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[personal profile] drewkitty
I sometimes write fiction, mostly as stress relief as it is not of publishable quality. This particular story is a concept I have toyed with for a while, copyright 2010 of course.

Positive feedback will encourage me to write and post more. If it pleases you, enjoy.


Chaya checked her gear again. Always a good habit, but vital when about to conduct an opposed assault. Inshallah was all well and good for the masses, but Guardians of the Faithful could not trust in Allah to do their jobs for them.
She shrugged to test the straps and wearing of the armor. Soft body armor, anti-kinetic, with woven metallic mesh that would stop electrowires and knives alike. Duty belt with all the tools of a Guardian's trade: flashlight, handcuffs, shock baton, EW projector, flash sticks. Helmet with audio-video recorder.
Today she carried a needle rifle and a heavy slug pistol. Either could kill – but the needle rifle's projectiles, while carving flesh to ribbons, would impact harmlessly against any sufficiently hard surface. The slug pistol had no such defects, being a derivation of the ancient Colt .45 design. The irony of carrying an essentially American weapon was not lost on her; she had a comprehensive education, one of the requirements of being a Guardian in a faithful Islamic colony.
The captain was reviewing with everyone the mission One Last Time. Some of the soldiers who would make up the perimeter guards and crowd control needed the reminder – this was not an operation of war, but an act to keep the peace. That did not mean that the criminals involved were less dangerous.
“The goal is to take as many of the criminals alive as we can. Some may be innocent, but we cannot determine this until all are secured. Some may bear guilt . . . but may repent. We should try not to tempt them into further sin. Some may be so guilty that they do not wish to survive capture. These we must prevent.
“Mullah, a blessing if you please.”
“In the name of Allah, the Lovingkind, the Merciful, may we set forth to do only good and not evil, saving those we can, sparing those we can, and striking down in your name only those whom we must.”
“Action stations.”
The target was an apartment within a housing complex, the complex itself being one of thousands that dotted Al-Jahim like freckles on a red-hair's face. The housing had been built with the most noble of motives – house the Christian refugees, People of the Book, fleeing war in other colonies or famine and war on what was left of Earth. Of course they had to pay the jizya, the tax on the non-believer, but in exchange were exempt from military service and could vote for their own representatives to the Simar, the Council that advised the Emir, who numbered among his many titles Protector of the Innocent.
The mostly Christian refugees had bred and thrived. Now the grandchildren of the original refugees lived in the apartments, and new refugees were as likely in tents and camps as to have roofs over their heads. Few took the standing offer to embrace Allah and become Muslims. A few more took service in the armed forces of the Islamic Republic, which accepted Janissaries and conferred citizenship and remission of taxes after two decades of service.
It was known for example that in addition to Jews and Christos, other sects and cults thrived in the teeming ghettos. The Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses were very, very hard to winkle out, and unofficial policy was to leave them alone. Pagans were another matter. Pagan terrorists especially.
The interior layout of the complex was known. The apartment was believed to contain a bomb-making shop. Detonators and explosives. The very presence of these materials made of their neighbors unwitting hostages.
Three men and one woman were most wanted. Chaya had studied their faces under sleep hypnosis and would recognize them anywhere. Two were bomb makers, one a trainer of terrorists, and the most dangerous of all, a pagan preacher.
The order was to take them alive. This was very much against her inclination. Catching the thought, she prayed briefly for Allah to forgive her for and guard her from such wicked thoughts and sustain her in her mission.

