The Prisoner: Science: Rover

Rovers, the Village Guardians, roam the Village and its outskirts as a constant reminder that there is no escape. There is also a Rover guarding the helicopter platform at all times, one designed for high-pressure areas which roams the ocean floor, and at least one held in reserve for special cases, activated only at the request of Number 2 or when a Supervisor declares Orange Alert.

At its most basic, Rover reacts to motion, chasing the fastest-moving life-form in its immediate area, then chemically paralyzing and suffocating them. The Rover assigned to the ocean floor has eliminated all major life forms, including seaweed, off the coast of the Village. Except for occasional schools of fish and shrimp which wash past it to the shallow spots, the area is devoid of life.

Rovers are colloidal mechanisms which work on a fluidic principle. First synthesized as linear colloidal structures for use in microfluidics, their evolution into a spherical shape (thanks to some prodding by a team of Biotechnologists) increased their stability and their maximum possible size. While not technically living beings, it is thought they contain cellular material and genetic traits from Tetrodontidae and Diodontidae, known in the vernacular as Blow fish. Like the Rovers, these fish are able to expand to a spherical shape and release a substance known as tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin prevents transfer of impulses on a cellular level by blocking the transfer of sodium, thus causing paralysis.

The form of Tetrodotoxin secreted by the Rovers is much more powerful than that of the common blowfish, and victims who are not taken immediately to the Revival Pod will succumb to paralysis of the pulmonary and respiratory systems within only minutes, or seconds if the Rover is set to kill.

They are the size of soccer balls when they arrive in the Village, where they are trained for their task until they grow to their full expansion of 8 feet in diameter. While dormant, waiting for the next Orange Alert, they shrink to manageable size for storage.

According to a report by Number 2, Rovers are aware, but not self-aware. They sense changes in their immediate environment through the visual and infrared spectrum and make basic decisions based on their training and programming. They can be programmed to use Tetrodotoxin and suffocation to subdue or kill, and to act together in a retrieval capacity for attempts to escape by sea. They are also responsive to passwords and are programmed with a failsafe which prevents them from attacking Villagers who carry an electropass.

Rovers can be modified to respond to remote control and serve as eyes and ears for Number 2. Number 2 can broadcast his voice through a Rover so modified. Airborne Rovers have also been developed, but have not yet been put to practical use. They are the Village’s most effective deterrent to date. Although they can die, as it were, they are unrelenting in their pursuit, unwavering in their adherence to training and programming and unresponsive to pain. There are some Villagers who have even developed a fascination with the Rovers, but no one is quite sure what the intended purpose of the Rover worship is.

Speculative scientific aspects of The Prisoner have come from a combination of the television episodes, related comics and novels, and unrelated scientific resources.

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