Fall Out - The Final
“Is it working Professor?” Number 2 asked anxiously.
The Professor was busy making calculations on his computer slate “I cannot say for certain. But if we are to be successful, we should know within the next few minutes.”
Number 2, usually a calm and calculating
man could hardly contain his anxiety. Suddenly a technician reported an
incoming signal. There was a tremendous thunder clap, blue electricity arced
between the three semi conductors, then a blinding flash of white light. Then on
the concaved centre disc, the membranic form of the Guardian, and enveloped by
the membrane the naked form of Number 6. The Guardian roared and the naked
figure of Blake was released by the protective membrane. He crouched on the
centre disc his body wrenched in pain. A doctor and medics rushed out of the
medical room to attend the body lying curled up on the disc
“Is he still alive?” Number 2 asked.
The doctor checked for pulse and heartbeat
“Yes, take him to the medical room.”
Two orderlies placed Number 6’s
unconscious body onto a stretcher and carried him across the chamber to the
medical examination room. All Number 2 could do was wait.
“Is there no second signal?” asked the Professor
looking over the technician’s right shoulder.
The technician checked his wave bands “No
sir, there is nothing coming through.”
is it, what has gone wrong?” barked Number 2.
“I do not understand it” the Professor
if the Professor didn’t, then there was no hope for Number 2.
“Where is Number Six?” Number 2 asked in
The Professor was busy checking the
calculations on his computer slate “I do not understand, he should have come
through by now!
failed. You failed. Where is Number Six?” shouted Number 2.
“You saw him, he was taken to the medical
room” the Professor told him.
don’t mean him” ranted Number 2 “I mean his nineteen sixty seven predecessor,
he is what this has all been about. Months, and months of experimentation and
“Back in The Village, or scattered in a
million atomic particles
in time” said the Professor “I will programme the General to run a diagnostic.
Strange that it worked once, but not a second time, a failed implant perhaps.
Then something dropped, it was the usual
preverbal penny “Number 6, Number 6 blast
his eyes” barked Number 2 hurrying from the Control Room.
“You’re in remarkable condition Number Six,
when you consider the ordeal you have been put through” the doctor informed him
taking off the grey blood pressure sleeve “blood pressure up a little but that
is understandable, pulse rate and heart rates returning to normal. Excellent Number
6, just take it easy and rest for a while and you’ll be fine.”
“I’m absolutely fit, you might say” said Number
6 slipping on his burgundy turtle necked jersey.
“Remarkably so” the doctor told him.
“That’s good to hear doctor, but he won’t
be not by the time I’m finished with him!” Number 2 said bursting into the room
“how did you find The Village?” Number 2 growled with anger.
Number 6 finished dressing “Much the same. But then you should know!”
“That’s the trouble Number Six…… I don’t
know, but I am keen to learn!” retorted Number 2 who was not in the mood to be fobbed
off with sarcastic remarks.
“Number Six needs to rest” the doctor said.
“He can have all the rest he needs later.
For the moment I have many questions that demand answers. So if you wouldn’t
mind doctor, Number Six and I have much to discuss.”
The doctor relented, but gave Number 2 just
five minutes with his patient.
“Well what went wrong back there in The
Village?” Number 2 asked regaining his composure.
“Did something go wrong?” Number 6 asked lying
back on the couch.
you know that it did? Thanks to you all this has been all for nothing.”
“All I know is I woke up in Number Ten’s
bed, gave her quite a shock I did, the poor woman.”
“What has Number Ten got to do with any of
“A young woman and not unattractive, it’s
her bed I found myself lying on. The Professor’s calculations must have been a
“I must remember to pass that information
on to the Professor the next time I see him” Number 2 said.
“She screamed the house down when she saw
me lying naked on her bed, then security turned up, and I was accused of being
a vile seducer!”
“Well I eventually met with Number
Two, his assistant Number Twelve treated me with scepticism. I gave Number Two
the recognition word Enigma and that changed his attitude towards me.”
“And Number Six?”
“A more stubborn fellow I have yet to meet,
and so suspicious. Number Two allowed me to see Number Six alone in his
cottage, he thought me to be Number Two’s stooge. He thought it was one of his games
and he wouldn’t go for it.”
“A Professor had a crude, crude wasn’t the
word for it, Time-Reflux Actuator constructed. Number Two had an Enigma file,
the plans and instructions for the machine must have been in that. Remarkable
really, given the period of time, that and the fact none of the scientists and
technicians knew a great deal of what they were doing. Number Six was sedated in
order to keep him calm. The implant was implanted. I was the first to be sent
back to The Village, their Number Six was to follow.”
“Something went wrong, he never arrived!”
Number 2 told him.
“That’s not my fault, I cannot be held
The doctor entered the medical room.
“Then who is to blame? My opposite number back
in The Village I suppose!”
“If the cap fits wear it” Number 6 told him
“all I know is I wasn’t there!”
“You were there, you should know”
Number Two said accusingly.
“That’s the point, I don’t know I was
there, I might have been here all the time!”
