I’m on my side” he tells Number 6.
   “Aren’t we all” quips Number 6, and goes on to ask why both sides look alike. In other words how does Number 14 know black from white.
   “You judge by their dispositions, by the moves they make, you soon know who’s for or against you. It’s simple psychology, the way it is in life, you judge by attitudes. People don’t need uniforms.”
   “So why complicate it? To keep your mind alert.”
   Number 14 suggests they walk on. They pass the butler carrying an open umbrella. The butler had been following the chess match using a conventional chess set of his own, from on top of the bandstand.
    Number 6 and 14 pause at a bay window just past the café where they continue their conversation.
    “You were asking.”
    “Yes, why do you bother to keep your mind alert?”
    “Now, through habit, just to defy them, I’m too old.”
    “For what?”
    “You had a plan?”
    “Everybody has a plan, but they all fail” Number 14 informs him.
    “It’s like the game, you have to learn to distinguish between the blacks and the whites.”
    Just at that moment a hand appears in the bay window, which has a number of toys and models in it. The hand places a peg wooden doll on a small chair, it appears to be symbolic.
    Number 6 leaves 14 and goes his own way, little knowing at that moment he is being followed by the white Queen Number 8. But at the bandstand Number 6 suddenly stops, turns, and catches Number 8.
   “You’re following me!”
   “I had to see you” Number 8 tells him “how do you plan to escape?”
   “How did you know I was going to?”
   “Well everybody plans to escape when their spirits broken. Tell me your plan and I’ll help.”
    “Help who?”
    “Well I like you. If it’s a good plan I’ll escape with you. I’ve often helped other people with their plans.”
    “Why you still here?”
    “Well none of them ever succeeded.”
    “That’s a coincidence.”
    “Well it would be invaluable experience, at least I could tell you what not to try.”
    “How do I know I can trust you?”
    “That’s a risk you’ll have to take.”
    “Not me” says Number 6 and walks away from Number 8, back to his cottage.
    The next day Number 6 encounters Number 2 behind the wheel of a parked taxi. He asks Number 6 if he enjoyed his chess yesterday. Number 6 is surprised that Number 2 cares. But he only wants Number 6 to be happy. Well in that case he can give Number 6 a one-way ticket out of the Village! It seems Number 6 will never give up, and that could drive them to ways they have not used yet. Number 6 can imagine that by the state of the man they took yesterday, the Rook. But it’s done under the strictest supervision. The Rook will come to no harm, it’s just a rehabilitation course. Number 2 makes that sound very attractive, perhaps Number 6 should envy him!
    Number 2 offers Number 6 to get into the taxi, he’s on his way to the hospital and thought Number 6 might like to see our friend the Rook. To which Number 6 agrees.
    At the hospital, and through an observation window Numbers 2 and 6 can observe the room beyond, in which there are a number of water dispensers. The door opens and the Rook-Number 53, sat unconscious in a wheelchair is pushed into the room by a nurse and accompanied by a doctor Number 23.
   The doctor, as she prepares a hypodermic needle reminds the nurse that she must not speak to the patient. In the observation room Number 2 explains to 6 that the Rook will wake up in a few minutes, and the experiment that is about to take place is based on Pavlov’s experiments with rats, no it was dogs. The patient has been dehydrated, and when he wakes up he’ll be suffering from an insatiable thirst.
   A final check of the patient then both doctor and nurse withdraw from the room into the observation room next door. Number 53 stirs and then wakes. He stands up out of the wheelchair. In front of him are the four different coloured water dispensers, green, white, blue, and yellow. 53 approaches the yellow dispenser.
    “Water” 53 mutters taking a plastic cup, and putting it under the tap, but no water is dispensed.
    A disembodied voice orders 53 to wait.
    “Water” mutters 53 turning his attention the blue dispenser.
    “Leave it!” the voice orders.
    But with an insatiable thirst Number 53 ignores the order. He puts the plastic cup under the tap, and pressing the button he receives an electric shock which sends him sprawling to the floor.
   Number 6 views this treatment with disgust, that it hurts Number 2 more than it hurts the Rook. But Number 2 sees it that in society one must learn to conform.
   Number 53 gets to his feet. He tries both the white and green dispensers, but without gaining one drop of water “Water, water, water!”
    “You’ll get water when you obey. Go to the blue dispenser” the disembodied voice orders.
