After waking up from an artificial sleep, Number 6 discovers a game of "live chess" on the Village green in which the "chessmen" are Villagers and the players sit in elevated chairs and call out the moves with megaphones. Recruited by one player as the Queen's pawn, he only reluctantly obeys his "master's" orders. After the match, Number 6 enacts a new escape plan that requires the complicity of a specific type of individual. He chooses one of the rooks from the chess game, a man known for his rebellious nature.
With his mind transferred to another body, Number 6 wakes up in his London flat and can't convince his colleagues who he is. He takes off to Austria to find the one man who can help him, the person Number 2 wants him to find.