“It’s alright for you. I’m the one who will
have to pay for this failure.”
“Let me remind you that we had a deal.”
“The deal is off, you failed......we
“Somehow I thought it might be. I suppose
as Number Six recently returned from The Village, you wouldn’t settle for me!”
Number 2 laughed “You’ll be the death of
“Oh I do hope so” retorted Number 6.
The powerboat was waiting at the jetty. It
was broad daylight as Numbers 2 and 6 emerged through the steel door out onto
the island. A refreshing breeze met them as they made their way along the path
to the jetty to climb aboard the boat. The crewman cast off the bow and stern
lines, the helmsman revved the twin diesel engines, and moments after pulling
away from the jetty the powerboat was cutting her way through the waves across
the estuary back towards The Village.
Number 6 stood at the side railing
“invigorating isn’t it?” he shouted.
Number 2 remained silent.
“The wind in your hair, the spray on your
face” Number 6 shouted “I used to wonder what went on over on the island.”
“Well now you know” Number 2 said “and to
think, you were the first subject to arrive back from The Village, both
physically and mentally unimpaired!”
“You took a risk!”
“But a calculated one I assure you.”
The powerboat arrived at the slipway where a
taxi was waiting. Number 6 did not wait for the mooring lines to be tied but
jumped off, followed by Number 2 who headed towards the taxi.
“Can I give you a lift?”
“I think I’ll walk.”
“I asked if I could give you a lift?” giving
Number 6 no choice in the matter.
Number 6 climbed into the back of the taxi.
The taxi reversed round and then made its
way round by the Old People’s Home and up the hill into The Village. As the driver
followed the road passed the Town Hall, Number 6 gazed out from beneath the
candy striped canopy.
“Hasn’t changed much since, The Village is
just the same now as it was back then. Even the citizens look and dress
identically. If I were here, but you told me that I was in The Village in
I would have to believe you, the only difference is the Mini-Mokes now are all
electric!” Number 6 said with a wry smile.
The taxi came to a halt at the foot
of the steps to the Green Dome.
alighted the vehicle and made their way up the steps and the taxi drove off.
The pair of steel doors opened the Supervisor-Number 56 rose from the black
globe chair, having just finished his breakfast
“I see you made yourself at home in my
absence” Number 2 said walking down the ramp, “the least you can do is offer Number
Six and I a cup of tea.”
“Simply standing in as an interim Number
are all interim Two’s, otherwise one
of us would be permanent! As it is, you can consider yourself relieved,” said
Number 2 taking his rightful place behind his desk “how have things been since
I was away?”
“Strangely quiet” the Supervisor reported
adding “I take it congratulations are in order.”
“They are not! We have reached a crisis”
Number 2 informed the Supervisor.
“I thought you had reached that before you
left for the island” the Supervisor replied.
“We did. This is another crisis! Our friend
here Number Six, failed in his mission” Number 2 said helping himself to tea.
“Failed, how do you make that out!?” Number
6 said and adding “I returned back to The Village didn’t I?”
“But to what advantage?” sneered Number 2
taking to his chair.
“The fact that my opposite number failed to emerge through the Time-Reflux is not
down to me. Don’t try and blame me for something I was not in control of!” Number
6 told him helping himself to tea, but finding the pot empty.
“There is a way to retrieve the situation”
Number 6 suggested.
is it possible to retrieve the situation?”
“My number is Six, and I have just
returned from The Village.”
“And to think that I’ve survived” Number 6
said “and for what?”
The pair of steel doors opened and the
Supervisor walked down the ramp, the steel doors closing behind him as he
walked up to Number 6.
“What do you want?” Number 2 asked.
The Supervisor ignored his superior “Congratulations,
what do you want?” he asked of Number 6.
6 thought for a moment “Number One.”
“I’ll take you” the Supervisor offered
stepping on a circular disc in the floor.
“Wh…… just a minute. What’s the meaning of
this?” asked Number 2 dropping his cup and saucer.
“Join us” the Supervisor offered “there is
the question of an administrative crisis to answer, and it is only right and
proper that you to be there in order to help bring the matter to a satisfactory
“You think that he can bring harmony and order to where there is chaos?” Number 2
asked, stepping forward onto the disc.
“Aren’t harmony and chaos two sides of the
same coin?” Number 6 said.
In a body the three men standing on the
dais descended through the floor, coming to a stop at the end of a long corridor.
Stepping off the dais, a moving floor took the trio along the corridor to a
steel door. The Supervisor tapped an access code into the keypad next the door,
the steel door sliding open. Ahead of them a long passageway carved out of
solid rock stretched before them, behind them the steel door slammed shut. The
trio began to walk along the dimly lit rock lined passage to the theme of ‘Star
Wars.’ On the right were a series of alcoves, each one in turn occupied by a
large video screen, each one depicting film footage of burnt out tanks, cruise
missiles launched from a battleship, the launching of a rocket, of children
playing, a combine harvester cutting a field of wheat. At the end of the
passage was an old wooden door.
