A Name, Not a Number, Part 1

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#290: “A Name, Not a Number, Part 1”
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Psalm 27:5-6

5For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. 6Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

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“Codebreaker, Part 1”
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A Name, Not a Number, Part 1

“A Name, Not a Number, Part 1” is episode #290 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on November 26, 1994.


Jason Whittaker, Whit's son, gets sidetracked from his move to Odyssey when he's called to Europe on a mission. He has to find a missing friend who has been kidnapped by the terrorist organization Red Scorpion.


The place: A toy shop in Geneva, Switzerland, owned by Tasha Forbes, who works with the United States National Security Agency. The shop is a front for Agency activities, and Tasha has just learned that they’ve been discovered. She and her assistant, Molly, are destroying everything. Their cover is blown and they must escape to a secure location. One of Tasha’s regular customers walks in the door, a man she calls "Doctor". Tasha quickly helps him, then suggests that he leave immediately. But before he can, a harsh and cruel man named Mustafa walks in the door. Mustafa immediately knocks out the Doctor. Then Mustafa knocks Tasha out as well, and one of his men carries her away. Mustafa walks over to Doctor and asks if he is all right. He rises and, in a brief conversation, reveals that he is...Dr. Regis Blackgaard! While Mustafa is a member of a radical group called Red Scorpion, Dr. Blackgaard is carrying out an entirely separate scheme of his own.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Jason Whittaker prepares for his move to Odyssey to run Whit’s End. But Donovan, his former “boss,” informs him that things have gone terribly wrong overseas, an agent has been kidnapped by Red Scorpion, who is prepared to use a virus called Rukuta on innocent victims to advance the group’s cause. Jason is unimpressed until he learns that the kidnapped agent is Tasha, his closest friend in the Agency. Jason springs into action.

Back in Switzerland, Jason follows a trail left by Tasha until he arranges to rescue her. But the plan backfires, and he’s taken prisoner where he meets up with Tasha and Dr. Blackgaard, who is also an agent and acts as if he’s trying to help them. Mustafa arrives and decides to make Jason a victim of the Rukuta virus. Mustafa is about to inject it into Jason’s arm when Dr. Blackgaard suddenly attacks Mustafa, preventing him. Mustafa manages to jab Blackgaard with the needle. Blackgaard tells Tasha that it looks like he won't be needing the doll that he ordered from the toy shop. A few moments later everyone is shocked as Jason pronounces Dr. Blackgaard dead. The story continues in part II...

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think what Jason did for a living is good or bad work for a Christian?
    • Explain your answer.
  2. Is there such a thing as a synthetic virus in real life?
    • Explain.
  3. Why do you think some people want to do things to hurt their own country?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Abdul Phil Lollar
Donovan Alan Young
Donovan's Driver Dave Arnold
Jason Whittaker Townsend Coleman
Miles Filby Walker Edmiston
Molly Michelle Stacy-Hanna
Moving Truck Laborer Phil Lollar
Mustafa Will Ryan
Mustafa's Assistant Dave Arnold
Red Scorpion Foreman Bob Luttrell
Red Scorpion Laborer Phil Lollar
Regis Blackgaard Earl Boen
Tasha Forbes Christie Nimitz

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
John Whittaker Regis Blackgaard


