Written by John Au
Author’s Note: If you’re not familiar with the 1960’s British sci-fi/espionage series The Prisoner you might not get this. Don’t worry. Most people who saw The Prisoner didn’t get it either.
The tall blonde female walks through endless grey-metal corridors, all of which look exactly the same. The entire ship has a surreal atmosphere to it. Doors open automatically without her touching them. Men and woman dressed in brightly coloured pyjama-like uniforms stride the decks, but do not speak to each other. The blonde is dressed in a highly unusual manner herself, a skin-tight silver outfit that covers her from the neck down.
Going through one door, she finds herself in an enormous room filled with row upon row of shuttlecraft. Another room contains hundreds of stasis tubes, full of expendable ensigns.
Entering a small circular room, she finds herself exiting in a completely different place. Like every other place on the ship it is spotlessly clean. Sitting across from her is a short redhead with four pips on her collar, sipping from a mug of coffee.
“I am Number Two,” says the redhead.
The blonde raises an eyebrow. “Who’s Number One?”
Number Two smirks and flicks a glance into the corner, where sits a Native American totem pole, a carved wooden man with a bizarre tattoo marking his intriguing facial structure. “There can be only one Number One on my ship!”
“And what ship is that?”
“Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of Roddenberry... or the Ratings?”
“That would be telling,” replies the auburn-haired female, her lip curling up in a smirk. “I want obedience... obedience... obedience...”
Her blonde captive raises her chin in defiance. “Well, you won’t get it!”
“By Berman or by Braga, we will.” She smiles with an amiability that the blonde doesn’t believe for a second. “Now, let’s be practical. Your only chance to get out is to give me what I want... and if you don’t give it, I’ll take it. It’s up to you; think about it. Good day, Seven.”
“What?” asks the blonde, frowning in puzzlement.
“For official purposes, everyone has a number. Yours is number Seven of Nine.”
“I am not a number,” says the blonde in an icy tone. “I am an individual.”
On exciting the corridor, she observes a large white ball approaching her. “What’s that?”
“That’s Rover,” says a non-descript ensign. “But we call him Doc.”
To the blonde’s horror, the nondescript ensign is dead moments after he has spoken, killed by a rampaging Alien of the Week.
As the white object comes closer, she sees it is actually the bald head of a man dressed in the uniform of a Chief Medical Officer. “Be seeing you,” he says in greeting. “Probably in every second episode from now on. You’ll find there’s a lot that we can offer you here. Opera, lessons in interpersonal skills, and my skin-tight outfits will ensure that you have the complete and undivided attention of every man on board the ship.”
The blonde turns and flees in panic through the door from which she came. The redhead looks up at her from the PADD she is reading.
“I am the new Number Two,” she says coldly. “What can I do for you?”
The blonde gapes in surprise. The person sitting in the Captain’s chair looks the same, but has a completely different personality and hairstyle.
“What am I doing here?” the young woman blurts out.
“Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? A lot of people have been asking that. Some say it’s merely a question of ratings.” Number Two studies the blonde in a questioning manner. She remains tight-lipped.
“Of course, all this could be ended if you answered one simple question...”
The blonde shivers as Number Two asks her the one question she’d sworn never to answer.
“Why did Kes resign?”