    Number 53 cowers away from the blue dispenser. The voice tells him to go on, there’s nothing to fear. Gingerly 53 touches the tap, nothing happens. Quickly he places the plastic cup under the tap and turns it on, thereby gaining the water to quench his thirst.
   The doctor observes this through the observation window “Splendid, he did it.” She is must be proud of herself, and her work. She is glad certainly, seeing as how it‘s been a long struggle. Now Number 53 will be fully co-operative. But as Number 6 is about to leave the observation room he turns, the doctors troubles are only just beginning!
   “Is he in for treatment?” the doctor asks 2.
    “Not yet” he informs her.
    “Pity. I should like to know his breaking point!”
    Well the doctor could make that her life’s ambition!
    Having left the hospital Number 6 sets himself an ambition of his own, to find men whom he can trust. This by distinguishing between the prisoners and the warders, by judging their attitude towards him, by adopting an air of authority. He has been wandering through the Village challenging a number of likely citizens. He carries with him a copy of The Tally Ho, and upon the chess problem he has written the numbers of the citizens he has challenged. They have all been crossed out. In the central piazza by the pool and fountain he challenges a burly set man in a red jersey. Number6 gives the man a stare, the man stands up against Number 6 and returns his stare then walks off, obviously a Guardian!
   There is another man, stocky build, wearing a striped jersey sat by the edge of the Free Sea. Number 6 gives him a stare, 53 stands up and hurries away. On the chess puzzle of the Tally Ho Number 6 writes ROOK in four empty squares and ticks it. Then follows Number 53 to the Bell Tower.
    Number 53 wants to know what it is he’s done. Number 6 wants to know why he ran. 53 doesn’t know. But running is a sign of resistance, the will to escape, which 53 refutes. He just didn’t think. So it was instinctive. Y…yeah, of anything you like.
   Number 53’s thoughts interest Number 6, he asks 53 to go with him. They talk together by a low wall on top of a cliff over looking the estuary. 53 wants to know why 6 should hide. 6 wants to know how long 53 has been in the Village, months, years, doesn’t Number 6 know? Number 6 suggests that there is still hope. To die, there’s nothing else. Death is an escape. But one day they’ll” go too far then 53 will die and beat them all!
   “Why were you brought here?” Number 6 asks.
    “You need to ask?”
    “I’m asking.”
    Number 53 invented a new electronic defence system. He thought that all nations should have it, as it would have insured peace. But that’s treasonable, treasonable thoughts perhaps. But the joke is that they let the plans get stolen anyway. All this to safeguard secrets, then some bumbling bureaucrat lets his bag get swiped. 53 thinks that’s funny, but is had nothing to do with him. If it had he’d die happy. N, no, he didn’t mean that.
    “Oh why can’t you leave me alone?”
    “I’m interested. You have an independent mind” Number 6 tells him.
    “There are very few of us left” Number 6 tells him.
    “No you’re wrong…us?”
    “I’m a prisoner too.”
    “Oh yes, I’ve been caught like that before.”
    “It’s a fact.”
    “Why the inquisition?”
    “I wanted to make sure you’re the man I was after.”
    “For what?” 53 asks.
    “We’ll talk again” Number 6 tells him taking his leave.
    Number 6 and 53 do talk again later, as they sit on the lawn watching a human game of chess being played out.
    “You were intimidated without force. By my manner you assumed I was a Guardian” Number 6 begins to explain “by your manner I knew you were a prisoner, it’s subservient.”
    Their sudden alliance has not gone unnoticed by the Supervisor-Number 56 and the Observers in the Control Room. The Supervisor telephones Number 2 to report Number 6 getting friendly with the Rook. Number 2 orders to switch them into vision and audio on his wall screen.
    There is a bust of Voltaire close by where Number 6 and 53 are sitting. The bust rotates in their direction, and Number 6 observes this.
    “If he had moved the Kings knight instead of the Queens knight, he’d have been covered” said Number 6.
    “Yes but the bishop would have taken the knight” said 53.
    “Yes then the Queen would have taken the bishop, checkmate.”
    The situation seems alright to Number 2, but just to double check he calls the doctor at the hospital regarding the Rook’s rehabilitation. The doctor assures him that he’ll find the Rook is fully integrated. It seems alright, so Number 2 decides to leave Number 6 with the Rook, whatever he learns from the Rook, it will teach him that there’s no point in rebelling.
    The stone bust of Voltaire turns away from Number 6 and 53.