“It might surprise you to learn that I’ve
been here before” Number 6 whispered in Number 2’s ear “and I bet it will soon
be time for you to decide whose side you are on.”
“You have been here before, impossible!”
Supervisor produced a key, inserting it into the lock he turned it and opened
the door and
the Supervisor lead the way through into the chamber beyond. The door closing
behind them, the neon sign read......
Number 6 had an idea of what to expect as stepped
through the open door but not into a cavern, instead a large chamber fitted with
oak panelled walls, a decorated vaulted ceiling and green leather upholstered
benches. Upon these benches sat the white robed figures of the assembled delegates,
each wearing a theatrical face mask.
The Supervisor collected his mask and white
robe, and pair of white gloves, and once properly dressed took his place on one
of the back benches. These then are the faceless petty bureaucrats who are
supposed to govern us so wisely. Each delegate being a representative of every
aspect of society within The Village. The leader of the chamber stood up and
taking to the rostrum began to address the assembly.
“We have been called together here today,
in order to resolve the matter of an administrative crisis. Hence forth we will
all be taking part in what will become known as the Great Debate. We have the
power to bring about a resolution to the question of an administrative crisis.
To bring peace and harmony where there is chaos. Revolution must be nipped in
the bud, and if necessary we have the force to implement humanisation. This
session is now in security.”
Number 6 stood beside Number 2 taking in
the surroundings. They were joined by two armed security guards. In fact there
were a number of armed “snowdrops” posted about the chamber. There was the
empty Speaker’s Chair, a large solid oak chair with dark green upholstery. Set
in the ceiling was a large circular disc. Suspended from this, a steel sphere
of an all seeing electronic eye, that could orbit the entire chamber allowing
whoever was watching to observe the proceedings.
Six is brought before you” the Supervisor announced.
“I understand” said the leader of the
chamber “that he has been brought back to us.”
“He has indeed” said the delegate
“Then he is no longer to be referred to as
Number Six, he is a person, individual, he is one of a kind.” said the leader
of the chamber “we would be honoured if you would take the Speaker’s Chair in
order for you to oversee the proceedings.”
thought the offer over for a moment, and it was no longer than two moments
before he crossed the chamber to take his place in the Speaker’s Chair, which
was mounted on a raised platform.
“Mister Speaker we are obliged to you.”
Blake just sat smiling quietly to himself.
A robed delegate rose to his feet from the
benches. He held up a photograph in his white gloved hand “The man sitting in
the Speaker’s Chair is not who he pretends to be. He is not Number Six, because
he is not the man pictured in this photograph!”
This sudden outburst of protest brought
about murmurings amongst
the rest of the delegates.
“Ask him” another delegate called out.
“You see” said the leader of the
Chamber “already there is doubt, suspicions,
if we are to bring these proceedings to a satisfactory conclusion we cannot
allow doubt and suspicion.”
“Ask him, go on” shouted a voice from
a back bench.
“Mr Speaker you have heard the accusation
laid against you, what say you to this?” the leader of the Chamber asked
The Speaker thought for a moment and said
“Mister Speaker if you would indulge the Assembly,
I am sure we can bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Were you, or
were you not once the Prisoner known as Number Six?”
The Speaker sat thinking he looked at the delegates
as they waited for his response
“That is the number I was issued with soon
after my arrival here amongst you. Ask Number 2 he knows who I am.”
The leader of the chamber, and the heads of
the delegates, turned to look upon the man standing under guard at the other side
of the chamber.
“Is that correct, that this man is the
former prisoner known as Number Six?”
Number 2 thought for a moment “He is.
There is another amongst you who can also verify that.”
The leader of the chamber turned to face the
delegate in question “Is that correct?”
The delegate rose to his feet “That is
correct” and sat down again.
“But he is not the man in the photograph”
protested the disgruntled delegate.
This brought further mutterings and murmurings
from his fellow delegates.
“Perhaps it is the photograph which is
wrong. Where did you get it?” the Speaker asked.
The back bench delegate rose up to address
the assembly “I have in my procession a file, this in connection to a recent
project, which was carried out in secrecy, ‘Time Reflux,’ where upon Number Two,
who is in the chamber with us now, was assigned to return Number Six back to The
Village from the year nineteen sixty-seven.”
This brought about much jeering from the
delegates, forcing the Speaker to pick up his gavel and bring it down sharply
with a loud report, thus bringing instant silence to the Chamber. The delegates
turned to the speaker, as did the leader of the house.
“Again we are obliged to you Mr Speaker. If
the delegate would continue” said the leader of the Chamber.
“This man it was said to be, and I quote”
said the delegate reading from the afore mentioned file “magnificently equipped
to lead us, a man who has revolted, resisted, fought, held fast, maintained and
destroyed resistance, overcome coercion, the right to be person, someone or
This statement once again brought about
much jeering from the delegates, and the Speaker once again brought down his
gavel loudly and swiftly bringing instant silence to the Chamber.
we need to know is, is the Speaker of this Chamber this man or not? The
photograph I hold would suggest not.”
