This short work is set in the universe of my sim Fighter Ops. For those of you not familiar with the RP, it revolves around the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran. This and other stories will attempt to capture some of the background of the war, focussing on elements that might not be immediately obvious.
Ibrahim was going to make a killing, his brother thought as he watched some of the produce that the guy had probably sold earlier this morning start to burn. From his office in El-Mogamma, an Egyptian government complex looking out onto Tahrir Square – that one – he regularly had a ringside seat for the regular protests that occurred there. He himself had been in one himself, back in the heady days of February 2011, where he had faced off against the security forces representing the government. El-Mogamma, a building given by the Soviet Union and built in classic imposing Communist style, had been a symbol of the hated Mubarak regime and also bureaucracy in general.
For his contributions to the revolution, he’d found himself Director of the Passport Office, where he was responsible for renewing visas of tourists, issuing passports and so on, which meant he was working in this place. Speaking of tourists… he hoped that this latest protest wouldn’t harm the country’s tourist industry more than some of the decisions of this government had already.
After the military had handed over power, the Muslim Brotherhood had formed a government – and then immediately started fighting among themselves. Two distinct factions had emerged – what might be called the moderates and the hardliners. The moderates wanted to maintain the links with America and the peace treaty with Israel, while the hardliners didn’t – some of the hotheads actually advocating open war against the Jewish state. The ministerial carve-up had kept the hardliners out of defence and also security – but given them the justice ministry. Where they’d started to implement sharia law in a rather haphazard way that in his mind was wrecking the tourist trade.
The attacks on Coptic Christian organisations that Social Solidarity and Justice were widely accused of turning a blind eye to were raising hackles in Washington. The ban on alcohol sales entirely was starting a growing bootlegging industry and Egypt already had a suspected “Nucky Thompson”. The imposition of spot fines on tourists wearing overly revealing clothing, even on beaches, was in danger of turning the country into a laughing stock.
What was happening now was probably something minor that would be largely forgotten in a week, but it wasn’t going to help. Following the Israeli attack on Iran last night, a large group of protestors had gathered in Tahrir Square, where they were burning American and Israeli flags. These were one of the things that Ibrahim sold and he knew that they would be heavily discounted today..
As the man watched, his intercom buzzed. He turned and pressed the button.
“What is it?” he asked. Another male voice replied, sounding annoyed.
“We’ve got one of the new guys. He’s refusing to process an Israeli man”.
The Director shook his head. There were always people like this who took exception to Israelis, particularly those with Palestinian ancestry. You usually just dealt with them by moving them to another queue or giving them a verbal slapping.
“I’m on my way”, he said.
The Director left his office, closing the door behind him and walking slowly, but surely towards the main processing area, briefly stopping to use the lavatory. He heard a faint pop, which sounded like a firecracker. When he heard five more, he sprinted towards the processing area, just as another shot rang out.
The area was one of panic as people either fled for their lives or cowered in terror. Four bodies lay on the floor bleeding, one of which had a pistol by his side. Another woman was screaming in Egyptian, blood running down her arm. A security guard had his weapon still drawn, staring in horror at what had just happened – and what he had ultimately had to do.
“What happened?!” the Director yelled, “What happened?”
“He just pulled out a pistol and started shooting”, the guard said as he lowered his weapon, “Yelling something about death to apostates…”
The Director saw who one of the dead bodies was – the same guy he’d come out to see. If he’d been just a few seconds earlier – he might also be dead. As other police officers arrived on the scene, the Director had a strong suspicion of who was behind this attack. He cursed Israel – and Iran. He suspected that this was only the first of these attacks. He looked down at the body of the gunman and wished him an unpleasant time in hell.
He took a seat and pulled out his mobile phone to tell Ibrahim he was OK.