In a spacious, almost futuristic purple walled chamber a black spherical chair rises up through a hole in the floor. A Penny Farthing bicycle, and two lava lamps, the one on top of the other are the only two decorations. Sat behind a grey curved desk No.2 sat running fingers through his greying hair. Still dressed in his dark blue dressing gown, he flicked a switch on the control panel of his desk bringing the large wall screen to life.
“I wonder what’s on for today?”
The wall screen depicted the central area of the Village, people promenading in the Piazza around the pool and fountain, and taxis slowly driving round and round trying to avoid pedestrians and cyclists alike. And there, sat on a bench reading the latest edition of The Tally Ho.
The pair of steel doors opened and the diminutive butler pushed a breakfast trolley down the ramp the steel doors closing behind him as he pushed the trolley across the floor as No.2 sat watching him. He placed a silver tray upon the desk, upon the tray a single glass and a glass jug filled with milk, a gloved hand picked up the jug and frilled the glass.
The butler finished his task, looked at No.2 and said nothing.
“Keeping your thoughts well guarded eh, Can’t say as I blame you.”
The butler turned and pushed the empty breakfast trolley across the floor and up the ramp, the steel doors opening as No.12 entered the office, while No.2 picked up the glass of milk and began to drink.
“How’s the professor this morning?” No.2 asked having half drained the glass.
“The doctor is giving the professor the best bedside attention, combined with a little therapy.”
“I have a special assignment for you Number 12.”
“Really sir, what is it?”
“I want to know what is behind the village, its origin, its meaning. You are to go to the general’s office and program the computer with the basic facts about the village, then wait to see what comes out, and bring me the answer” No.2 said finishing his milk.
“Because I want to know that’s why.”
“Very well sir.”
As No.12 departed the chamber No.2 poured himself another glass of milk, and glanced nervously at the oversized, curved, red telephone.
No.12 entered the General’s office, he found the Professor busy typing up his notes for his next lecture.
“Sorry to disturb you Professor, but I have a request from No.2” No.12 handed him a sheet of paper containing the basic facts about the village.
The Professor looked at the sheet of paper and read the typed words, then he looked quizzically at 12.
“If you could program the General with those questions.”
The Professor rose from his chair, and crossed over to the coding machine into which he fed the single sheet of paper. After a few moments a long thin metal strip was produced by the coding machine, this the Professor took to the computer and fed the metal strip into a narrow slit. Switches were turned, buttons pressed, gauges and dials checked as the computer whirred into life. The computer continued to make its calculations for a few minutes, then a slip of paper appeared through another slit. The Professor tore the slip off and handed it to No.12.
“Have you an envelope Professor?”
The Professor rummaged in one of the drawers of his desk and produced a white envelope, into which No.12 placed the slip of paper, without one of then even daring to glance at the answer.
A little while later the pair of steel doors slid open and No.12 walked smartly down the ramp into the office.
“You have the answer?” No.2 asked.
No.12 said nothing, he simply handed his superior the envelope.
No.2 waited a moment, perhaps to savour the moment, or perhaps fearing what the answer would be. Having opened the envelop he read the given answer.