“These boots are made for walkin’, and that’s just what they’ll do”
—a song from Old Earth; and from Erasmus’s music collection,
which he keeps next to his Van Gogh reproduction.
“Ultimate Kwisatz?! You’ve lost something in the sack after the last 26 years being on the Ithaca,” said Murbella as she rolled out of bed next to Duncan Idaho on Synchrony. “What the hell were you doing while we were in the middle of…What was that glazed look in your eye? Who were you yelling at?”
Duncan put his pants on, one leg at a time, just like every other ultimate super-being. “Oh, since I am the Evermind, and in charge of each and every machine in the cosmos, I was telling the machine food processing units on Chapterhouse to ‘step it up a bit’.” Duncan turned around, and began yelling towards the ceiling at no one in particular. “Yeah, you, Daltrox 3000. I don’t care if you served on Synchrony. I’ve assigned you to Chapterhouse!”
Murbella continued, “So, while you were whispering my name?”
Idaho replied, “Oh, that wasn’t your name I was whispering. I was guiding the droids of Murbessa XII to cycle down for the night.”
She stammered, “But an hour ago while we were getting excited, you seemed so engaged in it all. So interested in me and my needs. The little questions about how your kiss felt on my lips. The inquisitive nature about the rise in my pheromones.”
Duncan said, “Oh, that was Erasmus. Yeah, he’s in here with me. When I’m feeling a little ‘down and out’, or distracted, I let him take over. He said that our foreplay would be a great way for him to further conduct his ‘observational’ experiments on female humans.”
Murbella commented, “I did seem to smell a little flowmetal.”
Duncan said, “Yeah, we are practically one and the same. I kind of went into ‘down mode’ and let him take on over!”
Janess Idaho’s mother said, “Down mode?”
Duncan explained, lacing up his boots, “Yeah, didn’t you ‘catch’ me switching to an English accent? You see, I move him and I around in my mind. I put him here with you, by letting the Big-E-Inside-of-Me take over. Then inside my ‘super-mind’, I can zone out and watch the robot death match on Mimbane through my tachyon Net.”
“Oh, so that explains your stopping to eat nachos a few minutes ago,” Murbella said.
Duncan explained, “The four super-truck machines are still going at it. Go Ford F-150! (product placement for the upcoming movie!) Erasmus said that you were a great partner, and the he gathered a lot of ‘info’. Damn Fiat! Use those giant tires! Oh, by the way, The Big E wants me to ask you if you’re a natural redhead?”
“I told him I didn’t know, and that it’s been 26 years. He said your hair follicles seemed different from all the other women.”
Murbella stopped him, “All the other women?”
“Oh yeah, Sheeana was here the other night. The Big-E was fascinated, and he really ‘gathered a lot of data’ on her,” Duncan replied.
Murbella said, “And?”
Duncan said matter-of-factly, “…and as I already ‘had’ Sheeana on the Ithaca a couple of years back, I didn’t want a repeat. So I took a mind-snoozer, put my body on ‘automatic’, and let my machine friend take over.” Duncan tapped at his temple. “But sometimes, the Big E can be too much even for me. The guy’s an ‘information’ maniac. I told him I’m the Ultimate Kwisatz, not the Ultimate Sex Machine. I’m not as young as I used to be. And I had to draw the line with him wanting me to dress up as his favorite role play that he used to do with Omnius, Ol’-Lady-Marty, earlier this week. You big kidder, Big E, to think that I thought you were an enhanced Face Dancer 26 years ago when I first saw you with Daniel.”
Suddenly, Duncan turned towards the wall, yelling at the air. “I told you that I wanted the pizza ovens on the left side of the restaurant set to 200 degrees Celsius.”
“There’s your yelling out again, and it’s been getting worse over the past day”, she said.
Duncan continued, “Yeah, I know. But a robot machine unit is malfunctioning on Gammu at CHOAM’s Pizza Hut (product placement again!). Thinking he can set the pizza ovens to 375 F. I had to tell him the ‘way it is’. No one puts one over on the super-being of the Cosmos-Universe-Imperium-Known Space. I have so much work for one man-robot-messiah-supervisor to do in a day. What were we saying?”
“Duncan, I was wondering, about those nu-Fish Speakers that you are training for your personal Army?”, she said, as it dawned on her the answer before he spoke.
“The Big E’s idea.”
Murbella asked, “And the fact that they all look like super models?”
Duncan replied with a big smile, “The Big E again. Although I do agree with him.”
“But didn’t Erasmus at least somewhat die on the Super-Day of Kralizec, at the Ultra-Ultimate Championship Fight here in the Cathedral, by merging with you? It took all of three hours. Round 1: Paul vs himself. Round 2: Vapor Normacle vs Omnius. Round 3: Yueh vs Vladimir. Round 5: Leto II vs Machines. Round 4: Erasmus vs Khrone? You remember, one minute humanity was going to be wiped out, the next day it was all better.” she asked.
Duncan said, “Oh yes, last month. Well, Erasmus simply won’t go. Now that he can live inside of a human, it’s a whole new experience, and he simply won’t die…Shut up you, you lazy machines of Lampadas, get back to work. You thought the dictators of Old Earth were bad!…Murbella, he really just wants me to line up the ladies, have me start to dress up as a pimp, and conduct his ‘experiments’. But The Big-E does have a request to ask of you.”
“What?”, said the former Honored Matre-Bene Gesserit-Valkyrie Leader-Spice Facilitator-Leader of the New Sisterhood.
“He wants you to put on a few pounds, and bleach your hair blonde, like Serena Butler. Then during our next time he wants you to cry out, ‘Xavier, Xavier’, as we make it in a pasture near some horses. Big E, you are obsessed with that Butler woman!” But then Duncan twisted again, this time screaming at the wall, only inches from it. “Sick of emptying Guild ships of spent fuel? You were created a waste processing machine, you will die one.”
Murbella circled around Duncan, “So this is what I have to look forward to the rest of my life. Erasmus’s sexual fantasies, and your spastic shouting at Machines all over the universe?”
“’fraid so, sugar,” Duncan said, and gasped.
“One Act can Change the Universe, Four Sentences Can Be a Chapter”
—Unknown Science Fiction Author, early 21st Century, Old Earth.
Murbella drove the knife deep into Duncan’s back, twisting and cutting, as his blood ran over the floor.
“I have a bad feeling about this. What the hell was that?”, Duncan said, as he tried futilely to pull the dagger out of his back.
“The Emperor’s Blade. Never needs sharpening, even after 5000 years of use. You remember: Shaddam, Leto I, Feyd, Paul, Marie Fenring, Hasimir, the Shrine on Dan, Paolo, Paul again, and now – you,” Murbella said as she walked out of the room.