Well it turns out that google is my friend. I found AL(ex)’s article and never realized there was a set screw on the side. Fortunately mine isn’t missing.
It wouldn’t follow MIJ serial numbers. A “V” serial for Fender is normally used for AVRI guitars. Since it was a prototype, Brooks probably grabbed a V neckplate from the bin as it needed to have some serial number. There is an article posted by a new member, Malecheo. It’s a 1997 article by Larry Brooks who was the builder assigned to the guitar. He talks about this prototype in the article. Fender kept the prototype.