Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fethullahbad

News Alert

A group calling itself the Munathifeen, have declared that they intend to destroy the lunar
colony of Fethullahbad, calling it a nest of heresy. The Security forces of Fethullabad are
on high alert, taking the threat very seriously as several months ago the Munathifeen
bombed the Trans-Africa west to east bullet train.


The large egg shaped supply ship the Tel est mon Destin maneuvered to dock. Lit
up from the bottom by the port lights the bright green ship stood out brilliantly against the
dark lunar sky. After it was fully secure in the docking bay the ports passenger air lock was extended to the ship.

Tariq Ramadan, Fethullahbad’s 32 year old head of Helium 3 Mining stood in the
ultra-modern lounge rocking on his heels and playing with his mustache nervously while looking out the large window as he watched the ship’s and port’s airlocks connect. He read the ship’s slogan which was painted in red beneath the ships name, which was painted in black, ‘semper ubi sub ubi’ and laughed. Tariq had done his PhD at Cal Tech and just for fun had taken a Latin class; he had traded silly expressions in Latin with Jacques Cartier who while 20 years older often made him feel the senior member of the friendship, the captain and owner of the Tel est mon Destin, since the first time they had met at one of his boss’s garden parties.
He would have liked to talk with Captain Cartier today but Tariq was not there to see his old friend but to meet a representative from the United Nations. He was to show the UN rep Miko Hayama around Fethullahbad, so that the United Nations could have some idea of what they would need to do to build a large lunar colony. The United Nations’ Trans-National lunar base was to be its boldest project ever.

Tariq stood watching the passengers disembark, new workers from Turkey who had come to work in hydroponics, a few tourist from China, a couple coming back from making umrah. Just as he had started to worry that Miko Hayama had missed boarding the Tel est mon Destin he saw Captain Cartier, walking towards him with a young attractive looking east Asian woman whom he assumed to be one of the Chinese tourists.

Captain Cartier swaggered over to Tariq with the young lady in tow and with a wide smile introduced his companion. “Tariq, I would like you to meet the United Nations representative Miko Hayama. Miko Hayama please meet Tariq Ramadan my good friend and chief engineer in charge of helium 3 mining here at Fethullahbad.” Tariq returned Miko’s subtle bow and was thankful that she had not tried to shake his hand.

Detective Ehab Tawfik waited patiently sipping hot chai out of an old chipped orange ceramic cup in the spaceport’s coffee shop. He rubbed the scar that ran down the left side of his face partially hidden by his close cropped beard. He had gotten it from a car bomb while on assignment in Baghdad. Tawfik watched as the passengers disembarked from the supply ship Tel est mon Destin. Detective Tawfik spotted the man he was waiting for AbuLaith Al-Libi. Since leaving the Iraqi national police 4 years ago and becoming the chief detective, ok only detective in Fethullahbad, the biggest case he had was some missing welding rods, and it turned out those had been just misplaced. Now he had a real case, AbuLaith Al-Libi had been identified by Egyptian Intelligence as a member of the terrorist organization Munathifeen. AbuLaith’s thin build, scruffy facial hair and thick round glasses made him appear to be a mild mannered librarian, not a wild eyed anti-techno fanatic.

Detective Tawfik quickly downed the rest of his chai as he stood up and started to follow AbuLaith to his hotel. Tawfik remembered his maternal grandfather, a retired agent of the Syrian Intelligence agency, talk of the good old days. No following the guy around, grandfather would have grabbed him and started what was euphemistically called a hard interrogation. Tawfik smiled as he recalled the disappointment in the old man’s face when he learned that his grandson had never thrown anyone out of an airlock.

Of course even granddad would not have caused a scene in front of a United Nations diplomat. If she would have come on time maybe he would have been a little tempted to grab AbuLaith right there at the space dock.

Tariq picked up Ms. Hayama’s luggage two new large pink plastic suitcases both of which Tariq found to be surprisingly heavy in the lunar gravity. He wondered if she had vacuumed packed her entire wardrobe and brought it with her. They took the lift to the train station and were quickly whisked over to the Marriot on the moon. Which Tariq pointed out was the finest hotel in Fethullabad and Miko pointed out was the only hotel in Fethullahbad. The hotel’s desk clerk admitted that Miko was right but he assured her that just because they had this Monopoly they did not skimp on the facilities. The hotel had two swimming pools, a health club with racquetball courts, weight rooms, treadmills and saunas. He also warned her against playing racquetball until she got used to the gravity.

After checking in Ms. Hayama wanted to see the Helium 3 processing center right away. The Helium 3 Mining operation was Fethullahbad’s most important industry as it accounted for 96% of their exports, followed by aluminum and computer software. As they toured the processing facility Ms. Hayama fired out questions one after another, Tariq tried to answer as best as he could. Helium 3, Tariq noted is perhaps the only lunar resource economically valuable enough to export to earth and that the polar craters have the highest concentrations on the moon and the highest known concentrations in the solar system.

