Special thanks to Hugo award winning Starship Sofa for allowing us to use Rajan Khanna’s narration that originally ran November 17, 2010.
The Faithful Soldier, Prompted
By Saladin Ahmed
If I die on this piece-of-shit road, Lubna’s chances die with me. Ali leveled his shotgun at the growling tiger. In the name of God, who needs no credit rating, let me live! Even when he’d been a soldier, Ali hadn’t been very religious. But facing death brought the old invocations to mind. The sway of culture, educated Lubna would have called it. If she were here. If she could speak.
The creature stood still on the split cement, watching Ali. Nanohanced tigers had been more or less wiped out in the great hunts before the Global Credit Crusade, or so Ali had heard. I guess this is the shit end of “more or less.” More proof, as if he needed it, that traveling the Old Cairo Road on foot was as good as asking to die.
He almost thought he could hear the creature’s targeting system whir, but of course he couldn’t any more than the tiger could read the vestigial OS prompt that flashed across Ali’s supposedly deactivated retscreens.
God willing, Faithful Soldier, you will report for uniform inspection at 0500 hours.
Ali ignored the out-of-date message, kept his gun trained on the creature.
The tiger crouched to spring.
Ali squeezed the trigger, shouted “God is greater than credit!”