“Well…it’s a start”
—Reverend Mother Superior Origina Firstus Prima, on concluding her first controlled breeding for the sisterhood.
The brisk salty Caladan air blew through the hair of the Atredies Heir, young Paul Atredies. He had completed his daily studies at the Mentat school and was out looking for adventure before his return to Castle Caladan. He knew he’d have to be home before dark when it was too dangerous for a ducal heir to be walking the streets alone. As he walked down the steps, a hand reached out and shoved him. If it wasn’t for his Bene Gesseritt training and the cat-like reflexes being hammered into him by his father’s military trainers, Paul surely would have gone sprawling. He bent over to grab up his filmbooks.
“Freak!” The word stung Paul. He didn’t think he was a freak. He instantly knew who the voice belonged to. It was the same bully everytime. That shock of blond hair, that same knowing smirk. It was Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.
“I’m not a freak cousin! You’re just mad that I got into Mentat school and you’re stuck in Gladiator school.” The growing throng of kids ooo’d at this comeback. Feyd’s smile turned into a look of fury.
“Why you little… I’ll pound you into ultraslig meat!” The older boy advanced on Paul drawing a switch-crysknife. He was about to pounce when he was slammed to the ground by a flying streak of metal which pounced on him and pinned him to the ground.
“Good boy Trex!” Paul exclaimed.
Trex was his pet robodogshark. It was a state of the art guardian companion his dad had brought him back from Ix, modeled after one of the fiercer predators of Caladan’s tropical forests. The robot growled into Feyd’s face, baring its razor sharp saw-teeth. Feyd almost wet himself and if it wasn’t for the Honored Matre mantra of revenge, Feyd would have soiled himself: I must get my revenge. Revenge is the get-backer. I will have my revenge, I will let it flow through me and I’ll look at my target. Only I will be victorious! Boo-yah!
Paul called off the robot, and Feyd ran off. He hurled a curse at Paul and his robo dog too as the kids laughed at him.
“Cleverness is next to godliness”
—Ancient Muadru credo
Paul and Trex headed into the square. Caladan was his father’s planet, which he had bought from the Emperor out of revenge against the Harkonnens. Everywhere the merchants were happy to see Paul and his guardian. They waved and cried out to him. He felt safe with them. He grabbed a couple of portugals off a rack and just waved at the merchant. The merchant just shot him back a thumbs-up and pointed to a sign guaranteeing that all his fruit was approved by poison-snooper to be safe. This particular merchant delt with fruit that was specially grown by Bene Gesseritt’s special genetically modified crops to be extra juicy and delicious called a “Quicksy Handysnack!”. Portugal juice dripped onto Paul’s fresh Atriedies uniform and a passing House Minor flunky used his handkerchief to wipe it off. What a great planet! Paul thought. Much better than Kaitan! I hope my dad gets voted Duke of Caladan forever!
“Uh oh!” the House Minor said. “Here’ comes the Priest of Dur!”
Paul turned to see the middle-aged crazy mystic coming towards him. Hiding behind his robes was the smirking face of Feyd!
“ABOMINATION! IT MUST BE DESTROYED!” The Priest yelled, pointing at Paul.
No, not at me… Paul thought deeply. But who…no he must mean Trex! Of Course! The Priests of Dur were descendants of the Butlerian Jihads! I remember that from the great historical texts written by Irulan!
The people in the square were caught up in the priest’s words. Of course all technology must be destroyed! Paul saw them pull out pitchforks and torches as they gathered around the ducal heir, intent on destroying his friend! I must think fast! Paul thought quickly.
“THOUGH SHALT NOT MAKE A MACHINE IN THE LIKENESS OF A MAN!” screamed the priest, and he began dropping his hand in a sign for the people to charge.
“You old fool” Paul laughed, scoffingly. He threw all the authority his royal bloodline could muster. He used a hint of Voice that his mother had taught him. He put his fists on his hips and thrust out his chest, wagging a finger at the foolish priest. He pointed at Trex. “It’s mind is made in the likeness of an animal. Not a man!”
The crowd stopped, then turned to the priest, a look of humor in their face at how well their ducal heir had dressed him down with his own dogma. Paul knew now he had to deliver a killing stroke of diplomacy. The argument had to follow the attitude of the knife, ended here where Paul chose to end it!
“I can see how a Priest of Dur would make such a simple mistake though.” Paul continued. The crowd nodded their heads in agreement. Paul threw all of his most juvenile attitude into the punchline: “DUUUUUR!” The crowd erupted in laughter! Paul had won his first adult argument! The Priest fumed and stormed off, with Feyd tagging along behind, looking furious. “Every time I hit him with a right he hits me right back…wait I know, next time I’ll fake with the left and then hit him with a right anyway! I must get my revenge!” At that moment, Feyd realized the priest had disappeared. He ran to the local spaceport to fly home.
Gurney Halleck had been in the crowd, looking for some more baliset strings after he had had to use his last set to strangle an uppity Guild representative. Now he had used the freshly purchased set to strangle the upstart priest after it had been discovered he was secretly planning to martyr the young Paul and build a new religion around him. Great maker! he thought aloud I hope this isn’t a recurring theme.
“It is said, often words of great import start with ‘It is said’. Therefore isn’t the spoken word more powerful, even better, than anything written down?”
—From the lectures of Dune Archaeologist Montana B’daz
After his victory in the square, Paul skipped down the main plaza, heading up to Caladan Castle. He passed an alcove and saw a shadowed figure there beckoning him over. His Bene Gesseritt-trained skills taught him that this man was dangerous, trained in the ways of the warrior, and tough. Also there were the subtle hints that he meant the boy no harm, was more interested in him as a person than as some kind of victim. Besides, Paul still had Trex with him!
