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The Purge
Hasan nodded to the attendant, who clicked a button that stopped the feed of Nikolai Brandon's latest ultimatum. So. Brandon decided of his own accord to come to Mecca and hold a summit, and because Hasan declined to personally attend he was canceling, thus rendering his entire trip moot. The irrational behavior of the man failed to surprise Hasan as it did the faithful who were gathered around the table with him. What else could one expect of a man who looked only to himself? Nikolai Brandon was a deeply flawed, weak and mortal person, and left to rely on himself would fail, and if the world relied on him it would fail as well.

This council – such as it was, an organic thing of politicians, businessmen and imams who sought out Hasan's guidance – would do so to remember this of Hasan. He was merely God's servant, the lowest of the low, not some king to curry favor with or please by satisfying demands. All he could do was help them live holier lives more closely aligned to God's will.

Allah guide me. Allah protect me. Allah show me the true path.

Bashir finally spoke, breaking the silence. “Mahdi,” he said, “What can you tell us about the Ascendancy's claim to have captured imposters?”

Hasan fixed his beloved friend with a stare that would freeze fire. “Do not call him the Ascendancy. Nikolai Brandon is ascendant of nothing. He is as descended as shaytan, who in his hubris thought he could replace the Almighty One, and tempts others to believe they can as well. Only with the blessing and will of Allah can you ascend to be with Him.”

Bashir drew back and shut his eyes. “I am sorry, Mahdi.”

Hasan's heart trembled as he felt the sting of his own rebuke. He should not feel pain for speaking truth to his friend and setting him straight, but he still did, and that was a shameful reminder that he still had his own failings. He needed to strip even those away until nothing remained but a will totally and completely submissive to the will of God.

He gave Bashir a small smile. It was good that Bashir was always ready to submit himself. “Be mindful that Allah is ever merciful and forgiving. As for your question, I have dwelt on this for some time. Two things to remember are that the truth of man is always imperfect. Truth only comes from God.

“We have no way to verify the truth of Nikolai Brandon's statements. There is nothing beyond his word that places his 'captured' as the same devils who attacked us. We also cannot trust our senses which tell us they were sent by Brandon's machine. Therefore we have two conflicting possibilities here that are equally likely in their unlikeliness. These devils were exactly as they appeared and were sent by the CCD to capture or kill me – or they were sent with intent to deceive us and provoke us against the CCD.”

Achmed Pashta, a sheikh of Basra, spoke up. “What if it was the CCD, thinking we would never believe it was the CCD because nobody could be that stupid --”

Hasan put up his hand, cutting Achmed off. The man wasn't wrong in his thinking, but he missed the point Hasan was trying to make. Not wrong, but limited in his thinking, then. “Did I not just say the truth of man is imperfect? We could spend from now to eternity debating the possibilities of who was behind what. What we do know is that there are demons among us that seek to separate us from God. They seek to lead us astray. And for the sake of security, for economy, for safety, we have allowed them access to our lives. Is it any wonder when the way we live causes us to be at the mercy of demons?”

There was silence for a moment. Then Bashir Kalid Abdullah spoke up. The reporter had become an influential member among the news media after he had come to believe in Hasan's holiness. “Are you directing us to secede?”

Hasan took a breath. “I am merely here to give you the advice you seek. God is allowing these things to happen because he is calling you to submit to him. You must make your lives and your world a holy place to prepare for his kingdom on Earth. You must purge your land of temporal influence over yourselves. Even at the cost of your lives. Divine revelation is clear on this. It is better to die this instant in service of God than to live a thousand years apart from him as the demons do.”

Bashir bit his lip. “Mahdi, this is all well and good, but I find it doubtful that your followers can withstand the war that will come. The CCD will have pretext to overthrow you by claiming that the Dominance lawfully belongs to them. We're not ready.”

