This story takes place in the final moments of the final episode of the television series The Prisoner, created by Patrick McGoohan. This is a work of fan fiction, and no money is made from it. It is for entertainment only. Furthermore, if you haven’t seen the episode, or the series for that matter, it won’t make a bit of sense to you. I’d recommend you see the series in its entirety, on sale in most video electronic stores. Then come back and read. If you are a fan of the show, I hope you enjoy this.
Number Six ascended the staircase, his mind racing. There was an utter familiarity about this staircase. Several nights prior, he had read a bedtime story to some of the Village children, and he described this staircase. But he had never been here before, or had he? Number Six had been in the Village for so long, had endured so many head games from his captors. He sometimes couldn’t remember his own name. Why did you resign? They had asked him this over and over. He refused to tell. He refused so much, he couldn’t really even remember why, himself. A matter of conscious, he would tell them. But what did that mean exactly? He was unsure himself. Number Six, they had assigned him. Six of one, half a dozen of another.
His mind wandered back to the Committee he had just been subject to. They had granted him his freedom. Why? Number Two, the one that had put him through Degree Absolute, had died in front of him, and was revived. With a shave and a haircut, two bits. Two bits for Number Two. The Two Bit Two. That particular Number Two had been in the Village before, months and months ago, when Six thought he had escaped. That was all a trick, of course, to make him think he was back at his old office in London. People he had worked with in the past were part of it, but who ran the Village? London? Russia? A cooporation of the two? Friendly enemies for convience sake? Number Six was hoping that when he got to the top of the stairs, the questions would be answered by Number One.
Who is Number One?
You are Number Six.
I am not a number! I am a free man!
His mind harkened back to his first time in the Village. That day stuck in his mind, and would forever more. That day. He stormed into his superior’s office and tore into him with language that sailors don’t even use. But what did he say? He remembered it as if music played as he shouted. He couldn’t remember his own words, or even what was in his letter. Written by his own hand. No typewrite for something of that importance.
Later, returning home, packing his bags. Where was he heading? He couldn’t even remember. He smelled the gas before he even realized what it was. Someone was trying to abduct him. The gas was too swift. He couldn’t resist. He blacked out, and awoke. In his own home? No, it was made to look like it, but upon peering out the window, he had seen the Village. His new home made to look like his old. His home away from home, as it were. Where was home? London. Ah, to be back in London.
At long last, he had reached the top of the staircase. Steeling his nerves, he entered the room.
He could see a man in a white robe and hood. A large One on his robe. Was this the elusive Number One? The man behind the curtain. The king of lords and the lord of the Village? Number One was watching a monitor with Number Six on it. The scene was from his first day in the Village. His words echoing from the speakers as it reverbierated in his head.
“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!” It repeated over and over. “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!” Then it shorted. “I will not be pushed.”
“I will not.”
“I, I, I, I, I, I, I” The memory of the Committee interrupting his departure speech came to him. Every time he tried to speak, saying “I feel”, they interrupted him. “I, I, I. I, I, I.” As if to mock his individuality.
He would stand for it no longer. He grabbed Number One and turned him aound and took down his hood. He would see the face of his captor.
It was a mask, like the members of the Committee wore earlier. He would not be denied this. He angrily grabbed the mask to reveal the face of Number One. It was the face of a chimpanzee? Wait, another mask. More games. More fun. The chimp mask mocked him as did the Committee. “I, I, I, I, I, I, I…..”
Smiling, Number Six grabbed the chimp mask to reveal the real face of Number One. Staring back at him was his own face. The memories flooded back. Why did you resign?
For many years the Village had been there. A long time. Long enough to have thrown American colonists into its walls. For the last decade, William Rook had been its coordinator. Its Number One man. One day, his mind clicked. He had decided that he was through with bullying people into revealing secrets. No one government ran the Village. It was a party to many nations, each trying to extract each other’s secrets. Rook had made up his mind. He stormed into his boss’s office and ranted to him about how the Village won’t last and that it had outgrown itself and needed to be stopped. He yelled that he wouldn’t be a party to it any further and threw down his resignation. Rook knew it was a matter of time before his subordinates were given orders to apprehend him, but he wouldn’t be around long enough for it. But, they had beaten him to the punch, gassed him, and brought him back. Back to his Home from Home. It was then his mind snapped. He had dissassoiated himself from his former life as Number One. He had only his defiance and his individuality. This place would not break him. And it hadn’t.
Or had it? Who was this face laughing back at him. Rook grabbed for his dopleganger, but the robed look-a-like eluded him and climbed with superhuman speed up a ladder. Giving a final laugh at Rook, he closed the hatch and locked it. Rook couldn’t get in there. He knew what he had to do. What he should have done ages ago.
Darting to the control panel, he punched in launch sequence Alpha Omega 13. He would take this Village from the face of the Earth. But first, to free his companions.
The Number Two who had subjected him to Degree Absolute, was one of his oldest friends. Very much a prisoner as Rook, himself. That Number Two was Vincent Nelson, and they had served in World War 2, together. WW2. Number Two. Six of One, half a dozen of another. Funny how ironic it all really was.
Number Forty-Eight was new to the Village, although Rook had seen him before, when they gave him mind altering drugs and made him think he was an ex-sherrif in the American Old West. How Forty-Eight had gotten the entire Committee to clap in time to Dry Bones while he jumped around remained a mystery to Rook. He ran the Village, but never fully understood how it all worked. That was one of the reasons for his resignation, as well. The insanity of it all. What’s it all about? Sit down and I’ll tell you.
With help from the silent Butler, Rook freed Vincent and Number Forty-Eight, whose name was Robert, by way of a machine gun battle, and together they fled the Village amongst the chaos that ensued after he launched the warhead towards their location. Citizens of the Village ran amuck, piling into cars and helicoptors. His mind went briefly to the time where a different Number Two tried to convince him that the position of Number Two was democratily elected by the Citizens. Everyone votes for a dictator. That Number Two had asked him if he would run. “Like blazes, the first chance I get,” was Number Six’s response. No, not Six. Not anymore. He was Bill Rook. Big Bill to the ladies.
He would no longer be pushed around, filed away, stamped on, indexed into catalog, briefed of the current crisis, debriefed on the security of it all, or numbered. His life was his own, again.
As they fled down the road in their stolen Village truck, they drove down the A20 towards London. Robert was let out to hitch-hike. He wanted to experience the open road and life. Bill Rook and Vincent Nelson went back to London, where they parted ways. Vincent goes to the Palace of Westminster. Bill and the Butler headed back to Bill’s home, Number 1 Buckingham Place.
Later that day, after packing his things, Bill Rook filled his car with his bags and headed back out on the road to drive to his original destination.
In the distance, thunder crackled in the sky.