—Fremen expression meaning “Ride that beast! Ride it!”
Stilgar’s sweaty arousal was obvious through his tight stillsuit as he watched the messy sipce ejaculate of the monster worm flow into the sands behind him. The slimy trail stretched into the distance from the rear-end of the maker.
I must not look back he thought, intelligently. He loved the way the leviathan undulated between his legs as he straddled the gargantuan Shai’huzlud in that old Fremen way and thought about that, instead.
In the distance he saw his goal and it filled his mind with the vision of the elusive brown ring he sought.
Baron Halleck of Caladan casually strolled up to beside where Stilgar was standing, rudely interrupting his fantasies.
“We’re nearly there, Stil.” Gurney said.
“I don’t know about you, but I certainly was.” mumbled Stilgar.
“So what is it you wanted to show me?” Gurney pressed.
“Oh you’ll see, my friend.” Stilgar said, knowingly “You’ll see.”… “Stop that.” he added as Gurney tried to see ahead with electric binoculars.
They both laughed.
“Port-Ho!” Stilgar then shouted, instructing the well-trained leviathan to turn right.
As they approached their destination, they both hopped off the end of the great phallic beast into its sticky leavings. They scrambled up a slipface and watched the worm’s passage as it approached the great ring. Suddenly Gurney saw what Stilgar was showing him and he opened his mouth wide in anticipation.
“Oh… my… maker.” He said.
The brown ring… there were worms… hundreds of them! Each worm followed the next in a circular pattern at least fifty thousand miles in diameter. A slowly revolving ring, head to tail carving a sticky moat in the sand.
They watched as the worm they had been riding approached the ring. The revolution stopped as the worms all took turns to nuzzle the newcomer. They reared back and howled at the moon (the biggest one, of course). Then began a new pattern… a snaking figure-8, if the figure 8 had about 20 more holes in it.
“It is beautiful, Stilgar.” Gurney said.
“The great Kon’Gah. It is so wondrous… It makes me want to…” He started unzipping his stillsuit. But Gurney stopped him.
“Now, now… none of that. Remember what happened last time?”
“We agreed not to speak of it.” Stilgar said tearfully, wondering exactly which bodily fluids his suit could process. “It is a wondrous omen!”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of that.” Gurney said, pointing.
The worms seemed to be showing them something, pointing out a direction for them like spacebees telling of meganectar. They looked and sure enough a new star was in the sky that night. A bright one, a red one, an evil one.
“It is an evil omen!” Shouted Stilgar.
“Yes.” Said Gurney loremasterly. “I’m sorry, Stil.”
“Oh well…” he said with fremen grace and changed the subject. “Anyway, weren’t you an Earl?”
“That, my friend, is a story for a whole other book.”
“I’d pay my body’s water to read it.”
Gurney laughed. “Excellent! You shan’t be disappointed.”
The evil star glowed ominously.
I’ve come to realise that none of this actually happened. You think I made a mistake, though? You think me stupid? It was the lies of Muad’Did. Yes, all of it. Don’t believe everything you hear. THIS is the truth.
—Queen Irulan II on the Arrakis incident from her book “The REAL Dune” (co-authoured)
“Your Majesty” Her Royal Highness Princess Jessica of Caladan bowed to the newly appointed Queen.
“And don’t you forget it!” Irulan said with all the arrogance she could muster. She also tensed her buttcheeks, ready for violence.
We must not let her forget her place they both thought at the same time.
“I have just come from the USS Au’summ, the fastest and largest Fremen ship in the fleet.” Jessica said, guarding her words… she had of course noticed Irulan’s butt. But then, who wouldn’t? “I summoned it to pick me up from Caladan since there were no spaceships there and I was in a hurry to congratulate your royal person.”
Jessica had almost said “Your royal buttcheeks”. She was glad she didn’t, that would’ve meant disaster for the whole empire.
“And yet it has been a whole two months since my coronation, has it not?” Irulan used her most disembowling Voice – the one that sounds weird and echoes.
“Your majesty knows how space travel is these days.”