The energy payback for mining, processing and sending Helium 3 to earth, are an increase factor of 250. Tariq went on to explain that they were able to mine it on the lunar surface in safety because of the magnetic shielding which not only protected the people of Fethullahbad from Solar radiation but the miners on the surface as well. Tariq answered all her questions on the details of the mining operations day to day costs, such as labor, equipment and fuel. He spoke to her for three hours on the subject and when he finally dropped her back to her hotel he felt exhausted.
Tariq walked into his apartment and plunked down on his favorite old overstuffed chair. Before he could close his eyes he wife Shakira called out to him.

“Tariq Ramadan I know you have not forgotten today is your day to cook dinner”?
Tariq groaned loudly as he stood up and walked to the kitchen. The problem with a wife that worked was they had to share the cooking. He did not complain about her working for this was how they had met 2 years ago here on the moon, both of their parents had all but given up on the idea that either of them would get married. They had met on the train Tariq was swallowed up by her big brown eyes. He had stumbled through some small talk with her and after she got off, he had done everything he could to find out anything about her. As it turned out they were both Hydrabadi, their families were happy and 3 months later with Shakira’s supervisor acting as wali they were married.

Tariq pulled a bag of frozen samosas out of the freezer and started up the rice cooker. After throwing the samosas into the microwave he started cooking instant dal on the stove top. Then he set the table and put out a jar of lemon pickle for Shakira and one of Tomato pickle for himself. The dinner wasn’t going to win any awards but they both enjoyed it.

“The woman made me uncomfortable always so close to me, and what type of name is Miko for a woman anyway. It ends in an O, female names end with A” said Tariq his voice filled with irritation.

Trying not to laugh Shakira said “That is only European languages like Spanish and Italian. And how did this little woman, who when I saw her looked under 150 centimeters, make you a big tall man of nearly 200 centimeters, uncomfortable.”

“I told you she was always to close to me and she kept staring at me. I do believe she was undressing me with her eyes.”

“Oh now I know you are being silly. If she had undressed you with her eyes, she would have seen you naked and would have stopped staring at you.” Said Shakira now laughing as she could no longer hold it in, soon Tariq joined her in laughing. Shakira then noted that if he had kept his gaze down he would not have noticed Ms. Miko Hayama looking at him. He responded that Miko would be Shakira’s responsibility tomorrow as Shakira was to take her on a tour of the power station and that she would want to see the magnetic field control center.

After a light breakfast and 3 cups of extra strong coffee to which Shakira added far too much sugar and stirred with a cinnamon stick, Shakira set off for work. Half way there she remembered that she had to pick up Miko Hayama and doubled back to the Marriot on the moon. There she had another cup of coffee with Miko They discussed the new space elevator being built in Northern Brazil and how it was being plagued with cost over runs.

Detective Tawfik had been monitoring AbuLaith for 24 hours and nothing. He had not met with anyone, nor bought any odd assortment of items that could perhaps be made into a bomb. Twice while he was out of his room to eat, detective Tawfik had searched his room, both times with an electronic super nose to try and sniff out explosives. This had been a desperate measure by the detective as all the passengers luggage had been x-rayed, sniffed and rummaged through before they had even boarded the supply ship to Fethullahbad.

An exasperated Tawfik drank down his tenth cup of coffee while looking over the passenger lists of the Tel est mon Destin and the two ships that had come in before AbuLaith had arrived.
“Ehab do you think the bomb could be inside of him?” asked Sergeant AbuHamza Ibn Hamza.
Tawfik looked at the sergeant shaking his head in the negative as well as in disbelief that the sergeant was still wearing the newly arrived riot Armor. Hamza is young; he thought and had only been on the job for 9 months so riot armor was the kind of toy that impressed him. There had been a riot on Fethullahbad. The biggest public disturbance had been a sit down protest in front of the Co-Op protesting the Co-Ops dropping of spicy canned hummus.

“No sergeant everyone getting on the supply ship and getting off was x-rayed. We would have found the bomb even if it was inside of him.”

“Oh” he replied his face falling.

“Of course AbuHamza not everyone was X-rayed That UN diplomat wouldn’t have been.”

“Yeah but she is a Japanese national and according to her passport a Buddhist. Hard to believe she would be working with the Munathifeen.”

“You are right of course but just to be on the safe side lets call down to Interpol and see if we cannot get a record of her movements for the last 4 months.”

Shakira showed off the solar station and explained that since the moon did not tilt like the earth this meant that at the lunar poles is perpetually near the horizon. And in practical terms that there is more solar power available from the slanting sunlight on the outer walls of the polar craters than from directly overhead at the moons equator. In fact the sun’s illumination was available to them 80% of the time unlike the equator where it was only available 50% of the time. This is why they were able to supply all of Fethullahbad’s energy needs with solar power. Of course Shakira added that it was those long shadows which produced the very cold temperatures in the craters which allowed the Helium 3 to build up and also allowed the super conducting coils, which run all around the crater, to produce the magnetic field that protected the lunar colony of Fethullahbad from being flooded by solar radiation.