SIX WEEKS EARLIER

The Wide Area Transit (WAT) had been designed with the laudable goal of linking the Christian slums with jobs in the urban core. The Emir in his wisdom had ordered it constructed thirty-five years prior, and as his will worked its way slowly through the courts of equity, the right of way was cleared and the necessary infrastructure built. Much of the labor could have been done by machines, but instead the Emir ordered that much of the labor be done by Christians. Some of this was by labor-tax, the jizya paid by Christians who had neither job nor income.
After much work and patient effort, the WAT now served many thousands of commuters each day. The heavy tax on petrocarbons discouraged unnecessary vehicle travel. Many men and most women did not have personal operator's licenses; the training was expensive and the time could be put to better use. Many Christians had the skills to drive, but could not pay for the training or taxes – and it was well known that certain checkpoints did not check licenses and tax stamps as closely as others.
Chaya stood guard in full uniform. Peaked cap, tan blouse and cargo pants, web belt, shock stick, wire projector and handcuffs. She did not openly carry a handgun. This was for a number of reasons, but most notably because she would be constantly surrounded by the press of a crowd, and a pistol was a valuable commodity. If the Guardians expected violence, they would not send one junior with a handgun, but several experienced Guardians with an appropriate mix of lethal and non-lethal ordinance. Not to kill one, but to save many.
The audio-video recorder sat on her left chest, the unwinking eye of the Guardians which also served as one of her credentials. The name plate on the right side said only “C. Al-Hadin.”
She wore no veil. This was a requirement of Islamic law. No uniformed peace enforcer could hide their face from Allah – or as some joked, from the cameras. Soldiers under officers could wear masks, but actions within the urban area had to be accompanied and monitored by Guardians. The officers themselves could not.
Even in riot work, her gas mask, and her helmet, and her shield had stenciled numbers on them.
Today was very different. Her task, simple as it was, was to watch the downward stairs.
No escalators. Christians could walk, and exercise was healthful.
Elevators only for the infirm and elderly. They would only work with an elder or infirm identity card.
Her camera was monitored closely from the Guardian Control Center, although to all appearances she was just another bored Guardian watching the WAT.
A particular suspect was expected in this station today, and if Allah was kind, they would see what train he boarded and that train would be stopped between stations. A force would board, take him, and send the others on their way.
A flood of nazrani, Christians, came down the winding stairs. The WAT was deep, both to avoid existing structures and to provide coolness in the dry heat of the desert. It also had another purpose which all Guardians were intimately aware of – bomb shelter, in the event the Colony Wars dragged Al-Jahim in despite all efforts at diplomacy and saber-rattling.
The Christians made a fetish of not dressing according to the Islamic law. It was as much as a Christian woman's life was worth to wear clothing which completely covered the torso. Packs of Christian boys – gangs in all but name – enforced this very unofficial policy. Women who wore the Crescent were left alone as sacrosanct. Chaya smiled. The Guardians had taught them that.
Christian men on the other hand had a fetish for the blue jeans. Most were either clean-shaven or close cropped. No beards, ever, except a handful of Christian priests and monks bestrewn with crosses.
The children could be sensibly dressed, and were covered from head to foot as befit the heat and sun. Many Christians were deeply tanned and most would not wear sun block, even if they could afford it. Food gifts were a mercy of the State; suntan lotion and insect repellent were luxuries and vaguely un-Islamic, involving a lack of trust in Allah to ward harmful rays and biting flies and priced accordingly.
Her practiced eye scanned the crowd. She looked first and foremost for the target of the day's operation, but also for anything unusual. Larger than usual packages, people moving in a hesitant or unduly aggressive manner, a person who started down the stairs, saw her and turned away.
As with just now.
She keyed her radio with the discreet throat mike.
“Star 73, Control, reversal at northwest stair. X-male, 30s, leather coat and boots.”
The net chattered with activity as units moved to intercept. “The guilty fleeth where no man pursueth” might be a Christian phrase, but made it no less true. Her earpiece kept the traffic from being overheard by the crowd.
Suddenly Chaya felt herself crumpled against the wall, dazed, in a field of choking dust and smoke. Disoriented and confused, her mind raced back to the fire-rescue simulator in Guardian training and she ducked low to the ground. The last moments … what had she felt? A wave rippling through her body, a sudden slamming that knocked the breath out of her lungs and stunned her ears.
Explosion.
She low-crawled towards the platform edge.
The emergency ventilation system snapped to full power under remote control. It should make a howling whine, but Chaya heard nothing. The dust started to clear.
What lay revealed to Chaya's eyes was horror.
A WAT rail car was ripped open like a can of minnow fish. Broken and bleeding people stumbled from the wreckage or around the platform.
She keyed her radio.
“Star 73, Control. Mass casualty incident. Explosion. Judda station, eastbound. Estimate at least thirty, numbers thirty, injured souls at my location. Request fire rescue and Crescent immediately.”
No answer. The net must be down.
She stumbled to the nearest telephone box and picked up the receiver, repeating her advisory to the babbling operator who picked up.
She could not make out the reply. She realized that she had been deafened by the blast.
Chaya repeated the urgent message and left the phone hanging.
Then she scanned the crowd. Some were helping others. Others were dazed if unhurt.
She spoke very, very loudly in English. She needed her voice to carry.
“My name is Chaya Al-Hadin. I am a Guardian and lifesaver. Please to walk to the center of the platform, if you can. Go to the center of the platform. Help others with their wounds and remain calm. Crescent and the fire-rescue are on the way.”
She repeated the announcement in Arabic.
Then she moved, and quickly, to those who had not moved. She took the heavy ink marker pen from her pocket and started checking bodies.
This one, breathes, but too fast. Write a large letter “I” on the forehead.
