The Rhythm Section
Mark Burnell
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Chapter 10

After Stephanie confirms that Ismail Qadiq was the intermediary between the terrorist and Bradfield, she goes to Qadiq’s warehouse to orchestrate a surprise attack on him. She hides near a dumpster and waits until he arrives to open the warehouse. She creeps up behind him and pulls out her gun, just as he realizes that there is somebody else there. Although Stephanie shows him a picture of Sela, the alleged terrorist, Qadiq pretends that he has never seen him. As she waves her gun in a threatening manner at him, Stephanie accidentally pulls the trigger. The gunshot scares Qadiq who, fearing for his life, informs her of the terrorist’s true identity, Reza Mohammed, and the college that he attends.

Upon reaching her hotel, Stephanie calls the Imperial College and makes enquiries about the two suspects that she has learnt about, Mustafa Sela and Reza Mohammed. Sela had been a third-year undergraduate student of Aeronautical Engineering before he dropped out, while Reza is a postgraduate student studying Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology. Stephanie goes to the Imperial College in order to find Reza Mohammed, where she is suddenly set upon by assailants. Although she attempts to fight back, she is overpowered and thrown into a van.       


This chapter begins with Stephanie’s recollection of the warning that Bradfield issued her, “[d]on’t carry a gun unless you’re prepared to use it” (Burnell, 80). Although she remains unprepared to use it, she accidently shoots the gun at Qadiq, missing him by about a yard. She tries to hide her surprise, but the thought of shooting anybody petrifies her. This is evident when she says “despite the rage, it runs against every natural instinct within me” (Burnell, 85). Furthermore, this chapter continues to reveal the misogyny that Stephanie experiences. She says that Qadiq considers her nothing more than a mere woman and doubts that “she could pose a threat to him” (Burnell, 81). Just as Bradfield had been calm and in control the previous night, Qadiq does not consider her a threat. The gunshot, therefore, creates the illusion that she is prepared to kill him. The chapter ends with a note of suspense when Stephanie is kidnapped. 

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