Authors: Roland Hughes
Copyright ©2008 by Roland Hughes
All rights reserved
This book was published for the author by Logikal Solutions. Neither Logikal Solutions nor the author shall be held responsible
for any damage, claim, or expense incurred by the user of this book or any company, persons, or individual which perceives
any real or imaginary damages from it.
This is a work of fiction. While this book will reference actual company names and events in building its time line, it is
not making judgment or laying blame. The book is meant to be a warning of what very well may happen if policies, laws, and
business directions are not changed quickly.
These trademarks belong to the following companies:
All other trademarks inadvertently missing from this list are trademarks of their respective owners. A best effort was made
to appropriately capitalize all trademarks which were known at the time of this writing. Neither the publisher nor the author
can attest to the accuracy of this information. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity
of any trademark or service mark.
For all of those willing to step back and see the whole board,
not just listen to what the announcer says and be spellbound.
This book is a work of fiction. It uses many historical events, news articles, and company names to build a time line necessary
for projection forward. Without using many of these actual names and quotes, it would be difficult to build the sense of realism
that gives credibility to the outcome. There is no slander or malice intended. Indeed this book is intended to be a wake-up
call for both an industry and a country.
Follow the journey of this book and look for a way out, not for yourself, but for all of us.
It's not every morning you wake up with armed men kicking in your door and rushing into your bedroom, but that's certainly
how this morning started. All because he really wanted a new computer. Not just a new computer, the best system Dell was shipping.
But that want was satisfied over a decade ago. Today, he couldn't even sell that computer on eBay. Today, it was a trip with
a bag over his head, wearing handcuffs to an interrogation room.
He had quite a while to think that morning. They left him alone for what seemed like hours. The stone room had no windows
and must have been well below ground judging from the chill and dampness.
Best not to think about wells,
he told himself. The one overhead bulb didn't seem to give off much in the way of warmth or comfort. Of course, the worst
part about all of this was what was missing. No big mirror on the wall where people could watch from the other side. He had
seen that on television shows. The fact it was missing was more unnerving than anything else. Whatever was going to happen
here wasn't supposed to have any witnesses. In truth, he wished the bag was still on his head.
He screamed in his mind.
Bad enough actually being here, don't do their job for them.
Somewhere outside of the room he could faintly hear a mosque calling worshipers to prayer.
A good Muslim should be praying now,
he thought. He had no idea which wall faced Mecca, but he knew a good Muslim would rather pray in the wrong direction than
miss prayer. Calmly, without a mat, he prepared himself as best he could, knelt, and began praying.
Soon into his prayers the door to the room flew open. Obviously these weren't good Muslims he was dealing with. Two different
sets of hands grabbed him and slammed him down into the chair. A third man was already seated on the other side of the table.
His casual attitude made it seem like he had been sitting there awhile. Odd that Nedim had not heard the door open. The other
man's breathing was slow and relaxed. He must have been standing outside the door for a while, because it was a full three
flights of stairs to this room. Nedim remembered that much. One of them went up and the other two down. The exact order of
up and down staircases was escaping him at this moment for some reason though.
The two men who put him into the chair were still behind him. He couldn't see them, had no idea what they were wearing, but
knew they hadn't left the room. Being a computer consultant helped him reason that much out. It just didn't do him much good
when it came to avoiding being here in the first place.
Reason, what a fine word. The word most people who don't understand logic use. Nedim spent four years at university learning
logic, programming languages, and software design. He was supposed to be good at what he did, yet here he sat. He had no illusions
as to why he was here, but he had to play the fool for a while.
Across the table was a really nice gray suit with a narrow pin stripe, white shirt, and colorful tie; obviously a Yankee come
home. Probably even drank beer. Nedim knew he was the only good Muslim in the room.
Sitting in front of the man was a yellow filing folder. It was stuffed to what looked like its capacity with papers. On top
of the folder was a single sheet of paper. Even looking at it upside down he could read the heading of “Confession.” There
was a lot of typed text and a place for him to sign at the bottom. Life was not looking good.