This one does not breathe. Tilt her head. Still, no. Write a large “M” and move on.
This one breathes, and her quick check of the pulse in his wrist finds a pulse. She asks, “Where do you work, nazrani?”
“At the mine,” he replies.
“As Christ is your savior, follow me.”
He does so as she reaches the next one. She bleeds from her leg, swiftly.
“Press here, and very hard, and do not let go if you would save her life. Do this now.”
As he does, she writes an “I” on the bleeding woman's forehead.
The next one cannot breathe any more. He has no neck and his blood surrounds him. Write the “M.”
It is not right, and cannot be right, that she must be a chooser of the quick and the dead. Yet Allah commands his Believers to merciful acts, and the most lives would be saved if the rescuers know where to focus their best efforts. In the words of the Surah, “He who saves the life of one man, it shall be as if he had saved all Mankind.”
The bitter work of triage continues.
Others are helping now. Christian and Muslim is forgotten as people work together to save lives, to open breathing passages, staunch wounds and give words of comfort.
The cameras in the ceiling record everything, of course.
Once Crescent arrives, their medics swiftly take control. They have far too much practice with this sort of thing. The victims are sorted and re-triaged. Fluids are given and oxygen masks applied. An endless parade of stretchers is carried up the stairs to waiting ambulances and lifters.
Chaya shakes her head. She moves to the emergency locker and removes rolls of crowd control tape. She tapes off the wreckage and the platform area, isolating the victims and volunteers from well-wishers and the curious. Trains are no longer stopping at the platform.
She see the horrified faces those on one train passing by, slowly because the operator is understandably terrified and uncertain.
One face is smiling. A broad, bitter smile.
She narrows her eyes and starts to draw the concealed handgun from its hiding place. She stops and stares hard, burning that face into her brain and her will.
The camera may or may not pick up his features through the glass.
But by Allah's beard, she will.
As additional Guardians arrive, she is quickly checked for injuries and assigned to duties. Her hearing is returning. There are too few hands to spare her additional work. She is assigned to crime scene control with a clipboard, recording who it is that passes in and out of the wreckage.
As she waits, she takes her notepad from her pocket and sketches briskly. Facial features, of the man she saw on the passing train. There is a computer program to help her at the barracks, but she does not want to forget a single detail, no matter how minor.
As the last of the victims, the least injured, are taken away, she is reassigned to detainee control. All of the people inside her tape are to be identified and interviewed All are transported to the control area outside the sector Guardian barracks, where adequate resources are always available to interview and if necessary to retain prisoners..
The Christian boy she drafted to help, young man actually, still has blood on his hands. He looks at her, not the usual casual glance or hate stare of the nazrani, but as if he is fascinated with her.
She takes a handful of hand wipes from the ever-present wall rack and drops them into his hands, gesturing to the biohazard trash bag.
“Did she live?” he asks her. “The medics carried her quickly up the stairs.”
She shrugs unwillingly.
“Inshallah. I do not know. What is your name?”
“David. David Bains.”
A good nazrani name, some part of her thinks. David though, David who slew Goliath, and was king after Solomon. Less wise, but still of great wisdom.
“I am Chaya Al-Hadin.” Courtesy for courtesy.
“I do not believe I have ever heard the name of a Guardian before.”
“We have them – although less often used. Were any of your family hurt?”
“No, I am the only one who works. Although I have probably lost my job for failure to report. There are many who want few positions.”
She nods. That is not just, that a man who saved his life should lose his livelihood for it.
“I will see what I can do. Are you comfortable?”
He finishes wiping the blood from his hands and throws the wipes in the red bag. He is slow to answer.
“This is the most courteous of all the times I have been detained.”
Her eyes track the detainees; she is still on duty. There are benches, and overhead tents for shade, and water and cups. They have all been searched, of course, and hold forlornly onto property receipts. Their identity papers are of course receipted – so those receipts are all that stand between them and imprisonment as a stateless person.
Adequate.
“And how oft have you been detained, David Bains?”
“Is the interrogation to start now?” he replies briskly.
She shakes her head.
“No. You most probably saved a life, and even if you did not, Allah rewards kind deeds. You also have my thanks, for what little they are worth.”
It is his turn to shake his head.
“You are a Guardian. You have the power of life and death, and you say your thanks are worth little?”
She looks around briefly, and on impulse takes a seat next to the detainee.
“I do not have that power. I am a slave of Allah, the more so because I am a willing slave. I serve the cause of justice, to carry the scales for those who make the wise decisions. Mullahs, magistrates, and even the Emir, Allah preserve him, are those who have the power – and they are most cautious men. Allah will not spare them should they be unjust.”
He says nothing, but looks dubious.
“I wish that Christians understood us better. You, in your own right as a resident of this land, could petition the Emir for justice and he would see you, hear your story and pronounce his judgment. I can pray for justice only for myself, no one else, and have no other power.”
He glances down to the weapons on her belt.
She is not afraid. Her training encourages weapons retention and separation from potential hostiles, but she reads absolutely no hostile intent from him. Only burning curiosity.
“We live in a world of fallen Men, not among the angels and efreeti. I am no strongman to carry a scimitar or small-sword.”
“We are forbidden arms.”
Thus it goes again. The endless debate that rears its ugly head when Christian and Muslim are briefly human, and discourse as if they are of the same social class.
She shakes her head, as if tossing off a fly, and starts to get up.
He speaks quickly.
“Thank you, Chaya, for the lives you save and the lives you will save.”
Her eyes flash involuntarily at this over-familiar use of her first name, her family name. She realizes that she is smiling.
“Thank you, David, for exactly the same, and you not even sworn to Allah's will.”
She does get up, and goes back about her duties.
She does not see his eyes follow.