“Err… yes.” replied Irulan, cunningly covering up her ignorance.
I must not tell her about my new powers Jessica thougt, recalling the previous chapter where she had gone through the ritual of Bol’Ox, taking the ultrasuperspice to gain ultimate telepathy.
And I must not tell her I can read minds Irulan thought.
There was an awkward moment.
Fuck! they both thought together.
The tension was now moist between them and they both concealed it from the court by shifting their weight as if trying to break wind silently.
“I see things have changed since Alia jumped out of that window.” Jessica said threateningly, wondering if anyone would understand her hidden threat because she was just that smart.
“I think that if you remember correctly, she actually fell on this blade.” Irulan parried and riposted, holding up the Rett’Kon Crysknife… forever stained with Harkonnen blood which meant that it could never be sheathed again.
“Oh yes, how foolish of me” Jessica blushed. Words failed her at this moment but she wondered if Irulan would ready for Jessica’s own thrust later in her bedchambers.
Irulan raised an interested eyebrow. “Do you mean…” Irulan made a subtle Bene Gesserit hand signal: a ring formed with the thumb and forefinger of her left hand and poking her remaining forefinger into it. “… ?”
The court did not notice anything.
Oh no! Thought Jessica. I forgot she can read minds too! And that’s not at all what I meant!
Oh yes! said Irulan in Jessica’s head. And that’s not all I can do… second aunty!
There was a dramatic pause.
“Come” It was a word ripe with meaning and dripping with Voice as Irulan took Jessica by the hand and led her into the super secret passageway using Bene Gesserit invisibility so that no-one would notice.
Jessica excitedly and shrewdly guessed at Irulan’s intentions by analysing all the data using her Bene Gesserit training and thought: So she’s still Bene Gesserit after all.
Do. There is no trout.
—Leto II’s personal mantra.
Deep in the caverns under the dunes, two fremen guards stood guard in a cave so huge that it could have swallowed the globulous load of an ultraheighliner. They were about to share some sugared kangeroo mouse when they heard the rustling above them. It was an impossible sound for the cavern roof was many hundreds of bazillions of feet overhead. But sure enough, as they turned, a cool, cloaked figure hit the ground with an humungous bang.
“Don’t mind me…” The figure said, taking two lasguns from his robe and aiming them with precision.
“… I’m just…” The figure shot them both dead with each pistol while raising the dark lenses of thru-wall glasses to his eyes.
“… dropping in.”
With his glasses fixed in place, he rose a scaly wrist to his mouth and ran with sphincter-loosening speed to the cover of the shadows.
“Worm-Boy to Hot-Girl. Worm-Boy to Hot-Girl. Come in Ghani!”
“Leto, is that you? Are you okay? I’m worried!”
“Pfftt. You’re not my mother.”
“I kind of am.”
“Shut up, sis. How is it going on Kaitain?”
“It looks like Irulan is planning something big. Maybe some kind of new uber-spaceship?”
“Did you have to seduce the Vladimir/Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen/Marie Fenring Hybrid in the end?”
“Yes. Twice. Are you still jealous?”
“No.” Leto lied expertly and sulkily cut the connection. He was going to need to focus if the resistance were to succeed and attempted to put the image out of his mind of his sister in rapturous embrace with a grotesque monster of a girl-assassin in silver speedos.
He dispatched thirteen more guards, giving himself points for awesomeness, which made him feel better. But which way to go through the dark caves? He turned up his Thru-wall glasses and saw a vein of glimmering precious metal leading towards another passageway. It was gold. A golden path.
I knew it!
Sneakily, he snuck through to the next cavern, which was even more bulbous and stringy than the first. There he saw the fremen foreman, deep in conspirational conversation with an offworlder. Someone from Irulan’s court, no doubt.
“So… what’s the plan?” The fremen forman said timidly.
“Didn’t you hear when I explained it three chapters ago? No? Fine… as you know, Zxiig’Dgfaa, Irulan wants to control the skies. As you also know, there are over ONE DAGRILLION BILLION worlds in the imperium. So, what if each world sends an ultrahighliner to the same place and they all assemble into Mega-Ultraheighliner? Don’t you see what this means?”