Next to the filing folder was a half used white legal pad. Sitting on it was a silver Cross pen. This meant they (whomever
“they” were at this point) wanted something. Perhaps today wasn't going to be completely horrible after all. When it came
right down to it, Nedim was more than willing to let others die or go to prison for him. Actually, he admitted to himself,
he kind of liked the idea. Nothing says importance like being able to order others to die. Isn't that why he really got involved
with this in the first place?
He shouted in his mind. Then he looked the man across the table in the eye and asked, “Why am I here?”
“We have identified you as an al-Qaeda operative,” replied the man.
“I am a good Muslim, nothing more,” replied Nedim.
The man opened the folder and started removing printouts of Nedim's emails. There were circled items and handwritten notes
all over them. Many of them were pictures that looked identical, but some had handwritten notes on the bottom of them. He
remembered many of those images having been used throughout the past couple of years.
Nedim sat silent while the man continued to flip through print outs of his emails. He noticed that the man appeared to have
a better color printer than he did. That, more than anything else from this morning, irritated him. This pile of Julab had
a better printer than Nedim, yet Nedim was the only good Muslim in the room.
It seemed so simple when this all started. Nedim was on a flight away to university. He was seated next to a man who claimed
to be a cleric and certainly could quote any section of the Holy Quran he wished. It turned out the cleric was from a mosque
near the university Nedim would be attending. Because Nedim considered himself a good Muslim, he could not turn down an invitation
to pray there and attend some lectures around his class schedule.
Nedim continued to sit silent, watching the man flip through the emails. Some, with a significant amount of circled words
and handwritten notes, were even turned so he could read the handwriting. Nedim continued to show no expression.
After attending some prayer services at the cleric's mosque, Nedim was asked to sit in on some of the discussions about the
lessons of the Quran. Quite a few of Nedim's classmates were in these discussions as well. Most found reasons to bow out eventually,
but a handful who considered themselves good Muslims stayed.
One of Nedim's classmates, Sami, was not the good Muslim he claimed. His family owned a pizza restaurant. They actually handled
pork! Nedim also believed they ate it. A good Muslim should not have a girlfriend and go out on dates with her. Sami did.
Sami had sex with his girlfriend and would openly talk about it back at university. Sami was not a good Muslim. Nedim would
point this out every chance he could during the discussions with the cleric, yet the cleric would not toss him out of the
Publicly, the cleric said it was his duty to bring all to Islam. Privately, Nedim suspected the real reason was that Sami's
family had wealth. Nedim was a good Muslim and attending university by means of a scholarship. He studied hard, but the computer
lab was only open to students so many hours per day. He really needed his own computer to meet the academic requirements for
his scholarship, but the scholarship would not provide one.
Nedim was snapped back to the situation at hand by a stiff slap to the side of his head. The man had said something and he
had missed it. One of the two he could not see snapped at him to answer the question he had not heard. He responded that he
had not heard the question because he was praying as all good Muslims should be doing at this time. That answer earned him
a strike on the other side of the head.
The man asked his question again. “Do you know the penalty for being a terrorist?”
“I am a good Muslim, not a terrorist,” responded Nedim. Closed-fisted blow from behind this time. So fast and hard he had
no idea which of the two delivered it, mainly because his nose had born the brunt of the impact with the table and sprung
his head back upright. He knew he was upright because blood was running down over his mouth. Vision was not a sense he held
at the moment as everything was a whirl of color and light, but it seemed things would come back into focus soon.
He tried to wipe the blood from his face and had his hands firmly pulled behind the chair, then tied.
The man asked his question again. “Do you know the penalty for being a terrorist?”
“I am a good Muslim, not a terrorist,” responded Nedim. This time the blow was from a club of some kind.
“I did not ask if you were a terrorist, we have the answer to that question lying before us. I asked if you know the penalty
for being a terrorist in this country?”
After a moment, Nedim responded, “Life in prison or death, depending upon how wealthy your family is and how famous you are.”
“Are you famous or from a wealthy family?” asked the man.
“No,” Nedim was forced to respond.
Before him on the table was an email that had grown to haunt him. This was the email that selected the Nairobi embassy for
bombing and the date in 1998 when it was to be bombed. He had no problem with the killing of infidels. The problem with this
bombing was how the Islamic reporters had covered it. Across the street from the embassy had been a secretarial training school
for women, and near it a daycare center. Muslim women should not be attending school, nor should their children be in daycare.