Again jeering by the delegates forced the Speaker
to bring the assembly to order, by the repeated banging of his gavel and
shouting “Order, order, order!”
Order was once again brought to the
“Mister Speaker we are once more obliged”
said the leader of the Chamber waving Number 2 forward with a gesture of his
The two armed security guards held Number 2
under restraint and brought him before the assembly.
“How dare you, I am Number Two release me
The security guards having carried out
their charge released their hold upon the man known as Number 2, retaking their
positions within the chamber.
“A question has arisen regarding the
identification of the Speaker and the proceedings of this Assembly. It would
seem, we cannot proceed without the confirmation of the Speaker’s Identity. Is
the man sitting in the Speaker’s Chair, the man previously known as Number Six,
the man who was brought back to The Village from nineteen sixty-seven?”
Number 2 stood tall facing the delegates of
the Assembly, then turned his eyes upon the Speaker of the Chamber “I can honestly
inform the delegates of the Assembly with hand on heart, that the man sitting
in the Speaker’s Chair is the former Number Six, who was successfully brought
back to The Village from the year nineteen sixty seven.”
“We are obliged to you Number Two”
said the Leader of the House.
“And yet he is not the man in the
photograph!” said the delegate.
This brought about jeering and booing
from the delegates as they rose in a body from the benches, shouting and protesting,
waving their arms in the air in such an unruly manner.
“Order, order, order, there will be order
in the chamber” shouted the Speaker rising to his feet “Delegates of the Assembly.
What is this unruliness? Is this the normal practised behaviour, is this the
working face of democracy? Why you’re behaving like over grown school boys of a
Another delegate rose from the back
bench “I think that Number Two attempts
to hoodwink this Assembly. I also think him to be both a liar and a traitor!”
“I resent that. I am Number Two Chairman of
The Village, and in so being, I am entitled to a certain measure of respect.
After all it is not I who is on trial
here! It would do well for you to remember that fact.”
This brought about much jeering from the
delegates as they rose to their feet once again waving their arms in the air.
“Who then is on trial here?” asked the Speaker.
leader of the chamber took to his feet and addressed the assembly “We are all on trial Mister Speaker, although some
more than others. And yet, it is true to say of Number Two, that his loyalty is
“In that case” shouted Number 2 from the
floor “I resign!” and he tore his badge from the lapel of his blazer and let it
fall to the floor “at
I shall be free of the influence of The Village and you will beguile
This action of Number 2’s resignation brought
uproar to the chamber, as delegates shouted, waving their arms, turning this
way and that in confusion and outrage.
“Order, order, order” shouted the Speaker
banging his gavel, but this time it took several minutes for him to bring order
to the surrounding chaos.
“Mister Speaker” shouted the ex-Number 2
from the floor, the delegates finally having been brought to order “I crave the
Chamber’s indulgence, so that I may address the Assembly before it is too
“Too late, too late for whom?” the speaker
“Too late for me” said the ex-Number 2 his
hand upon his breast, almost upon his knees.
This brought laughter from the delegates to
see such a man, once
high office grovel in such a way.
“Order” shouted the Speaker.
“It is not correct protocol for an ….. ex-Number
Two to address the Assembly” said the leader of the chamber.
“He may have something valuable to
contribute to these proceedings” the Speaker suggested.
“I fear there will be little to be gained
by doing so” said the leader of the chamber “however perhaps to allow him to
plead his case, might help expedite these proceedings, and help bring them to a
satisfactory conclusion….unless it is the plan of this ex Number Two to delay
“We are a democratic community, this man is still
a member of this community, and therefore has the democratic right to voice the
things he has to say. He has the right to be heard, what’s more we must listen!”
the Speaker told the Assembly.
The ex-Number 2 stepped forward taking the
rostrum “Mr speaker, your Honour, delegates of the Assembly. Since the time of
my abduction and subsequent arrival in The Village, I was able to work in
administration and make my way up to the position second only to One. Contrary
to the belief of some members of the Assembly my loyalty has been
unquestionable, and I have been unstinting in my duty,
my loyalty is unquestionable. My last assignment concerned the gentleman who
sits in the Speaker’s Chair. I was given charge to bring Number Six back to The
Village from a past time, in this I succeeded, and that man now sits before
That statement brought about a unanimous applause
from the delegates. Any doubts the delegates might have had were instantly
Number 2 continued “You issued doubts about
my loyalty. Accused me of trying to hoodwink this assembly, I find that
deplorable, disrespectful, and is no way to repay me for my loyalty. However…
what I find truly lamentable, is the fact that I allowed myself to be turned in
the first place. But in coming to my senses in regaining my own mind, I will be
mesmerized by you no longer!”
This brought the whole of the delegation to
its feet with shouts and jeers of disapproval, the waving of arms and stamping
of feet. The Speaker banged his gavel and shouted “Order, order, order this Assembly
will come to order” this in surprise to himself at how easily he had taken to
the role. “Was this then his final part to play, to bring order to where there
The leader of the Chamber indicated for two
security guards to come forward “Such a display of unmitigated defiance cannot
be tolerated. Mister Speaker, what would you have done with him?”