   “The Guardians pose as prisoners” says Number 6 “but none of them would be intimidated by me.”
    “They know you’re a prisoner.”
   “Yes, only other prisoners would obey me.”
   You’ve found a way to identify them, so where does that get you?
   “It’s a first step, no escape plan can succeed without knowing who you can rely on.”
   So what’s the plan?
   “First things first, let’s find our reliable men.”
   6 and 53 approach a gardener working on a nearby flowerbed. Number 6 tells him that he’d like a word with him, to which the gardener tells him that he’ll have to wait, and picking up his trug walks off….Guardian! Then there’s the painter Number 42 who is busy painting a yellow wall. Number 6 asks Number 53 what he thinks. The painter asks if there is anything wrong. Number 6 asks him if he painted this? Number 42 tells him that he did, but if it’s not satisfactory he’d paint it again! Number 6 is satisfied, Number 53 is satisfied, so they’ll be in touch with 42 again.
    Next comes Number 19 the Shopkeeper. Number 6 tells him that they’ve come to inspect his books. This puts the Shopkeeper’s back up, “They’ve never been inspected before!” but there is always a first time isn’t there.
    Later in the day, in the Control Room, Number 2 and the Supervisor are watching the wall screen. Number 6 and several men are gathering around a canopied table. Number 2 sees this as being suspicious, and orders for the audio so he can hear what they are talking about. But the Supervisor cannot get the audio, the mic’s kaput. Number 2 asks the Supervisor if he thinks Number 6 has fixed it. The Supervisor would take bets on it. Watching the screen Number 2 is convinced that they are planning something, and decides to have Number 6 in for tests.
   At the hospital Number 6 is put through a series of word association tests.
“Anchor?” queries the psychiatrist.
“The Hope and Anchor, it’s a pub I used to drink at” says Number 6.
For all
   Number 2 has heard enough, and the doctor announces that there are some unusual associations. There have also been previous tests conducted by the doctor Number 23 herself, a summary of which shows that Number 6 shows signs of abnormality, a total disregard for personal safety and a negative reaction to pain. Well he wouldn’t be able to fake that. The doctor has never met a man who could. It would take super human will power!
   Suddenly the door to the observation room opens, and the next experiment is wheeled in, sitting in a wheelchair.
   “What’s this?” Number 2 asks.
   The doctor explains that this new experiment, if it works, will prove invaluable to Number 2. It is a development on research carried out on Dolphins as a means of submarine detection. Transistors were implanted in their brains. We haven’t got as far with humans, but this will prove effective for our purposes. A nurse administers an injection into Number 8’s arm, and a screen is switched on.
   Upon the screen appears the face of Number 6. Number 8 looks at the screen, she sees the man. Isn’t he handsome? Isn‘t he manly? You love him passionately, devotedly. You would do anything for him, anything. You would even betray him to save him from his own folly. The nurse holds up a locket on a chain. Inside is a transistor, it will record all Number 8’s emotions for Control. She’ll dote on him, follow Number 6 like a dog. He loves her too, and the doctor places the locket about her neck. He sent her the locket, and she’ll wear it next to her heart always. Number 8 is wheeled away, but looks back for a last look at the man on the screen. Very ingenious, hypnosis. When Number 8 is out of sight of him she’ll be sighing. When she sees him her pulses will quicken and if she thinks she’s going to lose him, if he attempts to escape, she’ll be frantic. And her overwhelming emotions will send an alarm to Control.
   Number 6 eventually leaves the hospital with Number 8 following close behind, and follows him through the Village. In the Control Room Number 2 and the doctor watch the wall screen as the device gets its first test. The Supervisor stands at a control consol monitoring the device.
    “Now we’re picking up her impulses” the Supervisor reports.
    “Good, when she sees him you should get a sharp increase in the pulses” says the doctor.
    It’s working, she must be seeing him now, pulse rates seventy-one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, it’s pushing eighty and still rising. That’s excellent, when they have a full record for analysis they will be able to program Number 8 into the alarm system.
    The pair of steel doors open and a psychiatrist from the hospital enters the Control Room carrying a black file which she hands to the doctor. The files contain medical reports on Number 6. The doctor reads the reports summary.
    “Just as I thought” the doctor says.
    “What?” Number 2 asks.
    “Aggressive tendencies. My advice would be a leucotomy to knock out the centres of the brain.”
