Omar, Qaddafi’s loyal-ish translator, peers carefully from behind a curtain at the scene below him. He and Moammar Qaddafi are in Sirte, where rebel fighters can be seen amassing in the street - closing in on their secret bunker. (For more on Omar’s recent history – from Qaddafi’s UN speech to his efforts to contact the Libyan rebels, please read here and here.)
As casually as he can, Omar pulls a cellphone out of his pocket and starts to write a text message.
Suddenly Qaddafi spins him around by the shoulder.
“Who are you contacting!?!” he screams. Qaddafi’s face is haggard. His Africa broach droops listlessly to one side.
“I am merely sending good wishes to His Excellency Seif al-Islam al Qaddafi,” Omar says, referring to Qaddafi’s son – conspicuous by his absence in the secret bunker.
Qaddafi looks confused. Disloyalty is something he has a hard time processing.
“I’m just surprised that the rebels have closed in so quickly since you’ve been in charge of the phone,” Qaddafi says. “And since they announced that reward for my capture.”
“A coincidence, sir.” Omar does his best to look casual, despite the line of sweat forming on his brow. “I mean, they always knew your hometown was Sirte.”
Qaddafi exhales, losing some of his anger. He paces across the room, sitting down on a sofa. A pistol lies on a coffee table.
He puts his head in his hands. Omar takes a quick moment to push the curtain aside, and wave furiously at the rebels below – before shoving the curtain back.
“Are you sure Seif’s merely gone for reinforcements?” Qaddafi looks up. “And he hasn’t fled like the rest of the family to Algeria?”
“I’m certain it’s the former, Your Excellency,” Omar says.
He picks up the pistol and starts playing with it. “My compound has been bulldozed. Everything’s shot to hell.”
Omar listens, keeping an eye on the gun.
“I’ve always sworn I’d die a martyr in Libya,” Qaddafi says. “But lately, I’ve started thinking about arguments I can make in the Hague. I want to make clear to the world the crimes of the CIA, their NATO stooges and that greasy rebel scum.”
Omar’s face falls. He swallows. This was not part of the game plan.
“Honestly, I think martyrdom’s better than the Hague,” he says, tentatively.
Qaddafi looks up. Omar pauses for a moment before speaking.
“I mean, are people still talking about Milosevic? No. But Hitler comes up in conversation with amazing frequency – 65 years later.”
“Only Muslims can be true martyrs,” Qaddafi says, eyeing his handgun.
“Exactly my point, Your Excellency.” Omar swallows hard. “That infidel has had 65 years of glory – all because he knew how to take advantage of a secret bunker moment – not unlike this one.”
“They’d have to listen to me at a trial,” Qaddafi says.
Omar pauses for a moment. He desperately needs to sound neutral.
“But Your Excellency,” he says gently. “How’d that work out for Saddam Hussein?”
Qaddafi suddenly turns and points the gun at Omar. Rebel solders can be heard not far from the door.
“And why shouldn’t I take you as my servant in the afterlife?”
Omar tries to remain steady. “So I can tell your supporters of the glory of your martyrdom.” He swallows hard. “Remember, we’ve got to beat 65 years.”
Suddenly – a gunshot rings out, as rebel soldiers burst into the room. Qaddafi lies wounded, possibly dead. And Omar?