The Speaker thought for a moment “Hold this
ex-Number Two in security.”
The ex-Number 2 was taken by the arms and
led from the chamber to a place of security.
The leader of the Chamber then turned
his attention upon the Speaker “There is one discrepancy, you are not the man
in the photograph held by my right honourable friend. How do you account for
“You were back there in The Village in
far as I could tell!”
“As far as you could tell! You were unsure?”
“I couldn’t be sure of anything at the
time. The Village being much the same then, as it is today. I thought it a plan
of Number Two’s, an
to disorientate me. I began to doubt not where
I was, but when” the Speaker said.
“But you survived the ultimate test?”
“Is that what it was?”
“In your time” said the leader of the
Chamber “here you have revolted, resisted, refused to wear or respond to your
number, stood steadfast against coercion. Admittedly you have been of service
at times, yet on the whole you have resisted our techniques. But on the whole
you have refused to accept the Village. And yet you are the man to bring order
to where there is chaos which threatens our community.”
“You think so?”
“I don’t have anything to say.”
“I’m disappointed in you that you don’t
have a message for us.”
“Oh I got the message alright.”
“We are the collective, you are an
“I’m an individual?”
“An individual not of the collective,
that makes you the perfect person to say the things which need to be said.”
“I’m an individual.”
“Not the Court Jester?”
“Address us, speak to us, show us the error
of our ways, only you can speak the truth” offered the leader of the Chamber.
The Speaker thought and considered for a
moment, then slowly rose to his feet “I began a journey, a journey which has
brought me before you all here today. Loyalties have been questioned, the fact
that I am not the man you were told to expect….. is quite frankly neither here
nor there. The fact of the matter is I am
There came mutterings from the delegates.
“In the past I met with the man you had in
mind. He and I share the same number, he is my predecessor and I his successor.
We are the same but in different times. He was prepared to be with you here
today, and yet it would seem he was not up to the journey. Not having enough
faith to take that final leap. And yet here I
am and he is not, and all the time in the world will not change that fact.”
“You could have escaped, he could have
escaped” said the leader of the house.
“Escape……. Escape to where, back to The
Village? We are all prisoners of one
sort or another, of the mind, of the body, of life, bureaucracy and red tape,
of love, of ourselves. Drugs, alcohol, poverty, murder and mayhem, of The
Village!” Blake offered.
This speech brought chaos to the chamber
as the delegates
to listen they shouted, stamped their feet and jeered.
The speaker banged his gavel, bringing the
delegates to order, and recommenced his speech “I feel that since my……….”
The delegates refused to listen.
Blake persisted “I feel that since my
And the delegates jeered all the more.
The Speaker brought down his gavel, and stood
staring at the delegates who stared back him in absolute silence.
“I will be heard and you will listen. I
have the democratic right as an individual to be heard.”
There came yet more jeering from the
The Speaker banged his gavel “They say what
goes around comes around, and today I have found that to be true. Ignore me if
you will, dismiss me as you please, but at your peril, and the peril of the
The delegates sat in eerie silence.
“Today Village history is repeating itself
because once again you have reached a crisis. The last time when such a crises
was reached, The Village authorities failed to act appropriately. They offered
ultimate power to an individual who cared nothing for you or your community. Are
you about to make that same mistake? You will, if you do not recognise the
mistakes of the past, mistakes which are about to revisit you today!”
The delegates remained silent. He pressed
on, making it all up as he went along, for him there was only one objective to
“The Village must learn to adapt. Reforms
must be brought about, because if The Village does not change it will remain
the same, stuck in a vicious circle that must be broken so that the Village may
progress. To make a better Village, and a better tomorrow!”
This brought about further favourable murmurings,
and nods of agreement from the delegates.
“But do you, any of you, have the stomach
for reforms in order to make a better Village? Do you have the backbone to see
reforms implemented? I feel that the mistakes of the past should not revisit
the future, and the only thing which stands between The Village and success is
The cheers of the delegates filled the
The Speaker retook his chair.
pretty speech indeed Mister Speaker, but to borrow one of Number Two’s sayings.
Fine words butter no parsnips. Mister Speaker, are you prepared to back your words
“What price Number One?”
take it you would be prepared to meet Number One?” asked the leader of the Chamber.
That instant the Speaker’s Chair descended
through the floor of the chamber down into the darkness below. Silas Blake was
about to step out of the chair when it moved forward along the corridor, a
corridor lined with Storm Troopers wearing white all over body armour armed
with semi-automatic machine guns, and assault rifles. At the far end of
the corridor was a solid steel door, the chair stopped. Blake stepped out of
the chair, the steel door slid open, the two nearest storm troopers turned
their helmeted heads towards him as though to see what he was waiting for. Blake
stepped through the open doorway into the room beyond. A figure in a white robe
stood waiting. His head bowed as though in solemn greeting, or deep meditation.