“Uhh…” The foreman was too stupid to see. Like all fremen he was a fucking idiot.
“It means that the Mega-Ultraheighliner would be able to travel anywhere instantly because it would be so big that it would have a gravitational field and everything in the universe would move towards it at fifty thousand times the speed of light! It’s simple physics you primitive.”
Noh’Wai! Thought Leto. Moving the whole universe into one place was so against his grand plan that it hurt his spleen. But then, he was still only a naive teenager.
He was so shocked that he didn’t even notice the offworlder hitting the self-destruct button until a rock fossil in the shape of a terrifying alien (maybe the ones who made the worms?) had fallen from the roof and hit his desert waif companion, Mihna, on the head. He jumped off the platform, doing an awesome backflip, calmly shot a few more guards as the caves collapsed, grabbed her and started running.
“Don’t worry, Mihna, that bone was nothing compared to the one you’ll be getting later from me.”
“Aaaiiiyyeee!” She screamed “And I thought Mihna came but only once a year!”
Can you make a Kwisatz Haderach without prescience? Unlikely. Could there be a prescient so prescient that he could not see himself? Yes, obviously. Can I see the future? No. Prime Projection: I am the ultimate Kwisatz Haderach.
—From “Could You All Please Just Stop Killing Me? Thanks.” by Duncan Idaho
Sadly, Duncan looked out of the porthole from his cabin aboard the Ultraheighliner USS Biggus Maximus. He could see the tugs toing and froing in the space harbour and the little ferry-ships carrying the happy peasants to their space-cruise ships.
Why am I so sad? He thought, with sadness.
Even though he was on the best ship and had really a really big cabin with a nice electric blanket on the cot, he was still sad.
I can’t figure out what they’re plotting! It’s just so complicated! And political!
He turned his attention to the mass flames of the Holtzman afterburners in a large gathering of ships. It looked like an evil red star.
Gurney told me he saw an evil red star. I wonder which star he saw.
Duncan searched the sky but could not find it. That made him sad and he fingered his wound where Stilgar had penetrated him in an elaborate ruse to do do something really complicated and confusing. Even Irulan thought he was dead!
Thinking of Gurney, he turned his attention to the envelope on his cot. The stamp was from Sietch Tabr, no doubt about it. The return address confirmed it: Gurney Halleck, Hearth 45, Sietch Tabr, The Great Erg, Arrakis. AR45 FFS.
He excitedly opened it up using his letter-opening kindjal and then decided to read it.
How are you? I am fine. Stilgar sends his love. Anyway, I am writing to tell you that you should go to the USS Biggus Maximus and speak with the Guild Navigator. Remember: If he says he is actually a Steersman, he is lying and trying to hide his mutations. The test is to look at his naked body. Does it look like a fish make love to a slug and then the slug was a junkie that shot-up too much semuta while pregnant? That’s a Navigator. Got it? Duncan nodded. Good. You need to think of a way to trick him into telling you his grand plan with Irulan. Remember the plan is super secret, so make sure no-one else reads this letter. We’ve already bribed the spacepostman. Clever, huh?
Hope you are well and best wishes to the kids. Stilgar says bye.
Gurney Halleck, Marquess Caladan.
Super secret?! Golly! Duncan balled up the letter and popped it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.
Five minutes later he was surprised to find himself bound by shigawire and being dragged though a great hall then presented before a figure in a glass tank. A figure suspended in the gas by two helium balloons.
He didn’t like surprises and so, for good measure Duncan killed one of his captors with a bone-shattering blow to the stomach.
“Can I help you?” He said towards the tank.
“Who do you think you are? The space police?” boomed a basso voice from inside the tank.
I need to find out if this is the navigator I’m looking for! If only I hadn’t eaten that letter yet.
In all the excitement he had forgotten how to tell if he was truly talking to a Navigator! He cast his mind about desperately, wishing he had remembered to take his sapho juice with his cereal that morning. But alas! He had opted for kangeroo mouse milk!
But wait! That was it! The kangeroo mouse! Muad’Dib.
