While the Supreme Court ruling was supposed to bring peace and quiet to the politics of Syria and Athens, the opposite happened but then regardless of the outcome that would have been the case. At an abandoned facility for the first time in years multiple cars arrived. Back during the Great Anarchy this facility had been the military headquarters of the Kingdom of Syria. It was in these halls that the generals and admirals of the Kingdom had planned the desperate defence against the much stronger Greek horde, and after annexation as if to punish the facility for its defiance it had been left in disrepair. Now, however, it served just fine for the new purpose. A meeting site away from the surveillance grid that had prematurely ended so many other dissident lives. Syria really was the last place in the Federation where such a meeting could take place, the network that had been rolled out in all other parts of the Federation made sure that every device with a microphone or camera acted as an extension of state power. However, perhaps anticipating the future need for resistance, Prince Bashim had intentionally slow-walked the deployment of this security system inside his Kingdom.
While the automated surveillance system had been avoided, one could still not underestimate the capabilities of the human surveillance element. As such, while a much larger group than those invited here today was needed, the risk couldn’t be taken to invite more people without risking the exposure of the plan. Those in attendance would need to bring in those they trusted themselves to make the plan possible.
As Bashim walked into what was once the War Room he was pleased to be the first there. It always looked good for a host to not be late. He nodded approvingly at the Royal Guard positioned at all doors of the room before taking a seat at the round table.
Next would be Facil Nacar, son of the late Turkish President Ahmet Nacar. The treatment of the Turkish nation at the Greek hands had been especially cruel. Not satisfied to only annex the country, all traces of the empire that had once overthrown the Eastern Roman Empire needed to be erased. The west of the country had been made part of Greece, the Kurdish regions had been turned into Kurdistan, the North had been rendered into Trebizond and anything that was left was made Circassia. President Nacar himself had been boiled alive by his own soldiers as a peace offering to the conqueror as to avoid the complete annihilation of the Turkish army. Facil wanted revenge, but much more than that he wanted to restore the Turkish nation.
After he took his seat, the next person to enter would be Sheikh Yusuf al-Mufti. The Sheikh was an influential Sunni cleric in Iraq and after the annexation of that state he needed to flee quickly to avoid arrest by the Hellenic Army as part of the political oppression of the Sunni people. The past few months he had been in exile in the Kingdom of Jordan but now he felt safe enough to enter Syria and work to free his land from the abominations that had been left inside.
With al-Mufti came a man simply known as the ‘Jordanian’. No one knew his name but al-Mufti had pledged for him and it was pretty clear he was here to represent the Jordanian security services. Athens wasn’t exactly subtle about their plans, it was only a moment of time before they would strike at Jordan and Egypt and it seemed smart for Jordan do destabilize the monster as much as possible before it could unite its forces against them.
That brought the group to the final arrival. Jawad Abdulrashid, a wealthy Egyptian trader. While he had very few political or religious convictions that could get him into this room, he did have sorely needed money and connections to Cairo. Both of these would come in important if they were to fund the fight.
With all five men in attendance all the Royal Guard except two left the room and sealed the doors shut behind them. The ones remaining were the Prince’s direct security detail and personal protection even in this secure and small gathering.
“Gentlemen, welcome to my humble abode. We have all come here to, Allah willing, bring an end to the Greek plague and the harlot charge of it. The invader has killed our men, subjugated our women and humiliated our countries. They have spit in the Prophet’s face and we can no longer stand by and hope for better treatment. The time to strike has arrived and if we wait any longer we will only become weaker. As we speak the harlot has enlisted my own sister to act against me and turn this final sanctuary in just another part of their federation. While they thought we did not know their plans, in reality we have been building up our reserves and getting ready to fight for our land and faith with all that we have. I have invited each of you here because you all have something to offer that makes you irreplaceable. Together we can rally the Islamic world against the pagans and we can even recruit some of their own as well as the Christians to resist domination from Athens.”
Bashim would continue to outline his plan, a lively debate between the various attendees followed but in the end consensus was achieved. The plan had to work or all would be lost. With that unity they each returned to bring their own part into action.
Hellenic Air One
Over the Indian Ocean
0140 Hours Athens Time
After a multi-day state visit to the Republic of Nihon, all those in attendance were exhausted. The trip had been productive but it had also been so full of activity that it had left very little time for rest. It was because of this that Lieutenant Colonel Navid Boulos would find the space plane especially quiet as he walked from the Staff Quarters to the cockpit. The Empress was sleeping in her private bedroom and all but a few members of the civil service, reporters and guards were asleep. As he arrived at the cockpit door Navid pressed the intercom button.
“Colonel Boulos here to take over from Colonel Rossini. Purple Sheep” He announced his intent, as well as the pre-generated codeword to relay to the crew in the cockpit that Navid was alone and not under duress. After a few seconds the door to the cockpit unlocked and a red haired woman in her late 30s stepped out. “She’s in perfect shape, Colonel. Autopilot should take you straight to Athens” Colonel Naomi Rossini said before shaking Navid’s hand and heading for the staff quarters to get her own rest. Navid meanwhile would step inside and lock the door behind him. Besides him only the co-pilot Major Nicholas Mitsakis was there. As the Major reached out his hand to greet Navid, Navid instead grabbed a hidden sidearm from behind his waistbelt and shot the man through the chest. As Nicholas fell back into his chair Navid sat down and began entering commands on the console.
“Deactivating autopilot” The computer announced as Navid took over steering, instead of continuing the voyage to Athens he pressed the stick down heading for the Persian Gulf. With a bit of luck they would hit Iraq but regardless of what they hit the explosion would be catastrophic.
“Warning, irregular flight movements detected. Re-enabling autopilot” The computer announced only for Navid to enter additional commands.
“Warning, security systems disabled. Warning! Crash risk” The computer continued, by now lights throughout the plane would go red and an alert klaxon would sound, but there was nothing anyone outside the cockpit could do.
“Hellenic Air One, this is Kuwait Air Traffic Control. We have you on a dangerous heading and speed. Are you in distress?” The voice of the computer was now replaced by an air traffic controller over satellite communications.
“Hellenic Air One, Kuwait ATC, are you receiving this message? Please reply with current status” The sound now came over the radio in the emergency frequency.
Another voice would soon enter the mix.
“Hellenic Air One, this is Lieutenant Commander Michail Floros of the Hellenic Navy Air Force. We are on an intercept course to investigate the cause of your erratic behaviour”
After that however the now strangely comforting voice of the computer would return.
“Proximity alert! Alter course! Proximity alert!”
Just as Navid said his final prayers Major Mitsakis regained his consciousness long enough to struggle him for control of the plane, but at this point the crash was inevitable.