Pinned to the robe was a round black badge, upon it the canopied Penny
design, and the white numeral 1. Blake stepped forward, the
figure raised his head and from within the depths of the cowl, the face of an
old man stared back at him. With white gloved hands Number 1 pulled back the
cowl, and despite the passage of time, there was no mistaking the identity of
this man. He sported a white beard and white hair, he wore tortoiseshell rimmed
spectacles, his face thin and wrinkled, but the high forehead, and those light
blue fearless eyes were unmistakable.
“Hello Number Six, nice to be seeing you again
after all these years!” Number 1 said in a deep and gravelled voice.
The room in which Number 1 lived was a
large elaborately decorated study. Paintings of sailing ships hung from the
walls, and bookshelves covered two walls. There were two matching winged armchairs
either side of the fireplace. A large oak desk was littered with open files and
papers. There was a red over-sized red curved telephone, along with a picture
of a young woman in a silver frame and the inscription “With all my love Janet”.
Three plaster busts set upon white plinths, Napoleon Bonaparte, Karl Marx, Leon
Trotsky, and another whom Blake didn’t recognise, but the bust sported a goatee
beard. On a side table were maps and charts, and a large globe of the world.
“I’m surprised. So you decided against
going back to The Village” Blake said.
“And yet here I am.”
“So it would seem.”
have suffered decades of torment waiting for you in this vicious circle of
“Sounds like self-infliction if you ask me,
or perhaps you have a persecution complex!” Blake suggested “when all this
could so easily have been avoided.”
“Perhaps, oh you mean if I’d told them why
I resigned. But I did, only Number Two wasn’t listening at the time, but then
he expected there to be more to it than that.”
“But you are Number One!”
A concealed door in the wall opened and
through it stepped a diminutive butler, bald-headed, immaculately dressed in
black tails, white shirt and black bow tie and black gloves, he must have been in
his 90’s. He carried a sliver platter upon which were two glasses filled with a
golden liquid, and offered the first to the guest, the other to his master.
Blake took the offered glass.
“Forty-five percent single malt whisky” Number
1 told him and took a drink.
“Cheers” Blake said taking a drink.
“The ever faithful, ever loyal old retainer
even at his ripe old age, cheers.”
“Looks like history is about to repeat
itself once more, wouldn’t you say?” Number 1 asked.
“Indeed I would, however this time it ends
finally once and for all.”
Number 1 joined Blake in his toast,
draining their glasses and smashing them into the fireplace in true Russian
“We will need weapons and ammunition” Number
Seeing as how Blake was the fittest
of the three, he was the obvious choice. He crossed the study to the steel door,
which automatically slid open for him. Outside in the corridor, he approached the
first of the storm troopers who had turned his head in the direction having
heard the opening and closing steel door. Blake was quickest to react over
powering the storm trooper taking both his Uzi 9mm and two spare ammunition
clips from his belt. He opened fire as the other storm troopers rushed towards
him, the second of whom fell to the floor hit by the bullets from Blake’s Uzi. He
rushed forward, stooped down to retrieve the AK 47 assault rifle and ammunition
belt of the dead storm trooper. He retreated back along the corridor under a
hail of bullets and diving back into the room through the open steel door as it
closed solidly behind him, shutting the storm troopers out, and himself, Number
1, and the butler inside the room. Blake handed the assault rifle to Number 1,
along with two spare ammunition clips.
how do we get out of here?” Blake asked.
The butler calmly walked over to the far
wall, kicked a piece of the skirting board, which operated the mechanism of a
“Shall we?” asked Number 1 locking and
loading the assault rifle.
The steel door opened, two Storm Troopers
burst into the study firing their Uzi and assault rifles. Blake dived for cover
behind the oak desk. Number 1 was already firing from behind an armchair. The butler
disappeared through the concealed door which closed behind him as a hail of
bullets tore into the plaster work. Bullets flew tearing into the oak desk
sending splinters of wood into the air, tearing into the chairs, the walls,
paintings and books sending paper into the air like confetti. Blake returned
fire. Number 1 changed a clip reloading his weapon, returning fire, then ducked
down behind the armchair again as a storm trooper blazed away with his Uzi, bullets
ripping into the fabric of the chair. There would have been a sudden lull in
the action as the two storm troopers reloaded their weapons had not further
storm troopers appeared on the scene. Blake and Number 1 were caught like rats
in a trap and the game was definitely up, that is until the concealed door
suddenly opened and framed in the doorway
the diminutive figure of the butler armed with a Ingram 9mm machine gun. He
opened fire at the storm troopers and under covering fire Number 1 emerged from
behind the armchair and disappeared through the open doorway. Blake saw this,
and moments later he followed in Number 1’s wake, the butler stopped firing and
taking a step backwards the door closed just as more storm troopers burst into
the study. Blake shot out the door’s locking mechanism effectively sealing the
door as storm troopers hammered on the other side trying to break through.
