© David Stimpson 2021
right of David Stimpson to be identified
as the author of this work has been asserted by
him in accordance with copyright, Design and
patent act 1988.
rights are reserved. No part of this publication
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The Prisoner – An exercise In Logistics’ is
published under the banner of “Fan Fiction” which means the promotion of ‘the
Prisoner’ from which no money will be earned.
“When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new
When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more
When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever;
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.”
Now we are Six – A. A. Milne
The Colonel’s office overlooked Trafalgar Square through which busy people passed on their way to and from the office, while tourists lingered to take photographs, as others sat on benches eating their lunchtime sandwiches. There was a man worse for drink messing about in one of the fountains, two policemen had to wade in and remove the man, paddling in the fountains was not permitted. And Admiral Lord Nelson stood aloof of it all on top of his column. Despite the fact that Trafalgar Square, having long since become a no-fly zone for pigeons, the occasional “rogue” pigeon still found its way through the Hawke defence system! And it was two such “illicit” pigeons that found there way onto the window sill of the Colonel’s office. The Colonel now stood at the open window, feeding the two birds seed from a small polythene bag.
The Colonel, a tall man with greying hair
and moustache, closed the window and returned to his desk where he turned his
attention once more to the top of the stack of files before him. The majority
of these which had been brought before him were due for de-classification,
deemed no longer to be top secret, most secret or confidential. He had begun to
work his way through the pile. Some had been put to one side with only a cursory
glance, others opened and a page or two read before closing them again. It was
a waste of his time and that of someone else. But his word was final, and so was
his seal of approval. Then came a grey file, BF14-XP2, the Colonel remembered
seeing this file twice before on two separate occasions, but surely this was a
mistake. As far as he was aware, and according to recent reports this group was
still active, if only just. These people carried out walks and marches through
certain areas of
once infiltrated their number, only to be discovered for what they were, and
ejected from their society, or worse. The file was quite extensive with
reports, photographs, not to mention a complete list of the names of past and
present members of this aged radical group of individuals.
The intercom bleeped impatiently, the Colonel closed the file and pressed a button.
“Yes what is it Miss Stevens?”
“The Minister is here to see you sir.”
Miss Stevens, a brunette in her mid thirties, attractive, medium height, with a trim figure, and a well turned ankle, a single woman with no inclination towards marriage.
“Very well, send him in would you, and could
you make some tea, some biscuits would be rather nice, the ones with the cream
in the middle” asked the Colonel.
“I’ll see what I can do for you sir.”
In the outer office, a tall well dressed
man in a dark suit, bowler hat, black coat and carrying a furled umbrella and
attaché case stood waiting impatiently, he had done so for some five minutes
before being announced.
“You can go in now sir, the Colonel’s ready
for you” said Miss Stevens in her cold and aloof manner.
The Minister stepped towards the door of
the Colonel’s office, then pausing, turned to Miss Stevens, who had risen from
behind her desk in order to switch on a nearby kettle.
“How do you get on with the Colonel, alright
Miss Stevens turned and gave the minister
an icy stare.
“I mean I have heard so much about you,
your efficiency and devotion to work….”
She stood staring at the man and remained
You wouldn’t fancy a change of position……”
Miss Stevens raised an eyebrow, which got
the Minister in a sweat….. “I mean a change of department. After all prospects
of promotion within the Colonel’s department must be very limited. A woman like
you would get on in say, my department.”
Miss Steven’s returned the Ministers warm
smile with a penetrating icy stare and her coldness seemed to freeze the room.
“That’s very kind of you Minister, but you
see I’ve become used to the Colonel’s ways and he to mine. I’m sure that he
would not wish to see me leave, nor I to go. What’s more, the Colonel does not
take kindly to members of his staff being ‘poached’ by another department, not even
when the General tried!”
The Minister was not a man to be put off “If
it’s a question of money…….”
Miss Steven’s switched off the boiling kettle, the steam warmed the office.