NOW

“Action stations.”
She checks the loads on her rifle and pistol. Her position is very dangerous. A technician will blow the door. She will be first in. The second and third will be soldiers of the Emir armed only with shock wands. Fourth and fifth, Guardians from the Capitol Brigade with needle submachine guns and underbarrel stunners. Then more soldiers.
Impulsively she slings the rifle and draws the electrowire projector. It feels comfortable in her left hand, the Left Hand of the Damned. The pistol she holds in her right hand.
She has drilled extensively on dynamic entry and on two-handed combat. It is one of the reasons she is assigned to the first position, or “point” as the soldiers put it.
She has dark suspicions about other reasons. To prove the bravery of a female Guardian? To hold the fire of Christians who see first a woman? To make a martyr of the Muslim woman who saved Christian lives at WAT Jedda?
No matter. She has a mission.
The technician rigs the charge against the door.
She knocks.
“Open in the name of the Emir!” she bellows. An essential courtesy, required by law.
The charge detonates. The waiting period waived in the interests of saving life.
Under Islamic law, no right is or can be universal. A mullah or magistrate will think long and hard before setting aside essential liberties, but set them aside he will, for sufficient provocation. The Emir handles only the most difficult matters; for him the law is a guide, not a straitjacket.
This is a bomb shop.
She steps through the shattered door and sights targets. A woman and a man.
She shoots the woman immediately with her electrowire. The quad of meshed darts strike her and she falls the floor, limply and hard, convulsing. The cartridge ejects with its battery, set for thirty seconds, and the second cartridge ready light flashes green.
The pistol falls out of the woman's hand. Christian in possession of arms is good for ten years close confinement, minimum.
The fraction of a second is enough for the man to turn.
She shoots him with the electrowire as well, and drops the projector, as it has been expended. The soldiers with shock wands move past her into the apartment. She advances as well.
Others behind her will truss and secure.
Her job now is a matter of fine discretion and exquisite judgment.
A bedroom, once. Now tables and chairs and desks. Almost a jewelry shop, is her first glance, then she sees the wires and chemicals.
The man sitting at the table convulses and falls backward; a soldier has tapped him in the head. The wires fall out of his hands.
A boy, perhaps ten years of age, comes out of the other room dragging a rifle in his hands.
“Drop it now!” she orders briskly, as if she is telling him not to take a pastry from her shop. She is already moving towards him, as if to give him the thrashing his mother clearly never gave him, for being a thief.
He reaches down. She snap-kicks him in the center of the chest, hard. He flies backward with the rifle out of his hand.
A shout from the other room. A bitter old man's shout.
She follows into the next room.
The old man has a shotgun. He sees her and snarls.
There is no time, no time at all.
She looks at him, almost sadly, and shoots him repeatedly in the chest, holding the barrel on target between rounds. On the fourth round she stops; the shotgun has fallen out of his hand.
The boy is against the wall, wheezing and watching. He starts to crawl towards the shotgun.
She puts her foot on it.
“No.”
He stops, looking at her and at the old man.
Soldiers fill the room. The boy is trussed; the old man too.
A soldier-medic is soon summoned to treat the old man's injuries. He spits on the medic, who ignores it and keeps working. Shortly his hands are tied to the stretcher.