All good Muslims know this. There had been a fatwah justifying it, yet the outrage had happened. It appeared there were no
good Muslims left in the land of the prophet. That bombing caused a lot of the money to dry up as well. It was the reason
Nedim didn't have a better color printer at home.
“We are prepared to execute you tomorrow,” the man said.
Nedim said nothing, but his mind raced wildly. Others were supposed to die, not him! He did not believe in martyrdom, nor
that there were any virgins to be had. Besides, logic told him that unless there were thousands of them, within a month or
two of his arrival in paradise they would just be used and complaining wives anyway. Unless he was getting 72 beautiful virgins
per month for eternity, martyrdom simply wasn't worth it.
Nedim knew the worth of things. He also knew that not all virgins were beautiful. His sister was outright ugly. He suspected
that is the pool from where the virgins were drawn. He also suspected that was the very reason women were required to wear
a niqab or burkha. Ugly women could have beautiful eyes.
There was one thing about martyrdom Nedim didn't know and it bothered him a great deal. Would he have a fully functional body
in paradise? He had seen what was left of martyrs on the news. Logic told him that unless you got a new body in paradise,
the quantity of women (virgin or otherwise) didn't matter. Then again, did you even qualify as a martyr if the police (or
whatever these men were) simply beheaded you in public and you never claimed any infidel lives?
The interrogator and Nedim sat staring at one another, each waiting for the other to blink. To an onlooker, it looked like
two children having a staring contest at school. The simple truth was that the other men were waiting for Nedim to crack.
One of them would have certainly hit him again if they had realized his mind had left the room and become completely tangled
up in the virgin problem.
When Nedim's mind finally came back to the room, he noticed the other man had picked up a silver pen and been doodling on
the pad. Nedim didn't take his eyes off the man, but his field of vision revealed there was now a lot of ink on the once clean
white pad. None of it stood out as words, so it must be doodles.
A little voice in the back of Nedim's mind said he should be asking for a trial. The big voice of logic told him these men
had never shown him badges, didn't wear uniforms, and made no claims to any government affiliation. A public trial was not
going to be an option. That big voice said his body was going to be found on a street near his mosque with a proclamation
pinned on it and his head a few feet away. There was only one way out of this, and that was not to blink. The first point
of yielding had to come from the other side of the table, or this was over.
Without taking his eyes off him, the other man placed the confession in front of him and laid the Cross pen on top of it.
A blow to the back of Nedim's head came with the words “sign it,” thus ended the staring contest, with a cheat.
His hands were roughly untied. The right hand brought to the pen while the left was held behind him. “Sign it,” said the man
calmly from across the table.
“I am a good Muslim, nothing more,” responded Nedim.
The man reached in his suit jacket and pulled out a folded newspaper page. He unfolded it and laid it before Nedim. “Good
Muslims don't kill other Muslims,” was the man's quiet reply. “You are not a martyr and you will not be welcomed into paradise.
How could you possibly atone for this in the few short hours you have to live?”
Nedim quite honestly did not know. The sheet of newspaper before him was the front page following the day after the embassy
bombings. It went on in detail about the Muslim women and children who were killed. Even though a fatwah had been issued authorizing
the deaths of all who served the infidels, these deaths weren't covered by it. They were in a building across the street.
Clerics from all over the world had issued fatwahs authorizing the deaths of all involved in this bombing.
That one botched bombing had sentenced everyone in his cell, and perhaps all cells, to death at the hands of other Muslims.
Indeed, with the print outs they had in their possession, these men needed no official capacity whatsoever to chop off his
head in the middle of a public square. They would never be prosecuted. They would receive medals and money from infidels around
“You did not bring me here for atonement,” Nedim responded.
“True,” the man responded. “We would much prefer to execute you in front of the local mosque as soon as morning prayer completes.”
“Why don't you?” responded Nedim. His mind raced to slap his mouth shut, but it was too late. The words were out.
The man sat silently for a moment while one of the brutes behind Nedim began forcing the pen in his hand to sign the confession.
Apparently the brute had not been burdened with an over abundance of education, for he was squeezing Nedim's wrist so hard
the fingers couldn't grip the pen even if he wanted them to.