Hasan stood and walked to the balcony. He swept back the curtain, and light spilled into the room. He threw open the doors and voices spilled in. Chanting voices. Voices lifting up their prayers. It filled the room, drowning out thought. The power of God filled him with ecstacy. Hasan let his soul drift on those prayers, as if they would carry him to heaven right then and there.

He laughed. “Bashir, bless you. You believe because you have seen. I tell you now to believe in what you have not yet seen. If we could do everything ourselves, what need would we have of Allah and His everlasting grace and mercy? The only way we can unite ourselves to the will of God is to trust in him. We cannot do it without his help and without trusting in him.”

One by one, they agreed. And set for themselves a plan of action.


At 6 p.m., Hasan stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the Kabbah and delivered his address:

“Faithful. I come to you today not as one to be followed or held up over men, but only in submission to God and to serve you.

"We are God's humble children, like sheep seeking to be led to the green pastures. Some years ago we despaired of a pasture and turned to the offer of a man to lead us to the grass. All this man asked was that we submit to him. It seemed so simple a thing to do. So we chose a man and we bought his promises.

"Why should we be surprised to find out these promises are false when we have turned away from God!

"We have only ourselves to blame. Why should we be surprised that promises of lasting goodness brought of things of this world are false? Why should we be surprised when we find only barren rocky soil instead of green pastures? Why should we be surprised when there are devils in our midst?

“No man can serve two masters. You cannot love God and the CCD. We must turn to God and God alone! If we submit to God and beg his forgiveness for our sins, the devil will flee. Let us reject the false promises of fair-weather friends, corrupt nations and the false idols of temporal rulers. Let us purge ourselves and cleanse ourselves of things that have pulled us away from God.”

It was time for God's kingdom to be realized here on earth. If he thought earlier that he was going to be carried away by the prayers of the faithful, this time Hasan really was disolved in their midst. His identity was stripped and he was no longer him but an empty vessel.

“The CCD forfeits any and all claim to Dominance V. They and their idolatry of their ruler have failed to bring their utopia. We declare the contract with them null and void.”

He raised the flag. It wasn't his flag but rather others who called it the flag of the Mahdi. White from the west, black from the east. White on black, black on white. There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.

<small>[Image: Hasanflag_zpsc5f995e6.jpg]

“This is the sign of the faithful. Mark yourselves with this. The faithful proclaim the world for Almighty God. All ports of entry are to be seized. Any police or military force that does not bear this emblem are to be resisted! All heads of household and faithful males ages eighteen to fifty are to report to their community leaders if you have not already received notice to report for duty.”

He raised his arms. “Let us finish God's plan for freedom. Let us build a kingdom of God and be truly free!”

There it was. He had taken the leap of faith.


There were very few employees at the Mecca airport, even among the security detail, who were loyal to the CCD to the point of death. So it wasn't difficult for a band of Mahdi sympathizers to gain complete access to even the most secure areas. By the time any of the CCD leaders knew something was up, the armories had already been looted.

The evening meal had already been served to the staff at the airport dining facilities by the time Muhammad al-Hasan al-Mahdi delivered his address. Additionally, the meal had been served at the CCD base of operations at the airport. Mahdi sympathizers were among workers who prepared both meals. The meat was prepared with a sedative that induced lethargy over the few hours after taking it. The faithful were instructed to abstain from meat that night.

There were likely about five thousand involved in taking the airport. Actually taking control of the airport was relatively easy. Car bombs stunned the CCD forces at the checkpoints outside the airport, and they were quickly overwhelmed. Untrustworthy security forces were dispatched from within. They took over the tarmac and control towers, and began to clear the terminals. They quickly broadcast the message to any inbound air traffic: Turn around. Attempt to land and we will shoot you down. The perimeter of the CCD camp at the airport remained intact but the soldiers there found themselves quickly surrounded. The faithful had made no attempt – so far – to overrun their camp, only to contain the CCD within their own perimeter, to turn their base into a prison.

Fighting within the terminals continued throughout the night.

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