“Nicely done, Guardian Al-Hadin. Could nothing have been done to stop the old man without shooting him?”
Despite all efforts, he had expired on the way to the hospital. His last gaze was bitterly pleased, as if he had escaped by dying the way he had wanted to.
“He had his hand on the grip and finger on the trigger. I could not get close enough to knock the shotgun barrel clear. The soldiers were behind me still. It was him or me, and with a shotgun with slugs he could have killed soldiers as well.”
Of course the camera she wore told the story – but it could not tell what she had been thinking.
The Morals Officer was a jolly fat man in his forties. That he walked with a cane and had scars on face and body from a previous operation was obvious. Why he was so cheerful, less so.
“I have seen the videos, both ours and those run by the adversaries. I agree completely, and will so endorse in my report. You saved three lives. Of the three, the boy's may be most profitable.”
The bomb-maker, the man caught actually in the act, there could be no question of saving his life. The ruling was that all such were to be brought to the Question, and permitted to die only when all the knowledge that could save lives had been extracted. Even then, the bomb-maker was covered by the Surah on the taking of innocent life.
The Emir had outlawed crucifixion as the suffering of an honored martyr for a just cause, a nod to his Christian subjects. Therefore once his broken body had given up all its secrets, the bomb maker would be nursed back to relative health and then quite publicly impaled and exposed.
It took days to die on the stake, a horrible death. She had seen it.
Not quite enough for a bomber, in her private opinion.
The Morals Officer continued.
“I have concerns about you, Al-Hadin. Many concerns, which recent events intensify and do not address.”
Chaya quailed inwardly. Here it comes again.
“A Guardian is expected to be scrupulous in private life. Yet Guardians are human, and the All-Seeing-Eye must turn inward from time to time. It is my duty to be the Mirror of the Eye, and what I must say now, from an unmarried man to an unmarried woman, is strictly in the service of that duty. Do you wish to have another Guardian present?”
She shook her head. No.
“You are unmarried, living at home with your mother, of your father's second marriage. You father, Allah rest his soul, has been in Paradise these four years. Forgive me, your mother is a harridan. It is understandable that you have little influence over her – yet her complaints continue and must be addressed each time, at cost of resources. We have no barracks for female Guardians except at the Capitol, and that is too far away for your duties here.
“Do you wish to continue in the Guardianhood?”
“What other options do I have, sir?”
“The military is always looking for skilled female personnel, if only because there are so very few. The Bodyguard of the Illustrious Emir may consider your application, although one never knows. There is always the fire-rescue or the Crescent, you would be a credit to either. The path of the Guardian may take you to the capitol. But if you choose to try to straddle this fence, you may end up impaled on it.
“I have here a witnessed and sworn complaint from the mutwara, the religious police, that you are as yet unmarried. You have been seen in the company of women and they imagine all sorts of potential there.
“I have seen your psychological profile. What I have to say to you, I say in my duty. Did you know that you are bisexual?”
The world spun around Chaya. Disaster, utter disaster. A single forbidden kiss flashed through her mind, like fire. The Morals Officer caught it of course. He was conversant with many sins, not least of which by commission, said the rumors.
“I see. You have not acted on these impulses which is good. Allah judges us by our deeds, not our thoughts. You have not dated or sought the company of marriageable men. This is not so good. Your fellow Guardians are forbidden to you, and the two who forgot this have been . . . reminded.
“I am concerned not only with your career as a Guardian, but with your health as a person and the state of your most essential relationship, that with Allah. It is time for you to make unpleasant decisions.”
“Sir?”
“I could close this chapter of your life by transferring you to Capitol. However this would evoke resentment on your part, understandably so, and effectively sever relations with your second mother without any closure. Also, sending someone as naïve as you to the Capitol Brigade might as well be human sacrifice, which is forbidden.
“That was a joke, Guardian.
“If you wish to remain in this unit, you must establish separate residence from your family. I suggest living with Muslims of good character, who can vouch for you should it become needful. A list of suitable persons has been sent to your E-mail. We can also screen anyone you choose of your own.
“Further. I see no particular reason why an unmarried woman of good character should resolutely avoid the company of unmarried men, also of good character. Allah created us male and female, one of the great blessings.”
“Sir, with respect, I have to hear this speech from my mother, twice and three and even five times day! Do I really have to hear all of this from you as well? Are you quite sure you are acting within your bounds?”
