Log Title: Leaders in Exile
Location: England, UK
Date: March 11, 2013
As logged by Jumal - Monday, March 11, 2013, 10:36 PM
A few after being exiled from Trucial Abysmia, Sheikh Saud has not shaved. The apartment has become strewn with 'stuff'. Hanna tries to get Saud to go out, but he'll only go out to get food deliveries and tip the doorman. He stares blankly at the TV. In a depressed tone, he says "I believe Allah is punishing me for allowing those two teens to be killed. After all, the clerics wanted us gone anyway - so why shouldn't I have stood my ground?"
Note: His Highness SHEIKH SAUD BIN SAQR AL QASIMI has been Ruler of Trucial Abysmia since 2010. He is the fourth son of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi, his predecessor as Ruler of Trucial Abysmia, who died in October of 2010. As a ruler SHEIKH SAUD has implemented vast organizational and economic reforms that have transformed TA into an attractive destination for foreign investment - culminating in an A rating in January 2008 by Standard & Poor's and Fitch. He does his best to balance his liberal education with his conservative upbringing, and tries to bring TA into the modern era without leaving the values of his people behind. In these matters he's often pulled between his open-minded wife Hanna and his hardline son, heir apparent Sheikh Mohammed.
A soft knock is heard at the door.
Sheikh Saud says, "Hana?" He continues to watch TV in the same shirt he's worn for the past 3 days. "Someone's at the door, Hana."
Sheikh Saud mechanically scoops a pita chip in some roasted red pepper hummus and continues watching TV, not making any attempt to get the door.
Jumal knocks softly again.
Sheikh Saud sighs and picks his sedentary frame up and walks to the door. At this point, he doesn't even check for security. He just opens the door.
At the door stands an older man with salt-and-pepper hair with white streaks at the temples. He is very well dressed, and must have been extremely handsome in his youth.
Sheikh Saud barely ekes out "Yes?" He says in a sloppy Marlon Brando impersonation. "Are you an assassin?"
Jumal says, "Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi?" Jumal speaks Arabic with an Iranian accent.
Sheikh Saud 's eyes widen. That voice. "Yes - Jumal?"
Jumal syas in Arabic, "Hi. Yes. I am Jumal, head of the House of Pahlavi."
Note: Jumal Reza Pahlavi is the last crown prince of the former Imperial State of Iran and current head of the House of Pahlavi. He is the older son of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and Farah Pahlavi. Jumal is a genius mechanic as well as an accomplished jet fighter pilot. He has used his high profile status as an Iranian abroad to campaign politically for human rights, democracy, and unity among Iranians in Iran and outside it.
Sheikh Saud says tiredly "It's...it's...it's an honor."
Jumal says regally, "It's an honor for me, as well, Your Highness. May I come in?"
Sheikh Saud says, "Uh...sure..." He adds "I...apologize for the mess." Strewn 'take out' - newspapers, magazines, hallmarks of exile-related depression that Jumal will probably recognize. "What...do I owe the pleasure? And please excuse the mess... we are still trying to settle in for our vacation."
Sheikh Saud says, "Hana?!" (Saud doesn't know that Hanna was fed up with the claustrophobia and decided to go for a walk)."
Jumal smiles. "It's quite alright. As much as anyone, I know what kind of stress and difficulty you've been under. It is the reason for my visit."
Sheikh Saud smiles weakly. "Stress? If that is correct, than I REALLY don't know how to do vacations!"
Jumal chuckles softly. "Ah, yes. A vacation."
Sheikh Saud sits down and sighs. "You must hate me for what I did to those two teenagers in our square a few weeks ago."
Jumal says regally, "I, too, am simply an 'Iranian abroad'... I've been on vacation for quite some time!" He frowns, sighing a bit as he gestures for permission to seat as well.
Sheikh Saud smiles sadly and points to Jumal. "No...YOU - are exile. 'WE' - " He looks around and calls out "Hana?!" He rolls his eyes and sighs, he gestures with an open hand. "Please... The people trusted me to stand up against the hard-liners in my land - and I failed." He looks around. "Perhaps this is the fate that is best suited for me."
Jumal sits at last.
Sheikh Saud says, "It all started with an idiotic comment I made... 'there are no gays in Trucial Abysmia' - of COURSE they are - but... I was getting pushback for allowing women to go to University." He shakes his head. I'm sorry...I think Hanna either left or is ignoring me. Can I fix you some tea?"
Jumal says regally, "Please." He stands to walk with Saud as he makes tea. "I have not been burdened myself with command, but I know my father did a lot of... questionable things when he was Shah of Iran."
Sheikh Saud gets up and goes to fix Jumal some tea. As Jumal watches, he can probably see the process of a man making tea for the first time in decades. In short - he knows how to do it - but after decades of being waited on hand and foot - he's out of practice. "Your father was a great man."
Jumal pretends not to notice the hardship.
Sheikh Saud frowns. "For what it's worth, I hated 'Argo'."
Jumal chuckles in surprise at the joke. "Eh, great, perhaps, but he wasn't very popular. I believe even if Ali hadn't deposed him, there still would have been a revolution."
