Monday, February 27, 2006

Martian Intafada part three

The above picture is of Kyoto on Mars. We can also see very clearly the Mars space elevator. The black dome that covers the above ground part of the city absorbs sunlight which it converts into electricity.

Two weeks after taking over the railroad construction project khalid was starting to feel he had gotten things under control, or as under control as you can get anything on Mars. Of course just as he had gotten over the shock of the conscripted labor force he was to use, he was given another surprise that the labor force was 30% female. During construction it was impossible to pick out the females from the males, unless you looked them directly in the face as they were all in their Mars suits. He had cut the work period from 16 hours a day to twelve and the more rested workers made less mistakes; and with less mistakes they were actually now closing in on where the project should actually be.

He had expected Lt. Watanabe to protest, but realized when the protest did not materialize, that when the workers were sent to their barracks that the security personal were able to go back to theirs to play cards, drink and play hentai games which seemed to be all the rage with them. The attraction to hentai was something Khalid was quite sure he would never figure out.

Now security was not all happy with him, as he had befriended one of the workers, which was apparently taboo. But when Khalid had realized that Yusef Wehbe not only spoke Arabic fluently, but also had a masters degree in civil engineering he decided that it was not security’s business who he was friends with.

Khalid had worried that he would have to give all of his instructions through a hand held translator box, notoriously unreliable and able to create not a small number of giggles. Then on his third day of work he found Yusef Wehbe, a short dark skinned Indonesian with glasses.

Yusef was a crew leader of one of the drill teams. The huge drills were extremely loud even in the thin atmosphere of Mars. Yusef had started asking Khalid about the soil and rock composition and in no time Khalid had realized that Yusef knew what he was talking about. After a few questions discovered that Yusef had received his bachelors from the University of Jakarta and his Masters from Louisiana State University.

Khalid was very surprised when Yusef invited him to come for Friday Jummah prayer. He had known that most of the workers were Muslims, from Indonesia and Malaysia, only about 15% of the workers were Phillapino Christians, and that the Muslim workers got together for prayers. As Khalid had not been to a Masjid since his wife and daughter died he had not considered joining them.

“I haven’t made salat in two years” he explained.

“That’s all right Khalid, but didn’t you say that you came to Mars to get away? Well on Earth you did not make salat, now you are on Mars you should make salat.” Said Yusef cheerfully.

Not wanting to upset the one person on Mars who did not bore him or terrify him, Khalid agreed to go. Khalid went with Yusef to the workers barracks that Friday. The workers had cleared out the commons and turned it into a prayer hall. Yusef had him sit down with some friends of his and then excused himself. Khalid simply assumed that his friend had gone to make wudu and was surprised to see him climb the mimbar to deliver the khutba. Khalid had known that Yusef was a hafis but had not realized that he was a khatib.

He listened intently to the khutbah thinking that maybe it would give him insights into his new friend. The khutbah was mostly about the Prophet Musa (PBUH). Khalid felt that he knew or at least was familiar with everything that was being said it was the closing comments that got to him Yusef closed by quoting a hadith about oppression.
On the authority of Abu Saeed Al-Khurdari, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say: “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

This hit home to him, he had seen how badly the workers were treated. He knew that they were conscripts and that some of them were political prisoners. He knew that at the end of a very hard workday they were all hustled into the giant inflatable barracks with no privacy and barely enough food and water.

After the Jummah prayer khalid found himself making sunnah salat. Yusef found him in the crowd milling about afterwards and took him aside.

“How did you like the khutba”? asked Yusef.

“It was very good. Got me thinking about how things are.”

“I was hoping it would. I would like to talk to you about how things are on Mars and how things could be.”

“I’d like that”, replied Khalid. He then followed Yusef into a storage, which had had, it’s security cameras accidentally broken.
“So have you ever heard of the Brotherhood of the Golden Circle?” asked Yusef.

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