His reply was slow to come. She looked at him. A jolly plump man in an ill-fitting uniform, that of a Guardian of the Faith, with a hand-tooled and gleamingly polished but subtly worn duty belt. A little more jewelry than was strictly within the standard, on both wrists and the neck and one ring on each hand, but all of it bearing the Crescent as was proper.
She tried to imagine what he saw. A Guardian, if a junior one? A creature with tits and lacking a proper veil? Or some hybrid monstrosity in between?
Chaya shrugged off the image with a will, not for the first time.
“Yes, I am acting within my duties. You have a duty to Allah. My duty is to support you in your duties, and not just the ones that may draw your greatest attention from moment to moment. You have been steadfast in your desire to be a Guardian as a career, not as a tour leading to other things. Is this still true?”
“Yes, sir!”
“Therefore you must be both a Guardian and a woman. Your progress as a Guardian is more than satisfactory. It cannot continue that this be at the expense of your duty to Allah to become a mother and to raise boys and girls to become men and women in their turn. Because we are neither nazrani nor efreeti, that means a man, and marriage. However unpalatable the prospect may be.
“You are neither the first nor the last Guardian I will have this particular discussion with. I recall a young Guardian twenty years ago, who flew out of his chair in a rage at the suggestion that his preference for the company of . .. ahem . . . boys of less than ideal moral character . . . reflected poorly on him and on his faith. Particularly because the suggestion was in fact quite true, reflected in acts and not merely thoughts.”
“What happened to him?”
“He is presently the Morals Officer of the Al-Jahim brigade.”
The world spun around her. The jolly but strict Guardian across from her, a sodomite? She wondered if his back bore scars from lashes. She could not help but wonder if he pitched, or catched, or even worse did both. Many jokes and rumors became exquisitely clear.
“My superiors know. I am watched, as you are watched, as all Guardians are watched. I became a Guardian because I was guided to become so. As you were, and are. We best serve Allah not from an illusion of moral superiority, but by a conscious choice to be Allah's slave and not a tool of the Great Deceiver. You needed to know this thing, not because it pleases me to tell you, but so that you come to a greater understanding of what it is to be a Guardian.
“Someday you may sit in this chair and counsel some Guardian towards the paths of righteousness. Some lovestruck boy who would marry a slattern, or older officer who is unhappy with his wife and is tempted to great sin, or if Allah and the Emir permit it, some nazrani Guardian who can reconcile the triple dialectic of Christ and Allah and the rule of the Emir.”
Nazrani Guardian? She blinked. It was technically possible; few positions in the service of the Emir precisely required that one be a devout Muslim, but in practice few nazrani expressed interest and fewer were considered. The odds were greater that a Druze or Jew would be a Guardian; there were a few of each, highly prized for their insight and perspective and access to the small communities from which they came.
“It would be a great waste if you were not to marry. Worse yet if you were to sin, unprotected by marriage and your husband's protection. Worst of all to sin in secret, unrepentant and unforgiven, to be tormented in the fires and drink of salt water and eat of the plant that gives only hunger. You need not have a marriage like your mother's. You will find that many young men are more flexible in thought and in tolerance.
“This is too much for you today. You have until the first of next month to establish separate residence. If you do not, your term of enrollment as a Guardian will be expired and we will transfer you to . . . .” a pause while he clicked keys on the profile on his screen “. . . the fire-rescue brigade as an apprentice rescue technician. You did well, at WAT Judda and on this latest operation. If you do not have the morals of a Guardian, best we not lose your nerve and steadiness under the flail.
“Dismissed.”
Her feet carried her out of the room, and to the lockers, and to the shower, and as she changed into street clothes for the walk home.
Her mind raced.
Leave home? Sodomites in the Guardians? Marry and bear a child? Suckle a babe and carry a pistol? Date? As a moral duty?
It was too much. She needed a cup of coffee, and not just one or two. Her feet carried her into the StarDinar, and her identity card paid for two double shots of rich dark coffee, and her eyes scanned the crowd as her thoughts bounced to and fro through her brain.
She knew exactly what had been done. It was covered in Guardian training. The moment of truth, when several facts are expertly brought together, presenting the suspect with a clear choice between doing good and doing evil. Or as in her case, doing one good or another good. There was no shame in being a rescue technician, and female technicians were in great demand for many reasons. But female Guardians were much more rare, and much more greatly needed.
Her moment of truth: to leave home, slough off her mother and take the next steps towards womanhood, not just for her development as a Guardian but for her own soul.
She took a deeper sip. It scalded but the pain brought focus.
He had not exactly said that she could not ever enjoy the company of women. He implied rather the opposite – if she was married.
They had said in the Guardian Academy, “You career will be fraught with moral dilemma.”
Now she understood.