“No Minister. It’s a question of loyalty!”
The Minister stood at the door a disappointed
man “If you should change you mind…”
“I wont, the Colonel is waiting Minister”
said Miss Stevens busy warming the pot.
The Minister opened the door and entered
the Colonel’s office,
the door behind him.
the Colonel sat behind his large oak desk and a pile of files. As he crossed
the floor his shoes made a loud stamping sound upon the bare unpolished but
varnished floorboards, which he looked down
“I say, can’t your department afford
The Colonel did not stand to greet his
visitor but remained seated, he could tell that this was possibly going to be
one of “those” interviews.
“We do not waste money on such luxuries
here, this is a working department, you’re not in the House of Commons now you
know” returned the Colonel “besides my office keeps moving around, never know
where I’ll be next, security and all that.”
The Colonel’s office was indeed minimalist
to say the least, desk and two chairs, two grey filing cabinets in the corner.
Two pictures hung on the walls, one of the Battle of Trafalgar and the other a
water colour landscape of
“Now Minister please take a seat, and what
exactly can I do for you?”
The Minister did as he was bid, propping
his umbrella against the desk and placing his attaché case on the top of the
desk, upsetting the pile of files as he did so, sending them cascading to the
The Colonel ignored this, as at that moment
there came a knock at his door and Miss Stevens entered carrying a tea tray.
This she placed upon the attaché case and presumed to pour out two cups of
steaming hot tea into two china cups.
The Colonel leaned forward and stared
disapprovingly at the two digestive biscuits upon the tea plate and poking them
with his pen “Don’t we have any proper biscuits?”
Miss Stevens placed a cup and saucer in
front of the Minister, she knew what the Colonel meant but asked all the same
“proper biscuits sir?”
“Yes the ones with the cream inside” said
“Not even chocolate biscuits?” asked the
Colonel with a hopeful look on his face.
“Sorry sir” replied Miss Stevens, pouring
out the Colonel’s tea.
“Could you not have bought some this morning on your way into work?” asked the colonel, now examining the tea in front of him.
“Sorry sir, I’ll buy some tomorrow.”
“Yes do that would you, and a new tea pot,
this one’s got a cracked spout, its dribbling all over the place. Half my tea’s
in the saucer!”
“And the other over my attaché case!” added
the Minister, wiping it with his handkerchief.
Miss Stevens placed the cup and saucer before
the Colonel, having
the tea out of the saucer into the cup.
“Alright now sir?”
“Not really, but I suppose it will have to
do!” replied the Colonel, with a saddened glance.
Miss Stevens then withdrew, leaving the two
men to their business.
“I see you still keep an eye on them”
remarked the Minister, casting a glance toward the BF14-XP2 file.
“We used to, but not so much these days,
the file is apparently due for de-classification. Anyway they’re a harmless
enough society these days, I hear that in past years they have spent more time
with in fighting amongst themselves than they do in promoting what they
actually stand for. Their only real crime is their interest in a certain….”
“Let me assure you Colonel that no society
is ever harmless, they are subversive like so many societies such as these. I
believe they call themselves or did at one time, a society of individuals, and
individuals are dangerous, if nothing else they breed individualism. And yet
they are also of a mind” explained the Minister.
“They are something of an obsessive group, but
then this is a free country” the Colonel added.
“Quite, and you are about to do what?”
“Why, recommend that its de-classification
“Well I wouldn’t be so quick to do that if
I were you” said the Minister opening his attaché case.
The Minister removed a green ring binder
file from it, on the front of which was a silver embossed canopied penny farthing
together with two words THE VILLAGE. This file was placed upon the desk before
the Colonel, the Minister remaining silent, while the Colonel sipped his tea
and peered at its cover. Just to look at the canopied penny farthing was enough
to send a shiver down his spine. He had seen this file but once before, it
would in his opinion never be de-classified and with good reason.
“What are you doing with that? The Village was
closed down since the end of the 1960’s” remarked the Colonel.