    “No, he’s too valuable” says Number 2 studying the report summary for himself “I’m sure we can help him to adjust without such drastic action.”
    Outside in the Village Number 6 calmly walks to the taxi rank, climbs into a taxi and drives away, quickly followed by Number 8 in another taxi eager as she is to keep the man she loves in sight, sounding the two tone horn as she goes. This is observed in the Control Room and reported to Number 2 in his office. Asked if they should stop him, Number 2 advises the Supervisor not to take any action unless he gets the yellow alert. Number 2 wants this new gadget to get a proper test.
    Having given Number 8 the slip, Number 6 then drives to the outskirts of the Village and picks up Number 53. Together they return back into the Village, where on foot they work their way around to a plinth in front of a row of cottages. On the plinth is a surveillance camera which Number 53 disconnects and removes from the plinth.
   In the Control Room the supervisor had been using camera 34 to try and find Number 6 when the wall screen suddenly goes blank. The Supervisor contacts Electrics Department reporting that camera 34 is kaput, and to service it immediately.
    Meanwhile Number 6 and 53 drive off with the stolen camera. And a few moments later Number 53 is at a telephone kiosk stealing the telephone. He returns to the taxi and Number 6 drives to the crossroads where the electrics truck should now have arrived.
   The electrics truck having arrived at the crossroads, the electrician leaves it unattended so that he can service camera 34. While he is gone Number 53 steels a screwdriver and a piece of electrical equipment from the trailer of the electrics truck.
   Driving through the Village there comes the sound of a two tone horn behind them. It’s Number 8, she has been looking for Number 6 and now she has found him. Number 6 stops the mini-moke, climbs out and tells Number 53 to get the things they have stolen hidden. He waits for Number 8 to stop her mini-moke.
    “You going my way?” he asks.
    “Of course” Number 8 replies.
    “Well you have a lot of explaining to do haven’t you?” and climbing into the front passenger seat, and they drive off together.
    In the Control Room the Supervisor notices a quickening of Number 8’s pulse rate, and the doctor realises that Number 8 is with Number 6.
    Number 8 brings the mini-moke to a stop, and she and Number 6 begin to talk. Number 6 greets Number 8’s declaration of love with coldness and scepticism. He tells her that’s she’s crazy. She is, about Number 6. But she doesn’t even know him, and yet she knows how she feels. Number 6 is suspicious, and wants to know who put her up to it. Number 8 wants to know how he can doubt her? It’s easy in a place like the Village, and Number 8’s show of emotion doesn’t make matters better, as a slight drizzle will not wash away his doubts. Number 8 only wants to be near him, but as Number 6 tells her, everybody’s near in the Village, far too near! Number 8 asks Number 6 if they will ever release us. He tells her to let him know, as he won’t be around! Number 8 wants to know why he wants to risk his life, after all they could be happy together. Really?
    That evening a few minutes to curfew Number 6 is in his bathroom, while Number 8 is in the kitchen making him his nightcap of hot chocolate. Number 6 emerges from the bathroom in pyjamas and dressing gown. They talk as he drinks his hot chocolate. She asks him if he’s had a good day, well it’s been no worse, no better, but he likes the chocolate, and wants to know how Number 8 got into his cottage. Oh the usual way, by the door. She sees him as being kind, kind to allow her to be with him. If only he cared a little, she would be happy. But Number 6 does care, and wants to know who it was who put her up to it! Nobody put her up to it, so Number 6 tells her to get out. But Number 8 only wants to help him, but that’s what everybody wants to do! Then Number 8 breaks down and starts to cry. This seems to have a soothing effect on Number 6 as he asks her “What’s the matter?”
    “Nothing” she tells him wiping her tears.
    “Stop crying.”
    “Sorry to bother you” she says wiping her eyes.
    “Not bothering me” he tells her.
    “I’m not bothering you?”
    “No” he says.
    She asks him if he likes her?
    Yes he tells her.
    “Oh you’re so good to me” she tells him taking his hand and shaking it “thank you.”
   That’s alright, that’s fine, that’s okay he tells her. She asks him if he wants some more chocolate, but he’s got some. She asks him if she can see him again? I’m here all the time he tells her.
    “Thank you, ever so much” she says smiling gratefully.
    The cottage door opens automatically. Number 8 dashes through, and outside she turns, pauses, and gives him a cheery wave, and he waves back, although is a casual manner. And the cottage door closes for the night.
