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[personal profile] telwoman posting in [community profile] schlosseberbach
**Reposted from Imzy ... and awaiting images**



The day starts: Dorian is asleep, a nice light breeze blowing in through the window. Next thing we know, Dorian is rudely awakened by James, who is still obsessed with underwear, and demands to know why Dorian is using an expensive pair of underpants to sleep in.

While he is having his breakfast, a phonecall from the Bakhchials in Beirut alerts Dorian to a potentially lucrative heist: the treasure left behind in Tehran by the Shah of Iran when he fled the city. James objects to the proposal on a number of petty penny-pinching grounds, but Dorian is convinced this job will be a rewarding one, and bribes James with the promise of five pairs of used underpants.

Meanwhile, in Germany, we see Klaus waking up: 6.30 on the dot, striped pyjamas and white undershirt in place.

Klaus, too, receives a phonecall over breakfast: the Chief, letting him know that he is required to travel to Iran to recover secret military information about Soviet missiles installed in the desert, without alerting the Russians or the revolutionary government.

This sets our two heroes on a collision course, and inevitably, they meet – at a border crossing, where they are both trying to enter Iran in disguise, along with their entourages. They recognise each other, and realising that each could blow the other’s cover, Dorian and Klaus put on a show of being old friends for the benefit of the border guards whilst at the same time warning each other to keep silent.

In Tehran, Dorian makes contact with the man who can tell him where the Pahlavi treasure is hidden. The man runs a brothel full of under-age boys. Dorian makes it clear he is not interested in boys, and he looks rather uncomfortable about the whole set-up. The man with the information stalls (“Tomorrow, tomorrow”) but one of the boys, whose name is Haalun, gives Dorian the information in exchange for a kiss.

That night, Dorian – disguised in a military uniform – sets out for the Palace to steal the treasure. As he makes his way through the dark building, he discovers that Klaus is also in the Palace, looking for his secret military information. It appears that their targets are both hidden in the same place. With some misgivings, they decide to collaborate.

They recover a locked box, which Dorian opens to reveal a fortune in jewels and ornaments. Klaus takes a jewelled dagger and sheath – one of two in the treasure trove – in which he believes the information is hidden.

Hearing the Palace guards approaching, Klaus makes Dorian exchange clothes with him on the grounds that he doesn’t look convincing as a soldier. He then drags Dorian out past the guards at gunpoint, berating them for not being around to help him catch the intruder.

They nearly get away with this ruse, but once outside, they’re intercepted by other guards. Klaus resorts to knocking one of the guards down; there is an exchange of gunfire, Klaus steals a jeep and drives away, and Dorian escapes on foot.

Klaus rejoins his contact, and they examine the dagger he has taken – which proves to be the wrong one, so Klaus sets out to find Dorian, who took the other one. But Dorian has gone to Beirut, where he borrows a jeep from the Bakhchials to take a trip into the desert for his own enjoyment. At the ancient ruins of Palmyra, Klaus arrives in a helicopter, demanding the dagger. Dorian hands it over; Klaus extracts the microfilm and then says he is going to turn Dorian over to ICPO (Interpol).

Dorian and James run for the helicopter; Klaus and his men seize the jeep. Neither vehicle has much fuel left, so both parties end up stranded in the desert. To rub salt into the wounds, Dorian sends out a message to any KGB agents who might be listening in, informing them that Iron Klaus is stranded in the desert near Palmyra; Klaus, meanwhile, radios ICPO with Eroica’s whereabouts. However, both expect that the other will get away clean.

Writing style

The story moves fast, making use of parallel lines of action both for dramatic and comic effect. Aoike-san mixes low comedy (eg James's ongoing interest in Dorian's underwear) with hard espionage themes. Dorian’s romantic streak is given free rein and he has several opportunities to express his romantic/sexual interest in Klaus, much to Klaus’s disgust and alarm. Klaus’s strait-laced attitudes and James’s fanatic stinginess are used as the basis for comic sequences. The story’s ending suggests that Klaus and Dorian have developed a good deal of respect for each other’s abilities, even though their rivalry remains strong.

Links with the events of the time

Insha’Allah appeared in the volume released in September 1979. In Iran, a campaign of civil resistance, including demonstrations against the Shah, began in late 1977 and intensified over the next twelve months. The Shah went into exile in January 1979, and Iran officially became an Islamic Republic later that year.

The Emerald Necklace

It’s worth spending a little time thinking about the emerald necklace that appears in this story. The necklace is part of the treasure found in the Palace, and Dorian’s first reaction is to think how good it would look on Klaus.

He later gives the necklace to Haalun as a keepsake – and it then plays a part in Klaus’s tracking Dorian down when he recognises it hanging around Haalun’s neck.

Fanfic to check out

Children by Musamihi
A retelling of the scene in the brothel. Dorian is uneasy; he finds the place distasteful and he’s repelled by the people in it. He reflects on his own experience as a 13 year old boy, seduced and deceived by a family friend, and how the experience has cast a shadow over his own life. Musamihi develops the story subtly and tastefully. A thoughtful piece.

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