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Thursday 1 July 2021

Safe Enough!


    What is meant by “safe enough?” Safe enough where, here in the village, is that what is meant? And who, who is safe enough if someone is to be safe I wouldn’t have thought the village safe enough for anyone! Perhaps something has been hidden, if so from what, and why does it have to be hidden? And how safe is “safe enough?”
    “Tell me why you resigned” No.2 said from the comfort of his globe chair “that’s really all we want to know.”
    “If I tell you why I resigned I’ll be safe?” the prisoner asked nervously.
    “As safe as houses” No.2 said trying to sound reassuring.
    “In my cottage.”
    “I don’t know.”
    “You don’t know what?”
    “Whether to tell you or not” the prisoner said.
    “You’ll tell me sooner or later, sooner or later you’ll want to tell me.”
    “And I’ll be safe?” the prisoner asked.
    “Why did you resign?”
    The prisoner simply shook his head.
    The pair of steel doors opened and the slim figure of No.22 dressed more for Carnaby Street than the village, walked down the ramp into the purpled walled office.
    “Our friend here is not ready to talk just yet. Take him home and give him some friendly persuasion on the way.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    No.22 helped the prisoner out of the black leather chair, and taking his arm led him across the floor, up the ramp to the opening steel doors.
    “And Number 22, friendly persuasion, no strong arm stuff.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    Leaving the Green Dome No.22 escorted the prisoner down the steps, across the street, across the square, up some more steps and into the cottage.
    “Here you are, back home.”
    “Safe and sound!” the prisoner said.
    “And you will remain here” 22 told him.
    “For how long?”
    “Until you are ready to talk, all you have to do” 22 instructed “is pick up the telephone and call Number 2. Be seeing you.”
    “Not if I see you first!” he muttered under his breath “safe enough is it......we’ll see.”
    No.22 returned to the Green Dome.
    “I want you to keep an eye on our friend, 22, he might try and do something reckless, and we wouldn’t want him to do that now would we?”
    “Wouldn’t we? Reckless, what sort of reckless?”
    “I do wish you would dress more in accordance with village attire.”
    “I like to wear my own clothes, they make me feel comfortable” he told him.
    “You have been noticed you know, and one day I will no longer be able to protect you!”
    “Don’t worry about me, I can look after myself. And I’ll keep an eye on our friend Number 32.”
    “Good, safe enough!” No.2 said in a relaxed sort of way.
    “Why don’t you make him talk, once he’s told you why he resigned all the rest is bound to follow.”
    “You would think so wouldn’t you?”
    “He sat behind a desk” 22 said “he was never a field agent; he should be easy enough to break.”
   “But I do not want him broken!” No.2 told him.
    “Because we are going to send him back..........eventually.”
    “Send him back sir, what to sit behind that big oak desk of his?” 22 queried.
    “A great many files pass across that desk, as well as all kinds of information, information we want” No.2 explained.
    “And the Colonel’s going to work for us, just like that?”
    “Well not quite just like that” 22 “but after a little persuasion from us and he will.”
    In his cottage No.32 sat thinking over his current situation. Basically he was a prisoner in a village that pretends to be a holiday resort; in a place God knows where and for no better reason that to extract any, and all, information from inside his head. Then what? Keep him here to live out the rest of his life in peace and quiet! Escape....was that possible, but how, and who can be trusted? First find out the lay of the land, get to know a few people, search out people’s interests, join in a little if necessary.

    The door to his cottage opened and a middle aged woman in a black dress, white filly apron, and a white sailor’s cap entered.
    “Who are you?”
    “Your personal maid sir” she said with a warm smile.
    “And you are here why?”
    “To flick a duster about the place.”
    “Does my cottage look as though it could do with a good dusting?” he said looking about the room.
    “I’m only doing as I was told” she said.
    “Who told you.....Number 2?”
    The maid looked insulted.
    “Don’t mind me, do what you must” the Colonel said “I’m going out.”
    And he did, he needed time to think. He wandered the streets and cobbled paths of the village aimlessly, until he hit on the taxi rank upon which an empty white Mini-Moke was parked. What’s more the key was in the ignition.
    In his office No.2 and his assistant were enjoying a cup of afternoon tea.
    “I wonder how the Colonel is” 2 said pressing a button on the control panel of his desk.
    The Colonel wasn’t in the lounge, No.2 pressed a second button.
    “Hello Colonel” No.2 said his voice carrying through the whole cottage via the black speaker.
    But of the Colonel there was no sign!
    No.2 picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone “Control room, the supervisor......supervisor I can’t find the Colonel, find him!”
   “Yes sir....scan” the supervisor instructed his Observers “we’re looking for the Colonel.”
   The Observers scanned the village, then out over the wide expanse of sand that was the estuary, the tide being out.
   “Supervisor a taxi is heading out along the beach, heading towards the outer zone” an Observer reported.
    The supervisor ordered Orange Alert then reported to No.2.
    Out on the sand the Colonel steered the Mini- Moke away from the village to the open beach ahead. He had driven quite away, and thought to escape would be easy. And then he saw it, a white sphere ahead, and heading straight towards the moving vehicle. As the sphere approached the Colonel drove straight towards it and watched as the balloon type thing bounce off the bonnet and up over the windscreen as the Mini-Moke sped away.
    The steel doors of the control room slid open and No.2 accompanied by his assistant No.22 entered, they stood on the gantry at the hand rail.
    “What is happening?” No.2 asked.
    “It’s the Colonel, he’s escaping in one of our vehicles” the supervisor reported “the Guardian chased the vehicle, and attempted to attack the driver several times, but being in the vehicle has made that impossible. We shall have to activate the beam sir.”
    “The beam?” No.2 asked.
   “The village electronic defence system” the supervisor replied.
    No.2 simply nodded.
    “Activate the beam” was the supervisor’s instruction.
    An operative at a control panel pressed a number of buttons in sequence. The top of the flagpole lifted up and a steel rod rose up out of the flag pole then tilted at an angle.
    “Beam maximum strength” the supervisor ordered.
    The taxi was a good distance away from the village by this time, and the Colonel thought he was clean away when the white sphere gave up the chase. But suddenly the engine coughed and died, the vehicle began to slow and ground to a halt. The Colonel turned the ignition key but nothing, the beam had disrupted the electrics to the vehicle. Then he saw the white sphere come rolling and bounding along, it emitted a curious noise the sound of a bicycle pump, crossed with someone breathing through an aqua lung, mixed with Gregorian chant. It slowed as it reached the stationary vehicle, and remained on station until the burly looking guardians arrived in another Mini-Moke to take the Colonel back to the village.
    No.2 and his assistant watched the scene on the beach play out on the wall screen in his office. As the Colonel was being helped into the Mini-Moke No.2 switched off the wall screen and he smiled at No.22. “Safe enough” was all he said.

Be seeing you

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