2 hours later Sergeant Abu Hamza Ibn Hamza and Detective Tawfik munched on spicy potato samosas and looked over printouts of the movements of UN representative Miko Hayama for the last 4 months. Far from being any kind of Munathifeen sympathizer she had spent the last 4 months working with women’s groups in the Sudan, helping them work against religious heretics. Ironically after a car accident she had been taken to a green shield clinic. The green shield clinics were run by the Munathifeen as a way to build public support.

And it was then that detective Tawfik saw all the pieces fall together, the car accident which had delayed rep. Hayama’s arrival had been no accident, it had been a block from the green shield medical clinic. The Munathifeen had known that there was no way they would get anyone near any crucial areas in Fethullahbad. But the UN representative would be given tours of them. The doctor at the clinic told her she had internal bleeding and whether she did or not he opened her up. If anything were wrong, you can’t have your bomb carrier die, and then put a bomb inside of her.

“Hamza, find out where Miko Hayama is right now and get her inside one of our cells.”

“Are we arresting her?”

“No, the cell walls are impervious to any type of radio signal, now Hamza, get her now.”

Grabbing his phone he dialed the hospital and explained that it was a matter of extreme urgency that a surgical team goes to the police station right away. Once the situation was made clear to the hospital Tawfik hung up the phone and while standing up grabbed his taser gun off the wall. His expression grew dark as he hoped that AbuLaith would give him an excuse to use it.
Malaysian yeah yeah music played in the background as Tariq and Shakira ate curried beef with 3 different types of rice at the little Kuala Lumpur restaurant. Between bites of curried beef and sips of cola they discussed their day.

Tariq talked quickly as he was very excited by all that had happened. “So, I am standing there on the train platform waiting for the C train to show up and detective Ehab comes running down the stairs and starts yelling at this guy, some tourist. The tourist tries to run and Ehab tasers him 3 times. The poor guy is lying on the ground completely out of it and Ehab rushes up to him whips out his hand cuffs and slaps them on the fellow. He yanks the fellow up and just drags the semi-conscience guy out. And I still haven’t seen anything about it on the Fethullahbad news site yet.”

“Well, right in the middle of my tour of the solar plant to Ms. Hayama deputy Abu Hamza comes rushing in, wearing some type of body armor and states he needs to take Ms. Hayama into protective custody. He then whisks her off to the police station. And get this my friend Jamila who works over at the hospital says a surgical team was ordered over to the police station at about the same time. Think it might have been an assassination attempt?”

“Tell you what love, after Isha prayer we will check the Fethullahbad news site and hopefully by then they will have updated it with the whole story.”

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hadith

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reported by Umar bin al-Khattab

What I fear most for my people are the hypocrites, who talk wisely, yet act unjustly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Al-Hujwiri The Kashf al-Mahjub

Al-Hujwiri, "The Kashf al-Mahjub"

Those loved by God are held in contempt by the vulgar, and those who deem themselves virtuous may not be so in the eyes of God....Public ridicule is the very sustenance of the chosen of God. They rejoice in it, just as others rejoice in popularity, for they know that it is a sign that they are close to Him. As God said, "My chosen are hidden under My cloak. Besides Me, only the elect know who they are."

-Al-Hujwiri The Kashf al-Mahjub

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Recon Drone

video

Confederate Recon Drones engage and destroy an automated Imperial sentry.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hadith

Reported by Nayeem bin Mas'ud, Sahih al-Bukhari

I heard the Prophet narrate the story of another Prophet [Jesus] before him, whose people beat him and caused him to bleed. Even as he wiped the blood off his face he said, "Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do!"

-Reported by Nayeem bin Mas'ud, Sahih al-Bukhari

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Names of Mars

The many names of the Planet Mars; Nergal by the Babylonians; Ares by the Greeks, Horus the red by the ancient Egyptians; In India it is Angaraka in Sanskrit as well as Mangala and Kuja; the Hebrews call it Ma’adim; It is Al-Mirrikh in both Arabic, Urdu and Persian; To the Turks it is Merih; to the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese it is the Fire Star. In mandarin Huoxing. Korean it is pronounced Hwasung. In Japan it is said as Kasei. It is Marte in spanish; to the Scots it is Maurs; for the Basque it is Martitza. In Tamil it is Sevvaay. The Thais call it Angkarn. In Malay it is Marikh

In the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels about Mars he has the locals call the planet Barsoom.
It is also frequently referred to as the red planet. The name of Cairo, the capital of modern Egypt, comes from "Al Qahira," an ancient Arabic name for Mars.

If you have more names for the planet Mars please post them in the comments section.