“Help me Muad’Dib!” He shouted, killing another guard with the killing word.
A vision swam to life in front of him… Could it be! The blurry figure began to speak.
“Use the spice, Duncan. The spice!”
Duncan leapt through the air with the greatest of ease and landed on top of the orange tank. He put his nose next to the outlets and sniffed deeply. The spice coursed through him, doing all kinds of pleasant things to his awareness and he jumped back down, peering into the tank.
“Wait!” He said “You don’t look like a fish make love to a slug and then the slug was a junkie that shot-up too much semuta! You look like a fish make love to a slug and then the slug was a junkie that shot-up too much semuta and then the offspring made love with a…”
“A sweaty neo-sumo-wrestler?” Came the rumbling reply. “Yes! For it is I, Navigator Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Vladigator!”
What a dick.
—Last words of the Geidi Prime slave-pit Workers’ Union leader before he died suspended upside-down in a vat of vomit while having his innards eaten by an overzealous spacemole, ballsack squeezed in a vice and his feet tickled with a feather.
The Vladigator observed the tied-up swordmaster coolly. A voice in his head was whining away like a little mechanical megamosquito that he couldn’t shoo away!
Ahha! I wonder what he looks like on the inside! Said the voice from other memory, annoyingly. The baron reflected on what he might have been like had he not always had this voice inside of him. Maybe he would be a nice person. But he wasn’t. He was evil. Just like the voice.
What colour is his liver! What does it taste like?
See? The Vladigator replied. This is why I’m fat!
Don’t forget the Bene Gesserit STD!
But this is a completely new body, you synthetic simpleton!
Well I guess me being in your other memory explains it nicely, then.
Thanks for the diagnosis, Freudbot.
Or maybe it was a psychic disease… oooooo.
Erasmus had been with him all of his life. Both of them. And he didn’t get any less annoying. He was just a constant pain in his flabby, fishy arse. It all made sense and explained why he was so evil… and his sexual preferences. The independent robot was even possessing the Baron while he was possessing Alia, the Baron recalled easily. It had actually been Erasmus all along.
Erasmus was just a much better bad guy by far. I really like writing about him. I just like saying the name Erasmus whenever I can, really. I wonder where the name comes from? Maybe I should research it? Hahahahah! Hmm, now how to erase that last bit… Erase! That must be it. That’s so clever.
So… In the end, the Vladigator gave in to the independent robot’s demands. He would think of the most despicable torture yet for the Atreides minion.
“So, Mr. Idaho…” the Vladigator said, adjusting his flab into a vaguely seated position, buoyed by his two helium balloons.
“I’ll never talk!” Idaho said, oxymoronically.
The Vladigator bristled with evil and settled on the most vicious, horrible, downright nasty thing he could do to the other man.
“Young Paul Atreides. Such a gentle boy. Did you know that he was born on Kaitain?” the Baron said.
“What?” asked Duncan, looking shocked to the core by the question.
“Oh yes!” went on the Baron, “It’s true. And… he was a very naughty boy – he ran away from Caladan to join the circus. But you know that don’t you, Mr. Idaho?”
“No! Nooooo!” Duncan’s very world was crashing down around him.
“And!” the Vladigator was in full stride now. “Remember when he was so eager to see a Navigator on the trip to Arrakis? Well, he had already tried to see a Navigator and his punishment resulted in the death of a friend!”
“It’s not true! It can’t be!” Idaho was on his knees, clawing at his eyes and ears.
“And…” The Baron reared up for his final blow. “Daniel and Marty…”
“The old couple you’ll see later.”
“They’re not facedancers!!!!”
It was too much for Duncan. He collapsed in a sweaty heap on the floor, twitching. He knew he could no longer go on living in such a world. There was no place for him here.
“You think…” he managed to say with infinite effort.
“Yes?” The Baron asked suspiciously, tripping over his balloons.
“You think… I’m… just… a… butt… monkey? Auuuugggh.” Duncan died with a final insolent twitch.
The Baron gloated over the corpse. He wasn’t sure why, but Idaho’s last words had deeply disturbed him.