Date: 2010-08-15 10:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ravan.livejournal.com
Interesting universe. The logical extension of an Islamic sharia law diaspora that is forced to be... pragmatic, yet ends up faced with the same problems that the 'evil west' has.

Date: 2010-08-15 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drewkitty.livejournal.com
Exactly. A devout Islamist believes that the sharia state aligned with Allah can solve all social problems and bring about peace and stability. Giving every benefit of the doubt, this is my chance as a sociologist to kick the concept around the head and shoulders a bit.

Date: 2010-08-15 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janetmiles.livejournal.com
Not at all what I started out expecting, based on the first couple of paragraphs.

I would enjoy seeing more of Chaya Al-Hadin, if you choose to write more about her.

Or, of course, anything else you choose to write.

Date: 2010-08-15 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rickvs.livejournal.com
I think I'd like to read as much of this story as you're willing to post.

Date: 2010-08-16 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] finnkveldulfr.livejournal.com
Interesting.

Not at all a bad portrayal of what Sharia law is *supposed* to be, based on the Quran and the Hadith and Sunnah. Though still not a code of law I'd like to live under.

Date: 2010-08-16 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rue-gingertabby.livejournal.com
From the first word that you wrote, I was given a glimpse into a slice of a different reality. I also would enjoy seeing more of this Chaya al-Hadin.

Date: 2010-08-17 06:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alcira.livejournal.com
Wow... I got lost a bit but that was really neat.
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