The three confederates made their way along
a dimly lit passageway with Number 1 taking the lead with his ever faithful old
retainer close behind, leaving Blake as rear guard. The tunnel was damp and
cold, in places the walls were covered with brown staining caused by water
constantly trickling down the walls forming pools on the floor.
“Where the hell are we?” Blake asked.
“Under the estuary” said Number 1 “I would
estimate about half way between The Village and the Island.”
“It’s the only place to go” Number 1 told
him “the storm troopers will be at our backs soon enough.”
“Well this is no place to get caught in a
fire fight!” Blake told him.
“Quite” retorted Number 1.
They went on.
The day time Supervisor-Number 28 in the
Control Room, having been appraised of the situation by the lead storm trooper,
took the decision of putting the installation on the island on yellow alert. The
Observers were given the task of finding the three desperados.
“Supervisor” an Observer shouted
“I’ve found Number Six, he’s in the tunnel leading across to the Island.”
“Good” replied the Supervisor about
to pick up a telephone.
“Has an old man, and a midget with
him” reported the Observer.
“On screen….. open the water inlet
valves, flood the tunnel” ordered the Supervisor.
The steel doors of the Control Room opened,
and the white robed figure of the Supervisor Number 56 rushed in and from the
gantry shouted to the Supervisor below “On whose orders do you give that
instruction? What are you doing here, and why are you dressed like that?” the
Supervisor-Number 28 asked.
I was left as interim Number Two” Number 56 barked out “my predecessor has
resigned” said Number 56, descending the steps down onto the Control Room floor
‘you are relieved from your duties. I am assuming control until otherwise
“On whose authority?” asked the night time Supervisor.
“My own authority” 56 told him “now close
those valves. Don’t you realise that’s Number One?”
“But you don’t understand there has been a
fire fight instigated by Number
Six, now he’s getting away” the Supervisor reported.
Number 56 looked up at the escaping trio on
the wall screen “Getting away to where…the Island, there’s no escape from
there, Now close
those valves as instructed. If you want me I will be in the Green Dome.”
The water had stopped. Number 1, the butler,
and Blake having reached
the end of the tunnel stood before a steel door. Behind them the marching feet
of the pursuing storm troopers echoed along the tunnel behind them as they
splashed through the water. The three confederates checked their weapons and ammunition.
The door slid open, a security guard turned and was abruptly hit in the face
with the butt of a gun. They made their way along a rocky passage way at the
end was yet another steel door, it slid open and slowly the confederates passed
through into a vast open chamber in the centre of which was the Time
Reflux-Actuator. Each looked for the nearest cover. On the far side was the
Control Room and General’s office set upon the gantry. Between him and it, open
ground, and several armed security guards, one of whom spotted the white robed
figure of Number 1 couching by an electrics truck. The alarm was sounded, then the
armed guard opened fire. Number 1 returned fire as did other guards, with the butler
and Blake not slow in the attack as a vicious fire fight took place causing white
robed figures and technicians to dive for cover.
Under covering fire Blake moved forward but
was forced to dive into the medical room, where he found the doctor and nurse
attending to a patient…..the ex-Number 2.
“Number Six my dear fellow, how delightful
to see you again my boy, and so unexpected” said the ex Number 2 rising up on
the couch upon his elbows.
“If you wouldn’t mind putting that syringe
down doctor” Blake said brandishing his Uzi.
Number 2 jumped off the couch “Are you
“No, I come with friends. We’ll need a way
off the island. We need the powerboat!” Blake told him.
The ex-Number 2 checked his watch “Too
late, the tide will be out. We’re high and dry!”
This was not good news to Blake’s ears. The
powerboat would have been the fastest way from the island. In the chamber the
fire fight raged on as the storm troopers arrived.
“How many of you?” the ex-Number 2
“Now we are four” the ex-Number 2
The bullets were flying ricocheting,
tearing into the walls, smashing the glass windows of the medical room. The
ex-Number 2 soon found himself a weapon as he and Blake joined in the fight and
a number of security guards lay dead in pools of blood, only the body armoured
Storm Troopers were holding out against the rebels who fired indiscriminately at
anyone who fell into their field of fire. The four confederates fought their
way across the chamber floor, it was Blake who reached the steps leading up to
the gantry and the Control Room.
Word soon spread to the chamber, the
delegates therein became agitated at the news of the rebellion. Neither the
interim Number 2 in the Green Dome, nor the Supervisor and Control Room could
do anything more than wait for the storm
troopers to restore order again.
Blake reached the gantry and giving
covering fire Number 1 with the butler close on his heels made a dash for the
steel steps. From there they gave fire as the storm troopers advanced. Number
1, the butler and the ex-Number 2 made their way up the steps, bullets
ricocheting off the steel framework. Below the chamber floor was covered in the
scattered bodies of the dead, while the doctor and nurse attended to the
wounded. Having reached the gantry all four gave fire at the approaching storm
troopers. Blake could see the final refuge was inside the Control Room, he
kicked the door in and motioned his confederates to follow.
“Keep away” shrieked the Professor
cowering in a corner.