No one would have believed in the last years of the ten zillionth century that the empire was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences in the likeness of man’s. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool, unsympathetic and sexually confused, regarded this empire with vision red as Terminator but cool as Predator, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.
—From Leto II’s journal.
Leto II fought alongside the loyal marinedaykin. The Death Commandos of space. The good ones who were loyal to the Superhero Emperor. Not the evil ones who were loyal to the evil Ice Queen Irulan and her master the Vladigator and his master Erasmus. Not the evil ones who, in the last chapter, destroyed Arrakeen with the new Obliterator technology, which they then buried in a chest on a desert island because they were just that evil. No, they were good fremen.
Right now, he and his troop of Fremen were fighting their way down a port corridor on board the Ultraheighliner USS Biggus Maximus. The fremen were laying down lasgun fire ahead of them to blow up anyone silly enough to be wearing shields. Leto II didn’t need a lasgun; since he was one with the worm, shield activity drove him into a killing frenzy. But he had one anyway.
He noticed the commandos’ commander was not firing his lasgun.
“Bashar!” He shouted correctly. “Why are you not firing your lasgun?!”
“Umm, well, won’t it kill us all, your royal Squirminess?”
“Of course not you knob! I’m prescient!”
The correctly-ranked Bashar sighed resignedly, closed his eyes and began to fire.
There was a big explosion at the other end of the corridor but one shielded figure was left standing.
Another prescient! Thought Leto, cleverly.
He drew out his laskindjal, activated it, watching his shaft grow out and upwards in front of him.
“It’s Count Darth Hasimir! This foe is beyond all of you. Fly, you fools!” Leto selflessly ordered, pointing at a door.
Auuggh! Fuck you, rabbit hole. My fucking ankle! I show you what happens when you cross me…
The Bashar Furlongs Tug lead his fremen into the next room, glad to be somewhere other than where the Superhero Emperor was; things kept blowing up unnecessarily around him. The safety of his squad was ultimately his own responsibility.
Unfortunately his squad were still clustered around the door, refusing to move. They were placing waterwagers on the duel. Tag sighed. Not for the first, nor the last time.
For a minute he tried to rally his men, but they were too intently cheering the flying daggers and slow-motion dodges of the duel. The air was becoming all ozoney from the shield contact and sticky-sweet from the spurtings of Leto’s frenzy. The duellists were exchanging witty banter as they fought.
“En garde, Atreides, you cowardly… worm.”
“Nonsense, Sir Hasimir, I believe it is you who should show some… balls.”
Well, he thought, they don’t call me Furlongs Tug for nothing and he ran as fast as he could towards the ship’s bridge.
His goal was clear: sabotage the nav-systems of the ultraheighliner so that it would crash into the red star of death that was Mega-ultraheighliner, killing the evil Vladigator and saving the universe from being all in the same place, letting it scatter outwards into space again in an event that would become known as: the scattering.
He had his computer virus all ready to infect the ship’s systems with. Though he was a little confused by that. Were there really computers on board? He had no choice but to trust General Halleck, Naiv Stilgar and Emperor Leto and their plan.
Tug finally reached the bridge and was surprised to find banks of computer terminals. For some reason the room was empty, but he wasn’t the kind to question providence, especially when it makes for a shorter chapter.
After setting the ship’s new trajectory he began work to install the computer virus which would make the course unchangeable. It was then that his comm-unit buzzed and Leto’s voice came through.
“Bashar! Have you finished changing the course yet?”
The Bashar wondered curiously for a second how Leto knew he had headed to the bridge alone. Then he realised Leto was prescient. Then he wondered why Leto needed to ask at all.
“I’m just installing the virus now.” He replied.
“Well don’t! We need you to get to the aft and defeat the Vladigator so that he can’t change the course!”
“But if I install the viru-”
“Get there now! We’re pulling back to take on Irulan’s guard at Arrakeen and someone needs to stay behind and make sure the Vladigator dies!”
Leto simply cut the connection. But not before saying: “Good bye, Bashar. May your shade return at the end when we all get medals.”