    The next day the sun is shining and several citizens are down on the beach taking full advantage of the summer weather. Sunbathing, playing beach ball, or like the Admiral and his flag officer playing with plastic boats.
   There is a kiosk on the beach selling beach balls, rubber lilos, buckets and spades, in fact everything for the beach, together with the latest issue of The Tally Ho. there are also a number of striped coloured beach tents. Number 53 is about to make his way to one of the beach tents when he encounters Number 2.
   “Hello, how are you feeling today?” asks Number 2.
    “Fine” 53 tells him.
    “All signs of that egotism gone?”
    “Well don’t over do it. If there is a relapse, simply go back to the hospital.”
    “I don’t like to bother people.”
    “No bother, and keep taking those pills” Number 2 tells him.
    Number 53 then makes his way to a red and white striped tent, and gets to work on a piece of electrical equipment.
    Number 6 then appears and makes his way across the beach and into the same red and white striped tent. Inside Number 53 is working on a piece of electrical equipment. Number 6 hands him an aerial which he broke off one of the taxis. Number 53 sees that he’s taking too many risks. But let Number 6 worry about that. How’s it coming along? Number 53 needs more transistors, Number 6 tells him he’ll fix that and leaves Number 53 carrying on working on the radio transmitter.
    Crossing the beach Number 6 encounter Number 8 wearing a black swimming costume and yellow poncho sitting on some rocks. She asks him if he fancies a swim, no, but she mustn’t let him stop her. But 8 is in no hurry and asks him to sit with her, he does. She accuses him of being unkind. That if she didn’t know better she’d say he didn’t love her. And if he doesn’t, then why did he give her the locket? She must be dreaming. But if she’s got the wrong man, why is it she has the right photograph, in her locket. Number 6 asks to see the locket, don’t worry he just wants to look at it. So reluctantly Number 8 takes off the locket and hands it to him. Number 6 opens the locket and not only sees his photograph, but also the tiny wiring of transistors. He asks her where she got it? Apparently he gave it to her, had he forgotten? Oh yes, but the photograph isn’t a very good one, he’ll get her a better one. He asks if he can keep the locket, and bids her enjoy her swim.
    “Be seeing you.”
   Number 6 returns to the red and white striped tent, showing 53 the transistors in the locket. It’s a reaction transmitter, not voices. She’s been an automatic alarm following Number 6 about. Fortunately the transistors are all 53 needs to complete the radio transmitter by tonight.
    In the Control Room it seems that the doctor’s latest gadget has packed up! It may be a fault in the machine, or Number 6 could have discovered it. They search for Number 8 via the surveillance cameras. There she is, on the beach paddling in a pool of water, but the locket has gone! It may have come off in the water. They search for Number 6, and he’s down on the beach as well.
    Number 6 has purchased two rubber lilos which he takes to the tent and ties together with a length of rope. Then with 53 making final adjustments to the radio transmitter Number 6 goes off to alert his other reliable men with the recognition phrase “Tonight at moonset, Rook to Queen’s pawn 6 check.”
    That evening Numbers 6 and 53 run down to the sea wall, and descending a ladder they dash across the beach to the beach tent. Number 6 operates the radio and sets about transmitting a mayday message.
    “Mayday, mayday, mayday, any station receiving come in please.”
    Number 6 listens but there is no response. 53 is certain it’s the right frequency.
    “This is a mayday call, this is a mayday call, any station receiving come in please.”
    Then there comes a response from M.S. Polotska.
    “Mayday to Polotska this is Transocean flight D for delta two five zero, starboard engine in flames port engine oil pressure dropping rapidly, thirty thousand feet and losing height over.”
    Number 6 is feigning radio static by crinkling greaseproof paper, as M. S. Polotska asks for the aircrafts position which is …….minutes longitude……degrees latitude over.
    But it is not just M. S. Polotska who has picked up the mayday call, it is being listened to by the Supervisor and his assistant in the Control Room. They report the mayday call to Number 2, and inform him that M. . Polotska has answered the mayday call. Number 2 tells the Supervisor to leave it to them.
    Back on the beach Number 6 and 53 hurry across the beach to the sea, carrying both the two lilos and the radio transmitter. Number 6 launches the craft and 53 upon the sea, in order to send an automatic distress signal to bring M. S. Polotska inshore. While Number 6 dashes off back to the Village, where he meets up with his other men at the Stoneboat.