“Please remain where you are Professor”
Blake told him
“Why are you doing this…. destroying my
work?” growled the Professor.
Blake busied himself looking at the control
panels “We need you to operate the reactor controls if you would Professor.”
“Leave it to me” Number 1 said “I was
always good at old fashioned sabotage work!”
Still on the gantry the butler and
ex-Number 2 were busy keeping the storm troopers at bay but it was only a
question of time before they would be overwhelmed as ammunition was running
Number 1 put down his assault rifle
and studied the controls to the reactor and pushed four control leavers forward
which indicated a rise of green on the indicator panel. The leavers were pushed
further taking the indicator into the amber section of the panel, water intake valves
were also closed, and the cooling system shut down.
“What are you doing? You will cause a steam
explosion, or the reactor will go into meltdown, you cannot do this, I will not
The Professor looked at the assault rifle lying
on a table; quickly he got to his feet
and made a grab for the weapon. Blake quickly snatched it up.
Number 1 looked at the Professor, then at
Blake, he pushed on the four leavers, the indicator panel was now in the red,
an automatic siren sounded the alarm. Outside the Control Room the fire fight
continued as the storm troopers advanced towards the steel staircase. The
ex-Number 2 staggered into the Control Room.
“It’s all up!” was all he said and
fell to the floor...dead.
The butler standing at the open
doorway stepped over the dead body of the now late Number 2 and returned fire
until his last magazine was empty.
The indicator panel on the control
board was now deep into the red.
“Five minutes to manual override” an
automatic female voice announced “the minutes are five to manual override.”
“Did you have an escape plan?” Number 1
Blake took off his piped blazer drapping it over the body of a dead confederate
“Of a sort, the powerboat, but the
tide’s put paid to that.”
“We are high and dry then” Number 1
“We could always phone for a taxi,
but I expect they’re busy” Blake said.
“I expect The Village is being evacuated as
we speak” Number 1 replied.
From somewhere an automatic klaxon began to
blare out over The Village.
“Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,
evacuate” the order boomed out over the public address system.
At hearing this, citizens came rushing out
of their cottages running in all directions. Taxis raced this way and that, their
sirens blaring out to warn people of its approach. As other citizens rode their
canopied bicycles as fast as they could. In the Assembly Chamber the delegates
flew into a blind panic as they rushed to evacuate the chamber, running in
their white robes along the corridor, the leader of the chamber trampled to
death under foot. The Alouette helicopter took off from the triangular lawn by
the sea wall. Another took off close to the Recreation Hall, another from the
field next to the hospital.
Helicopters took off from all corners of The Village. In a nearby field two
taxis sped towards a waiting Chinook helicopter, it’s twin rotors turning, the
back ramp down as the two taxis ran up and inside the helicopter, as it then
lifted off the ground. Three Gazelle helicopters lifted off from the back of
the Green Dome. Residents and staff of the Old People’s Home went down to the
quayside and from there along the beach away from The Village.
The situation was a desperate one, there
seemed no way out.....
“What’s that?” Number 1 asked
pointing to the far wall.
“What’s what?” Blake returned.
“Over there, it’s a door isn’t it?”
“What’s that door Professor?” Blake
“It’s for emergencies.”
“This is a sort of emergency isn’t it” Number
“Indeed it is, where does that door
lead?” Blake asked sensing there was a chance.
“To a staircase” the Professor replied.
“Which leads where?”
“Up and out onto the Island.”
There was no door leaver, so Blake and the
butler put their shoulders to the door which burst open on the third attempt.
Blake lead the way up the stairs followed by The Professor, Number 1, and the butler
bringing up the rear as the storm troopers stormed into the control
room. There was a steel door at the top of the stairs, it slid open and Blake
and the four of them stepped out onto the Island.
“What now?” Number 1 asked, settling
himself down on a rock.
Blake scanned all around “If we get
away from here it will be a miracle!”
It was at this point there came the
rhythmic thumping sound of a Huey helicopter flying away from The Village and
across the estuary. Blake waved his arms trying to attract the pilot’s
attention, quickly joined in by the butler and Number 1, the pilot saw the
figures waving frantically. A crewman told the evacuees aboard the helicopter
to make room as it turned and hovered above the ground. Blake helped Number 1
aboard, then the Professor, and the butler before he himself scrambled aboard.
The pilot turned the helicopter away from the Island and made swift their
“My god, you move fast” Blake said.
The pilot turned his head to look at
“Fredrickson!” Blake exclaimed.
“Always happy to be of service!”
There was no blinding white light, no
radioactive cloud rising up in the sky like a mushroom. No hellish flame or searing heat. There was
an explosion of the reactor, but both it and radioactive fallout were contained
within the hill.
As for The Village...it was left abandoned.
Eventually nature would reclaim it for her own, to become overgrown with dense
undergrowth, the streets unrecognisable, buildings quickly falling into decay as
walls crumble and roofs fall in, with windows staring out like eyeless sockets.
Perhaps one day a Prince Charming would come and awaken it once more.
BE SEEING YOU