If the plan wasn’t riddled with holes enough before, it was now holier than enough swiss cheese to collapse into a cheesularity under its own weight. But Tug was determined to carry out his orders… if for nothing other than spiteful satisfaction when the plan still failed.
He ran even swiftlier to the aft of the ship because this chapter is too long already and was swiftly captured by the Vladigator’s personal guard.
More chapters. More words.
—Muad’dib imparts his wisdom to Irulan.
Stilgar finished. He and Gurney lay spent on the sand, chests heaving, bodies dripping. The ritual was complete.
Leto pulled his shaft from Irulan’s quivering body. She lay there soaked in sweat and blood and a wee bit of wee as Leto finished the prescribed number of stabbings as issued by the council of Naibs. “You know what they say about your government, Irulan,” he said as he put on his dark shades, “Too many… cuts.”
“Nooooo!” Shouted Duncan and killed a guard with liver-puncturing graze to the foot.
Things on board the USS Biggus Maximus weren’t going so well. Furlongs Tug had been captured, if you recall, by the Vladigator.
The Vladigator was currently thinking of the most hideous way to torture him while he waited for his navigation officer to return from the bridge.
Force his lids open and lick the eyeballs! What do they feel like on your tongue? said Erasmus.
No wait! See how many knots you can tie out of his extremities the independent robot said scientifically.
The baron was still in the process of deciding when the navigation officer came back.
“Good news your fishy evilness!”
It had better be, the baron thought, in his mind, if it isn’t I shall kill him most unpleasantly. But if it is good news then I will only kill him less unpleasantly. That has the advantage of showing everyone how evil I am as well as showing them I have a merciful side for them to strive towards. It is a good job I took that evil overlord class.
The navigation officer coughed, stirring the Vladigator from his reminiscing of bad guy college.
No one was sure whose turn it was to speak. So Furlongs, who had been captured by the way, spoke up.
“Let me guess, you’ve altered course, right?”
“Who are you, anyway?”
“Not sure. Lost track.”
“Shouldn’t this sort of thing be checked?”
“Okay. Point taken.”
“Enough!” roared the baron, confused. “Our plan is nearly complete. It matters little that Irulan has been killed. For it is I, the Supreme Commander of the Guild, Chief Mentat of Planet Sapho, Master Swordsman of the Swordmasters, Superior Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit, duly appointed Baron of Gammu, High Priest of Normalce, Fater Exaltis of the Tablis Dur and Exalted Farter of the Dinner Table, Vladimir Harkonnen who is the real enemy! Yes! It is true, I have been the power behind the scenes all along! And now our plan is nearly complete. Behold!”
Furlongs Tug watched out of a porthole as the ship’s course changed, going upwards in space, to the top of the assembling ultraheighliners. So it was to be the head ship! The brain of the Mega-ultraheighliner, bending time and space, travelling without moving by bringing the universe closer and closer until it was so close that you could wave to the people on another planet and, if you jumped really hard, you could then visit them for lunch!
Tug wasn’t at all surprised that it would end like this.
But then he was surprised!
A blinding flash of light lit up the room blindingly. The Vladigator and his minions all dropped dead, gurgling blood and the light lessened. At its centre stood a figure. A cloaked figure shrouded in mystery and cloaked in intrigue. Could it be? Was it truly? It was! It was!
Tug threw himself to the floor.
“Rise, child. You have done well.” the voice was full of smartness and cloaked in mystery.
“How could it be, my lord? I thought you were dead?”
“I am dead.”
“Yes, I have ascended to a greater plain. Did you think mere sandworms could kill me? That I could be slain by any mortal hand?” Paul laughed. “But do not fear, child of the desert. I have returned and my powers have doubled since last we met.”
“Yes, I shall save the day using my immortal power. I have killed the Vladigator and now I will crash the ship into the Death Star.”
“Yes, I did know all this was going to happen.”
“And you couldn’t have…?”
“Maybe a little bit earlier?”
“So it was all…?”
“Pointless? Not at all. We all have our paths to walk. The world is an epic and everyone, every thing is this world has their story to tell.”