“Psst! Young Master, come here. I have a proposition for you.” The shadowy man said.
Paul was intrigued. He wandered over to where the man stood. He was in a jacket with a dusty brimmed hat on. He looked very athletic, probably from a life of hiking everywhere. The man had full shades on and a growler of a home brewed IPA spice beer in his hand. From behind the shades came sounds, which sounded to Paul like the last summer blockbuster pictafilm. Man that had been an awesome pictafilm! Paul thought. And here’s someone else who appreciated it!
“Howdy Mister! Paul said, addressing him in the informal manner Duncan Idaho had taught him to use among the populace. Trex seemed to like the man too, he began wagging his wide fintail.
“I saw how well you handled yourself in the marketplace against that priest. I was thinking I could use such a resourceful man in the field. Let me introduce myself, I’m Dune Archaeologist Montana B’daz!” MONTANA B’DAZ! Paul thought, “he’s the world-famous archaeologist!”
“Wowzers!” Paul exclaimed. “Sure I’d like to help you mister! I’ve always wanted to be an archaeologist since I saw your Discovery VidChannel special on the Mutated Navigators!”
“That’s great kid. I’ve been here on Caladan looking for similarities between the Caldanian aborigines and those found on other planets. I’m exploring an ancient ruin on the outskirts of town, and I could use someone to hold my flashlight.”
“Oh I’m there! Yippee!” Paul said. The man motioned to his hover van and Paul climbed inside.
“Surprise should never take you by surprise. You should always expect everything. That way, when you see IT coming, You’ll already know how to deal with it.”
—From the Wayku Survival Guide to Space Travel.
Paul and Montana rode out on the freeway, turning off onto a new overpass his father, Duke Leto, had built to accommodate a new Ix-Mart. What they didn’t know was that the overpass went through an aborginal burying ground. The aborgines had laid an ambush for them! A few arrows and spears bounced off the Van’s shields. THUNK!
“That wasn’t a spear, something hit us!” Montana exclaimed. The van swerved. Paul looked out the window. The aboriginies were using slings to throw stones at the van. Then Paul saw it! The aborigines had adapted to the technology around them! They were throwing the stones just slow enough that they passed through the Van’s shield! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! The stones were shredding the storage compartment of the Van. Montana swerved at a couple of the braves, but they only sidestepped him. He spun the wheel, and slipped, tapping the horn. The Braves froze at the resulting honk. “Wait!” Paul said. He reached over and put his hand on the horn, holding it down. The braves seemed to ignore this so Paul switched to slow beeps on the horn. Up. Down. Up. Down. The braves ran into the forest dropping their slings and screaming like the unevolved idiots that they were.
“Geepers!” Paul said.
“More like Beepers! They really don’t like getting beeped!” chuckled Monatana B’daz.
About that time the hovervan finally stopped. Paul and B’daz got out to survey the damage. The van was totaled, several large holes in the side compartment showed that the aborigines had hit the engine. Montana picked up one of the stones, found that he had to exert himself just to lift the palm-sized rock. “Wait! This is a key part to the mystery! They were using Ultra-rock! You know what this means?”
“Yeppers!” Paul nodded, smiling “Ultra-rock is only found on KAITAIN! This proves there is a link! I bet we find more evidence in the temple. He pointed up the path. The aboriginal temple was visible over the tops of the trees. They began the trek up the harsh marked mountain path. Paul recalled Thufir’s words of warning about mountain climbing “Always follow the path, never stray. Straying off the path isn’t safe. The first step in avoiding danger is staying on a well lit, manmade path!”
“By the power of Durskull!” Montana exclaimed “Will you look at that!” They had crested the path. “Do you recognize the shape?” he asked Paul.
“I Sure do! It’s shaped just like my model of a Heighliner! It also kinda looks like a sandworm. Dr. Kynes showed me one when he came to visit us last week.”
They slid down the other side of the ridge down to the temple entrance. “It’s quiet” Montana said. “Too Quiet” answered Paul. “This should make sure we aren’t disturbed by anyone while we explore.” He pulled out a long plastic rod, buried it in a cleft between two round river rocks. “This is a variant of a device I got on Arrakis” He said. “Also known, as Dune” Paul finished. Montana nodded. He made a few adjustments to pulse and speed on the device, then turned it on. It let out a loud ‘HONK’. Every few seconds it let out another ‘HONK’. The frequency was just enough to mimic the honking Paul had used to scare off the aboriginial braves earlier. “I keep this around for special situations,” Montana said as he unwrapped the latex from a small lasgun. “ Besides you know what a cautious man I am.” They dove into the cavernous temple entrance with reckless abandon. “Golly.” Said Paul.
They went into the main chamber of the temple, which was covered in indecipherable hieroglyphics. Montana asked Paul to hold his glowrod while he read them. “It’s a much older script than I expected!” he said. “at least over 9000 years old! This blows all the history out of the water! We’ll have to start from scratch! It says here, ‘long ago, we were all one people, then the ultra-meteor came. It smashed us so badly we were…forever fractured…separated…My Gods!”
“What!” Paul said. “Tell me, what happened!”
“If this is correct, and I’m absolutely never ever wrong in my translations, this is irrefutable proof that Kaitain and Caladan were once one planet, and a meteor made of ultra-rock smashed them in two! Kaitain is Caladan. Caladan IS Kaitain! Irulan was right, technically you were born on Kaitain! The aborignals here are original descendants of the Muadru!”
“Geepers!” Paul said. “That makes me a Man of Two Worlds!
“It sure does!” Said Montana B’daz. And they laughed.