  • PARENTS: These episodes are about international political intrigue and the threat of biological terrorism. While presented in a way that most youngsters will find enjoyable, these episodes may be too intense for younger listeners.
  • VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version includes a parental warning by Paul McCusker.
  • This episode takes place away from Odyssey: Episodes That Take Place Away from Odyssey
  • The violence level in these two episodes is rather surprising. In The Complete Guide, Phil Lollar reveals that back in #40: “The Case of the Secret Room, Part 2”, they removed a gun from a scene to "dispel potential audience fears about violence". However, in these episodes we have people spraying others in the face with knockout gas. Mustafa clicks a gun into place at Jason, and then he intends to inject Jason with a deadly virus and then actually seems to do it to Dr. Blackgaard, who falls seemingly dead on the floor. In the confrontation in the park while Mustafa holds Tasha hostage, we hear Abdul pull out a knife, seemingly to threaten to kill her. Then we have lines like, "I can still shoot her from across the room" and "Let's us see how amusing you are with the virus coursing through your veins."
  • Townsend Coleman makes his debut in this episode as Jason Whittaker. Jason had appeared previously on #212: “The Mortal Coil, Part 2” but was played by a different actor.
  • This episode also marks also the debut of the character of Tasha Forbes.
  • Rakistan, the fictional country, is mentioned in this episode. The country would later play an important role in #514: “Room Enough for Two”.
  • According to the Official Guide, Miles Filby was named after a character played by Alan Young. Alan used the same accent for Donovan. Afterwards, the AIO team discovered that there was a real-life British turncoat agent named Kim Philby; who was convicted of being part of an espionage ring known as the "Cambridge Five" which supplied secret information to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early years of the Cold War.
  • Tasha's trick of blinking a message as heard in this episode was taken from real life, when Jeremiah Denton blinked "Torture" during his stint as a POW in Vietnam during a news conference.
  • The title of this episode is very similar to a quote from Seinfeld: "It's not a name, it's a number." However, the Seinfeld episode featuring this quote aired two years after this episode did.
  • This episode features the first mention of the Internet on AIO.
  • Early titles for this episode included "Code-Breaker" and "Code Name: Jason"
  • In the intro to this episode, Chris mentions "wonder, excitement, and adventure" (instead of the usual "discovery").
  • Regis Blackgaard mentions a younger sister and a grandchild. It is unknown if this actually points to relatives or simply his cover.
  • The name of Donovan may have been based on historical figure William J. Donovan. During WWII he was the COI (Coordinator of Information), tasked with directing the combined intelligence efforts of the US, and then directed the OSS which it turned into (Office of Strategic Services - the predecessor of the CIA). Thus, he is known as the "Father of American Intelligence" and the "Father of Central Intelligence."
  • In the final scene of this episode, Mustafa injects Dr. Blackgaard with a syringe that (he thinks) contains the Ruku virus. Dr. Blackgaard falls to the floor and "dies" in a few seconds. Viruses simply do not work this way; it takes time for viruses to infiltrate the body and destroy it. The most deadly viruses that are known to exist take days to kill a person. It simply could not happen in a few seconds. Major poisons could kill a person that quickly, but a virus could not. Now the obvious explanation is that Blackgaard did not really die. However, there was at least one person there who should have realized that Blackgaard could not have been killed that quickly by a virus — Tasha Forbes. Tasha is a molecular biologist and had spent years working on the virus. She should have known that something was very fishy when Dr. Blackgaard died that fast. (This has led to mild speculation that Tasha was a in cahoots with Blackgaard, but the writers have nixed that idea.) However, the Ruku Virus could be designed to kill quickly, seeing as it was designed as a weapon.
  • Tasha mentions that "Red Scorpion has in their possession biological microbes used in chemical warfare". However, this does not make sense, as microbes are not used in chemical warfare at all. Also, all microbes (all living things, in fact) are "biological". The correct sentence would be "microbes used in biological warfare". It is possible that Tasha's statement was written by Mustafa, who is certainly no scientist.
  • Jason figures out that Tasha is at a castle located in Interlaken and he and Philby seem to go straight to it, with Philby even exclaiming that "there is a castle there." There are actually five fully preserved castles in the Interlaken area: Spiez, Hünegg, Oberhofen, Schadau and Thun. This is besides castle ruins and the Bailiff's Castle.


Mustafa: We know who you are, Tasha Forbes, Agent 2362!

Mustafa: Now why would a toy shop need a subsonic transmitter?
Tasha Forbes: ...It's cheaper than direct dialing?

Moving Truck Laborer: Anything else, Mr. Whittaker?
Jason Whittaker: Eh, just that box. Oh and the phone. Here, let me unplug it. There ya go. Where do you want it?
Moving Truck Laborer: Uh, top of da box. <phone rings> Didn't you just unplug that?
Jason Whittaker: Uh, yeah. This happens sometimes. It's a really weird phone. <picks up and hangs up phone> There that should take care of... <phone rings; Jason chuckles nervously>
Moving Truck Laborer: Like you said. Weird.

Jason Whittaker: Why don't you just take the box out to the truck and get going? I'll just keep the phone with me.
Moving Truck Laborer: Yeah, sure. Whatever you say. <mutters> I don't think it's just the phone that's weird.

Jason Whittaker: You'd think the agency's deputy director would have better things to do than play games!
Donovan: Life can't be all paperwork, 1131. Oh, I guess I can't call you that anymore, can I?
Jason Whittaker: Nope. Now I'm a name, not a number.

Jason Whittaker: Are you all right?
Tasha Forbes: You're the one who got bashed on the head, and you're asking me if I'm all right? I'm fine. Now would you mind telling me what you're doing here?
Jason Whittaker: I got your message. I'm here to rescue you.
Tasha Forbes: Oh, I see. And you decided the best way to do that was by getting yourself captured.
Jason Whittaker: You know me, always keep 'em guessing.

Regis Blackgaard: Wh-who is this?
Tasha Forbes: He's a friend of mine—Jason Whittaker.
Regis Blackgaard: Whittaker?
Jason Whittaker: What's the matter?
Regis Blackgaard: Oh, I'm sorry. It's just that I knew a Whittaker once. He was from a small town you've probably never heard of: Odyssey.
Jason Whittaker: You know my father?

Regis Blackgaard: Unfortunately, your father and I didn't always see eye to eye. In fact we usually ended up on opposite sides. I regret that. But there were things he didn't know at the time.

Jason Whittaker: The name's Bond—James Bond.

Mustafa's Assistant: Here is the syringe, Mustafa.
Tasha Forbes: Syringe?
Jason Whittaker: My allergy shot! How thoughtful of you.
Mustafa: Very amusing. Let us see how amusing you are with the virus coursing through your veins!