“If the ship is to crash then…”
“Yes, you will die.”
“So who will tell my story?”
“Do not fear, I am sure that somewhere in universe, at some time in future or the past, someone will write your story.”
As the ship finally crashed into the heart of the red sun, Furlongs Tug sighed a final time.
Neither shalt thou be angry that events did not happen according to your preconceived interpretation.
—The ninth commandment as it appears in the Greeny-Orange Catholic Bible.
“And that, faithful Moneo, is how I became emperor.”
Moneo jumped up and down, clapping. “Wonderful story, Sire! Shall I publish it with the rest of them?”
Leto thought for a moment and said, “Why on Old Earth would you not? Has it not issued from my lips? Does it not carry within the seeds of its own continuity? Will it not carry down the ages, inspiring billions of people for as many years? … Do we not have a deadline to meet and an imperial treasury to fill?”
“Of course my liege! You know best after all.”
“I am not like other people, Moneo, you should know this by now.”
“I’m just happy to serve you, grateful that my name will be recorded in history next to yours.”
Leto shifted his weight on his cart as it was wheeled across the sand and checked that Moneo, who was pulling, strapped to the cart by a harness, was upwind. They were alone and far out in the desert, away from any civilisation.
“I mean,” Moneo continued, “I really enjoy these stroies too, since I’m an Atreides heir I like to know about my legacy.”
Leto thought for a while about killing Moneo for those words. Then he decided against it. Let him think he is an important descendant. His blood is useful to me far more than his mind.
The cart made slow progress, which angered Leto, since he was used to getting things done quickly, and he gave Moneo the taste of his whip to speed up their progress. He still wasn’t happy about the arrangement, but he needed fast deployment of his forces into the deep desert where the uprising was centred and so sent his personal guard ahead by ‘thopter. At least he had someone to pull the cart though, since Moneo did not fly well.
A ringing noise cut into the silent desert air and Let answered his personal communicator.
“Sire, it’s Dominic from the Special Fish Speakers.”
Leto grunted and munched a spice biscuit.
“We’ve arrived at a border sietch and have begun damage control.”
“One does not need to control damage if there is no damage in the first place,” Leto said, threateningly, “If I hear any more of damage I shall be most displeased.”
“Yes sire, I meant we have begun to inform the ill-informed here. We have told them of your majestic works and how tirelessly you… work. We have also introduced a much-needed law here. Can you believe they were allowed to criticise the Emperor without actually being one themselves?”
Leto grunted his surprise.
“I know, Sire. How could they possibly know anything about galactic leadership if they don’t rule their own galaxy. It’s so hypocritical.”
“Good, Dominic. You get a gold star for the day.”
“Oh thank you, Sire, tha-”
Leto cut the communication, bored with the conversation. Instead he began recording his thoughts, using his personal thought-recording device. It was, after all, his responsibility to ensure that humanity benefited from the wisdom contained within his mind. However, he already had far too much to do to waste time actually speaking those words of wisdom. Better that they be recorded from his consciousness – it was far quicker. Probably as quick as 200 words per minute. At least. Far more efficient than talking.
As all this was recorded on his thought-recorder he watched the slow-moving landscape, the horizon no nearer than when last he looked and his blood boiled.
“Faster, Moneo, damn you! What do think you’re here for? To ramble on about your heroic ancestors? I AM your heroic ancestor, now ramble faster!”
Moneo squeaked and jumped to.
“Do you think I will be pleased if this uprising begins before we get there? I would very much like to watch as it is crushed under the weight of my loyal Fish Speakers. I want to watch as their leader, this Tali, is reduced to nothing before me. I want to taste her confession and sincere apologies before her head is paraded on an imperial banner. And I want to see her fanatical followers pleading for mercy before they are executed.”
These thoughts made him feel better and he sat back in his cart, looking for an old shigawire flick to take his mind off Tali and her fanatics. His tenacious hold on the imperial seat of Dune would never end while he had any strength at all and these dissenters were simply deluding themselves if they thought he could be wrested from it.
Dune is mine.