It is December 12, 1997. The Leader, whose real name is Adam Susan, is sitting in the back of a limousine. Susan thinks about all that he’s done for Britain: he’s led Britain out of the “wilderness of the 20th century.” He is a fascist, he freely admits, but believes that fascism is necessary to bind a country together and make it strong. He rejects talk of freedom and liberty—freedom is obsolete after “the war.” He walks into a building, the “Old Bailey,” on top of which there is an old sculpture of “Lady Justice.”
We know many things about the Leader: his real name, his political ideology, his attitude toward governmental administration, etc., while V, by contrast, remains entirely mysterious. It’s important to recognize this theme as the chapter begins, since Moore will structure the chapter as a quarrel between two rival lovers of Lady Justice: V and Susan.
Susan walks to a surveillance room in the Old Bailey, where the “Fate Computer” monitors the activities of millions of Londoners. Susan thinks that he is in love, even though he’s never taken a lover. He is in love with the computer itself: it’s pure, perfect, and all-powerful.
Susan and V are both opposites and eerily similar. V is superhuman in his strength, his anonymity, and his intelligence, and Susan also seems to aspire to a kind of super-humanity (or inhumanity), as we see in his love for a computer.
Hours after Adam Susan walks into the Old Bailey, V walks by the building. He sees Lady Justice, and has a mock-dialogue with her. He accuses Lady Justice—whom he’s loved since he was a child—of refusing to return his love. Lady Justice, V suggests, has taken a new lover: a “man in uniform.” As a result, V vows to never serve Lady Justice again—instead, his justice will be anarchy. He places a small object, wrapped with a bow, in front of the statue. As he runs away, the Old Bailey blows up.
V’s political aspirations—and, arguably, his insanity—are on full display here. V distrusts institutions of any kind. While justice itself may be a thing worth loving, justice as its been manipulated and co-opted by government is not. V prefers to worship a new, more individual form of justice. V might just be acting again, and pretending to talk to a statue— but he also seems to have the tendency to treat objects like people, and people like objects.
Lewis Prothero, his mind a wreck, lies in a mental hospital. Finch and his colleagues try to get Prothero to explain what V did to him. Prothero only repeats, “mama.” Finch suggests that they “take five” and get some tea. As Finch says this, Prothero begins repeating, “Room Five.”
The chapter ends with a clue—we’re meant to assume that Finch will be able to trace “Room Five” to V, based on V’s fondness for the number five and the letter V (the Roman numeral for five).