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Wednesday 31 August 2022


     With the early success of ‘The Prisoner Variations,’ and the later one with ‘The Prisoner – Dusted Down,’ ‘A New Arrival, and ‘An Exercise In Logistics’ the author now brings you ‘The Prisoner – A New No.2’.

   All good stories begin with the words “Once Upon A time.” No.2 lies dead on the floor of the cage in the embryo room. No.6 has vanquished his opponent having survived the ultimate test. And yet there is no joy in his victory as it has cost the death of a man. No.2 was a good man, but now in No.6 they have someone who will be better.

   ‘A New No.2’ works on the principle that ‘Once Upon A Time’ could have been the cliff-hanger to a 13 part first series of the Prisoner, in this I have been able to avoid the trial of ‘Fall Out’ and take the Prisoner in an altogether different direction!

   So with all good fairy tales beginning with ‘Once Upon A Time’ the first chapter is a short resume of that episode. No.2 lies dead on the floor in the cage. The Supervisor having entered the embryo room asks No.6 what it is he wants?
   “I’ll take you.”
  However No.6 is not escorted to a cavern somewhere beneath the Village, but to the Green Dome. No.2 was a good man, but in having survived the ultimate test THEY have got a man who will be better! Now promoted to the position of a new No.2, the former No.6 must adapt to change, accept, and learn to take to his new responsibility of the Village and its citizens. If there’s anything he wants to know all he has to do is press a button! There is no question of escape, no possibility of bringing down the system from within. How will our former friend No.6 take to his new role as Chief Administrator of the village?

       The novel to be published on my blog two chapters will be published each week on Monday’s and Thursday’s commencing soon.

   ‘The Prisoner – A New No.2’ is published under the banner of “Fan Fiction” from which no money will be earned.

Be seeing you

Tuesday 23 August 2022

The Prisoner An Exercise In Logistics - Chapter/Episode 30


Fall Out - The Final Chapter

    “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.”

    What is it, what has gone wrong?” barked Number 2.

    “I do not understand it” the Professor said.

    And if the Professor didn’t, then there was no hope for Number 2.

    “Where is Number Six?” Number 2 asked in frustration.
    The Professor was busy checking the calculations on his computer slate “I do not understand, he should have come through by now!

    We’ve failed. You failed. Where is Number Six?” shouted Number 2.

    “You saw him, he was taken to the medical room” the Professor told him.

    I 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 he’s……..”

    “Back in The Village, or scattered in a million atomic particles

somewhere 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.

    “Don’t 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 this?”

    “A young woman and not unattractive, it’s her bed I found myself lying on. The Professor’s calculations must have been a few degrees out.”

    “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!”

    “Go on.”
    “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 responsible!”

    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 failed.”

    “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 me.”

    “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 nineteen sixty-seven 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.

They 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 Two sir.”

    “We 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.


    “How 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 conclusion.”

    “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!”

    The 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.

    “Number 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.”

    Blake 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 “Nothing!”

    “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 individual.”


    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.

    “What 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 chamber.

    “Mister Speaker we are once more obliged” said the leader of the Chamber waving Number 2 forward with a gesture of his hand.

    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 this instant!”

    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 debating society.”
    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.


    The 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 questionable.”

    “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

last I shall be free of the influence of The Village and you will beguile

me no longer!”

    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 late.”

    “Too late, too late for whom?” the speaker asked.

    “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

of 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 such proceedings.”

   “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 you.”

    That statement brought about a unanimous applause from the delegates. Any doubts the delegates might have had were instantly forgotten.


    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 is chaos?”

    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 that?”

    “I don’t.”

    “You were back there in The Village in nineteen sixty-seven?”

    “As 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

attempt 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?”
    “Address us.”
    “Should I?”
    “You must.”
    “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 individual.”
    “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 here!”

    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

refused 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 incarceration……”

    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 delegates.

    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 community.”

    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 waste time!

    “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 defeat.”

    The cheers of the delegates filled the chamber.

    The Speaker retook his chair.

    “A 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 with actions?”

    “What price Number One?”

    “I 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
Farthing 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.”

    “I have suffered decades of torment waiting for you in this vicious circle of Village life!”

    “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 tradition.

    “We will need weapons and ammunition” Number 1 said.
    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.

    “So 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 concealed door.

    “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.”

    “The Island, why?”

    “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.

    Mine. 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 relieved.”

    “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 alone?”

    “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 asked.
    “Now we are four” the ex-Number 2 said.
    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!”
    Blake nodded.
    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 out.
   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 let you!”

    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 asked.

    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 said.
    “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 asked.
    “It’s for emergencies.”
    “This is a sort of emergency isn’t it” Number 1 suggested.
    “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 escape.
    “My god, you move fast” Blake said.
    The pilot turned his head to look at his passengers.
    “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 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.