“I beg to correct you Colonel. The Village
may have been evacuated in early 1968, but never closed down, merely mothballed.
I take it that you have read this particular file?”
“It passed though my department I believe.”
“And it does so again now. I strongly recommend that you read it again, and please take your time” urged the Minister.
“Now why should I want to waste my time
doing that, according to the file, The Village was evacuated, there’s no-one
there. No-one has been there in over fifty years. I’ve seen the photographs.
If, as you say The Village was mothballed,
they didn’t make a very good job. The place is in dereliction and decay.
Overgrown, and beyond any
of restoration. I shouldn’t think that The Village is important to anyone. Not
after all these years.”
The Minister quietly drank his tea, placing
his cup down upon its saucer.
“It’s important to me. As for anyone not
being there, well we simply don’t know what’s there and that is what you are
going to find out.”
dark shadow suddenly passed over the Colonel’s face.
“You see Colonel, there are certain people
who are keen to see The
restored to its former glory. To be re-instituted into the system. You see
there are certain individuals just asking to be put there, and we wouldn’t want
to disappoint them now, would we?”
“And for my part in this?’ asked the
“You are to have a survey carried out, a
survey of the entire Village. Call it an exercise in logistics. Pick your best man for the task. He
together with two of my men will be taken to the village, where they will have
three days, before extraction by helicopter.”
“Why my man and my department?” asked the Colonel.
“This is to be your operation and your man
will be in overall charge once boots have touched the ground, so to speak” the
“Why, so that you will have someone other
than yourself to blame if it all goes pear shaped? It seems a bit of a
pointless exercise to me.”
“Then my dear Colonel you cannot see very
far, there is indeed a point to all of this. And as far as The Village is
concerned, we will then see what’s what.”
The Colonel was under no illusions that the
Minister knew more about this than he was letting on, that he was also covering
his own backside, which was more often the case than not these days. He was
also fully aware that he had no alternative but to co-operate with the
Minister, like it or not.
“I want your best man on this” the Minister
said “your best man, you understand Colonel?”
“I understand. But if I am to send my man
there to The Village, I need to know……”
“Nothing, just obey your orders and carry out this operation with your usual efficiency and all will be won in the end. As for your man, I trust he will the best in his field and will carry out his orders without too many questions” returned the Minister, who then closed his attaché case and stood up collecting his umbrella said “I’ll leave the file with you, your man will be of need of it, I’m sure you wouldn’t
to send him in blind would you? None of your predecessors had any qualms over
The Village, and neither should you. I’ll be in touch, once I have organised my
two men for the team, John Hyde and Peter Grimsdyke, who are also excellent men
and highly trained in their business.”
Then crossing the room to the door, the
Minister opened it, paused and turned to the Colonel, giving a salute with
thumb and fore finger “Be seeing you” he said.
The Colonel was left with something of an
uneasy feeling, he had
in difficult and tricky situations before and had never batted an eyelid at
sending a man out into the field, whatever the dangers. But somehow this seemed
different, this was something from the dim and
past, something which was about to rear its ugly head once more. He placed his
hands upon the green Village file and opened it, thumbing through the pages
there in, filled with information, maps, photographs and schematics of all
kinds and he began to study them.
An hour had passed when the Colonel reached
out and pressed a button upon the intercom.
“Miss Stevens, get Blake on the telephone and
tell him to be here in my office a.s.a.p. And don’t take any of his lip or no
for an answer.”
“Mister Blake is on assignment sir, the
Pollock case. His last report was that he was verging on something.”
“He’s verging on something alright, but this
is important. Send a replacement and order Blake back here post haste!”
“Very well sir, but he won’t like it, he is
just one step behind Nosmitz he’s suspected of running a…… ” she began to
aware of that Miss Stevens, but something has come up which now takes
The intercom went silent. Miss Stevens picked up the receiver of the telephone and made the first of two calls, as the Colonel returned his attention to The Village file, for somewhere within its pages was the answer he was looking for, why?........