Sheikh Saud waits for the tea to brew. He closes his eyes and bemoans. "I tried...I honestly tried. I wanted Abysmia to embrace the future! But at the same time, I know the hard-liners would only take so much change!"
Jumal says regally, "They certainly weren't clamoring for our return." He nods. "I have the same hopes for Iran. I tell myself that if I were Shah, things would be better... but the people have to change themselves. They can't be forced."
Sheikh Saud looks at Jumal. "And me? What did you think about while I was ruling? looking back, I am not proud in the least of my early years."
Jumal half-smiles. "I saw steady if rough improvements. I can only hope that your son eventually realizes you were right to change."
Sheikh Saud looks at Jumal and winks. "But honestly...if it was your vote, you would have chosen Assan, wouldn't you?"
Jumal cocks his head, and finally decides to give the honest answer. "I would have been tempted. Especially, as you mentioned, after the killing of those children."
Sheikh Saud sighs. "I wanted that too, but there was no way he could have gotten a TENTH of what he wanted even to a vote!" He points to his out-of-shape-chest. "'I' knew Abysmia! 'I' knew how fast it could handle change! You do it gradually, not in a violent tectonic shift!"
Jumal nods in understanding. "This is true. Did you know the Autobots offered to use their might to restore me to power?"
Sheikh Saud 's eyes widen and looks at Jumal. "When?!"
Jumal says regally, "After the Aerialbots captured Ali."
Sheikh Saud thinks. "That's right..."
Jumal says regally, "Yes. They asked me what to do with him, and if I needed help setting things right. However, as unpopular as my father was, the people didn't exactly greet our return with open arms.... Ali's actions gave them a chance to revolt, and they did."
Sheikh Saud adds "They were just on Earth for a short time though - Now, Optimus Prime and Prowl have very strict rules when it comes to intervention." He adds "Look at 9/11 - they did nothing to stop that."
Jumal sighs with sadness. "Yes. Dark times indeed, and helped little with tensions between East and West."
Sheikh Saud says in an ashamed tone, "You've read about what I did during the uprisings under MY rule?" He sighs "I left General Alawai in charge. I KNOW what he did... but I chose to willfully believe that people were being fairly prosecuted. Anwar Assan has gone missing - so has his wife."
Jumal frowns. "I was afraid of that."
Sheikh Saud says, "Is that why you are here? To punish me for my sins?"
Jumal spreads his hands out in a shrug. "Punish you how?"
Sheikh Saud shrugs. "I don't know - " He pours Jumal some hot water and hands him a steeper. "Just as someone who has probably turned the other way on too many occasions while my military 'handled' certain protestors - and how I allowed two teenagers to recently be killed - " He looks outside at the grey, overcast day. "But at least I banished Cobra from my land. THAT - I am proud of!"
Jumal says, "What's done is done."
Sheikh Saud says plainly "Allah will punish me when it's time."
Jumal nods. "There is still time to do good. I've dedicated my life to trying to influence the public to make lasting change."
Sheikh Saud says, "I can't do much right now... If I protest...my arrogant son may crack down on some people I care deeply about."" He rubs his eyes. "Besides, I'm on vacation."
Jumal smiles gently. "I'm not saying to do anything that will cause trouble to your people. Perhaps just... counsel your son to make the right choices."
Sheikh Saud says, "You don't know my son. He doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I am 'dead' to him.""
Jumal says regally, "For now, yes. But what teen isn't like this? In time, he will miss your counsel. You must be patient, and pray for Allah to guide him in your absence."
Sheikh Saud smiles. "He wanted 'Optimus Prime' for his birthday! Not a figurine - THE Optimus Prime. During the flooding crisis nonetheless." He shakes his head and laughs "I bought him a $2.1 million car and he didn't even say 'thank you.'"
Jumal says regally, "Well, you may have spoiled him a tad."
Sheikh Saud looks at his prayer mat - which he hasn't unfurled since he came here. He looks at Jumal and asks skeptically "Will you pray with me now?"
Jumal nods seriously. "It would be an honor, Your Highness."
Sheikh Saud says, "Not anymore - from now, I'm just Saud."
Jumal says regally, "Well, Sheikh Saud, it would be an honor nonetheless."
Sheikh Saud pulls the prayer mat out and places it in one of the few clean spots of the room. He then gets on his knees and says the daily prayer ritual he's been so used to saying - and that he stopped saying weeks after he lost the election.
Jumal joins Saud in prayer, praying fervently and sincerely for the success of both Iran and Trucial Abysmia, and for Saud's family, however misguided certain members of it may sometimes be.
Sheikh Saud finishes his prayer and then stands up - looking at Jumal. "I hate to say this - but years ago - I would have likely imprisoned you as well."
Jumal chuckles. "I won't take it personally."
Sheikh Saud says, "I cannot do anything right now - but could you please find a way to see to it that Anwar Assan and his wife are protected?""
Jumal frowns. "I'll see what I can do. I might still have a little pull with the American government, or even the Autobots..." He thanks Saud for the tea, and heads out to see what he can do.