A few days back I mentioned the International Intruder, as a tabloid style inside joke of sorts. If you haven't seen it, just click on the Intruder tag below and you'll find it soon enough. At our joint blog a couple of days ago, we did an interview with one of our characters in the tabloid style. Check it out if you haven't seen it. Today, I'm doing the same with one of my characters, and it's an introduction. Navi Rauf is the primary villain in the next book I'll be writing, called Sword of the Faith. It takes place a year before Heaven & Hell, and the character and his organization rate a mention or two in the latter book. Obviously the character himself, as you'll see... probably wouldn't have nearly as much patience with a real reporter as he does with this tabloid one, let alone a sense of humour. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Exclusive to readers of the International Intruder, an interview with a wanted terrorist.
Navi Rauf, leader of the group calling itself Saif al Din, or in English, Sword Of The Faith, agreed to speak with this reporter at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Middle East. This reporter met with associates of Rauf, was blindfolded and taken by car well out into the desert. There, at a non-descript home late at night, this reporter personally interviewed Rauf. The man himself has the hard look of someone who’s lived on the rough edge of life. For over twenty years, Rauf and his group have been hunted by intelligence agencies, police organizations, and military forces across the world. They are implicated in multiple attacks, bombings, and assassinations.
Intruder: Mr. Rauf, you are considered one of the most wanted men in the world among law enforcement and intelligence communities, though you’re not as well known to the general public. Why do you think that is?
Rauf: Unlike some of the higher profile resistance groups, we don’t have spokesmen or media outlets on speed dial. That’s the sort of behavior that tends to end up with unmanned drones launching missiles on you, after all. We do try to be careful.
Intruder: And yet you’re speaking to us, as a reporter, now.
Rauf: True. There are times when it’s required. And we’ve been careful with you. We know you are not being traced in any way, and even if you were to find your way back here, we would be long gone.
Intruder: You’ve committed a large number of attacks and operations against multiple targets since the founding of your organization. What is your purpose?
Rauf: That’s for me to know and for them to find out.
Intruder: That doesn’t qualify as an answer. Who’s them?
Rauf: The law enforcement and intelligence communities, as you say.
Intruder: Surely you can answer the question, sir. What drives your group?
Rauf: They would call us terrorists. Zionists. The fools of the West. Those who would seek to accomodate, to be at peace. And yet too often, they are the ones who have brought terror, with their smart bombs and their indiscriminate killings. If that is the only language they understand, then we will reply in such words. We bring their terror back upon them ten fold. You ask what drives us? Look at a child or a young mother slaughtered by a bomb that fell off course. Look at what’s left of them. That is reason enough, don’t you think?
Intruder: We imagine that’s sufficient, yes.
Rauf: I wasn’t being too overly dramatic, was I?
Intruder: Our readers will make that decision for themselves.
Rauf: Very well. You don’t mind if I ask a question of you, do you?
Intruder: Of course not.
Rauf: Why do you do that whole referring to yourself in the plural thing? You say we imagine, or our readers. Is that some sort of personal eccentricity, or a journalism default position?
Intruder: We have no idea what you’re talking about.
Rauf: There. You just did it again.
Intruder: Did what?
Rauf: Never mind.
Intruder: Shall we get back to it?
Rauf: Do you mean we in the sense of you and I talking, or we in the sense of referring to yourself?
Intruder: We swear, we don’t know where you’re getting this from.
Rauf: Just ask the next question before I start to get into a bad mood.
Intruder: Your organization was implicated in the Geneva bombing last year, and in the assassination of the Jordanian ambassador to the UN the year before that. These are but two incidents on the record of Saif al Din. What do you have to say to those who had family members killed in such attacks?
Rauf: Casualties that were required in an ongoing war.
Intruder: And yet just moments ago you spoke of indiscriminate killings.
Rauf: Our operations are directed and focused. Yes, there are times when innocent lives are lost, but such is war. And this is a war, believe me. Who else will stand up to those who would seek to crush us beneath our heels, if not those of us with strength? Who else will do what needs to be done?
Intruder: You know, you almost sound like you could be running for office speaking like that.
Rauf: Not a chance. I don’t like politicians.
Intruder: We don’t think much of them ourselves.
Rauf: You did it again.
Intruder: Did what?
Rauf: Speaking in plural, you idiot.
Intruder: We said no such thing.
Rauf: Why did I agree to sit down with a reporter?
Intruder: If we could carry on? Your group, Saif al Din, translates in English to Sword of the Faith, does it not?
Rauf: It is a name steeped in history. The godless invaders during the Crusades met heroic men of that name. Others have carried it since. Those who follow me use the name with pride. We are the sword, the weapon of the righteous. We will drive hard into the heart of any enemy who stands against us.
Intruder: Does saying that help in the recruiting process?
Rauf: Oh, yes, you have to have something that stirs the blood, and gets your people behind you. It also helps that we don’t require anyone to become suicide bombers. Or martyrs, as they say in Hezbollah. You know, if you ask me, those guys are a little crazy.
Intruder: Have you ever wondered if maybe you should slow down? Retire? Take up a hobby? Has it occured to you that one day your luck might run out?
Rauf: I have a mission in life. When that’s the case, you don’t retire or take up a hobby. You carry out what must be done. That’s what I do.
Intruder: And if your luck does run out?
Rauf: Luck is for fools gambling on horses.
Intruder: We happen to like betting a c-note from time to time. Last time we did that, it was a horse named Lucky Never Loses. Of course, Lucky Never Loses wasn’t so lucky that night. Came in dead last. Oh, well, these things happen, but we have to just keep soldiering on.
Rauf: You’re doing it again.
Intruder: Doing what?
Rauf: Never mind. Just get out. Before I decide to have you shot. My men will take you back to where you came from.
Intruder: But we still have more questions for you...
Rauf: Next time I do one of these interviews, I’ll ask for Anderson bloody Cooper.
Post script: I could see Navi Rauf played by either Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy) or Faran Tahir (Iron Man)...