   Meanwhile in the Control room they have picked up the automatic distress signal being transmitted by 53 out at sea on the flimsy lilo craft. The signal is very close, and they try to get a radar fix on it. Nothing at twelve miles, they try six. They try closer to the Village, but if they’re not careful they’ll start getting readings from the higher buildings of the Village. The Supervisor contacts the radio station in the tower to see if they can get a cross bearing.
    Number 6 is now at the Stoneboat. He tells his men that a boat is coming to their rescue, that Rook is off-shore sending a signal to bring them in. The Guardians will also pick up signal. Their job is to stop the Guardians from taking any action. Such as knocking out the searchlight in the tower!
   The two men in the tower operating the searchlight are attacked and overpowered by Number 6 and his men, the light extinguished. The attack is reported to Number 2 by the Supervisor. Number 2 is practising his karate, as Number 6 and his men take on their next objective, stopping Number 2 from taking any action.
   Meanwhile the Rook is still off-shore sending the distress signal, as Number 6 and his men storm the Green Dome. It is a bit late to go calling, but Number 6 wanted to thank Number 2 for having them. Number 2 has his hands tied as Number 6 reverts to good old fashioned brute force which in certain situations can be very effective.
    Number 6 turns up the volume and hears the distress signal transmitted by the Rook. Suddenly the signal stops.
    “The ship’s come for us!” 19 suddenly exclaims.
   But it’s too soon, Number 6 leaves his men in the Green Dome and dashes off to check, there could be trouble.
   Running along the beach to the shoreline, Number 6 finds the abandoned pair of rubber lilos, and no sign of the Rook. Out of the night comes the horn and light of a ship. He has a decision to make, either go back to the Green Dome, or take to the sea and bring the ship in-shore himself. He chooses the latter.
   Out at sea Number 6 eventually encounters M. S. Polotska, and the two crewmen take him aboard.
    “You’ve had a lucky escape” offers one of the crew.
    “Thanks, you don’t know how lucky!” returns Number 6, and he’s taken into the wheelhouse as he wants to talk to the skipper of the vessel.
    “I hate to disappoint you, but the Polotska’s our ship.” says a familiar voice.
    Number 6 spins round to see the figure of Number 2 on a television screen. The weather forecast is very bad, Number 6 wouldn’t have stood a chance in that toy boat. He is touched by 2’s concern. Apparently there’s been a slight misunderstanding. And the figure of the Rook-Number 53 appears on the television screen alongside Number 2.
    “You’re one of them!” Number 6 says accusingly.
    “I’m not, you are!” returns the Rook.
    “As I was saying” says Number 2 “a slight misunderstanding.”
    “You deliberately tried to trap me” says the Rook accusing Number 6.
    “I did what?!” Number 6 barks at the television screen.
    “The mistake was yours” says Number 2 “we can’t have you maligning Number Six.”
    The Rook suddenly and painfully realises his mistake “You mean he really is a prisoner?”
    The Rook released Number 2, but Number 6 only has himself to blame.
    “How do you work that out?”
    Number 2 gathers that Number 6 avoided selecting Guardians by detecting there subconscious arrogance. There was one thing he overlooked, the Rook applied to Number 6 his own test. When he took command of this little venture his air of authority convinced the Rook that he was one of them.  And of course he convinced the others. What’s happened to them? Well they’ll be back on the chessboard tomorrow as pawns.
   Number 6 makes a last ditch attempt for freedom. He picks up an ashtray and hurls it at the television smashing the screen. Then a vicious fight breaks out between the two crewmen and Number 6, observed by Number 2 on the wall screen in his office. Having beaten the two crewmen into unconsciousness, Number 6 tries to take command of the vessel, but the helm is locked.
    In his office Number 2 presses a button on the control panel of his desk, and a segment of the Village guardian is released from its containment somewhere at the bottom of the sea. Breaking through the surface, the Guardian makes its way across the waves towards the vessel. Number 6 watches transfixed, and walks the length of the motor cruiser to the stern of the vessel. The Guardian takes up its position at the stern of the boat and actively becomes both the vessel’s rudder and power source as M. S. Polotska is steered toward the Village.
    In his office Number 2 sits in the relative comfort of his chair watching the events on the wall screen. On his desk is the butler’s chessboard. A gloved hand of the butler picks up a white pawn and places it back on the chessboard, upon the white Queen’s pawns square.

Be seeing you next time when we encounter a face unknown!

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