Chapter no 4


He will not be persuaded against trying to make this planet secure for us , she thought. And I cannot use my tricks on him.

“At what time will you be expecting dinner?” she asked.

That’s not what she was going to say , he thought. Ah-h-h-h, my Jessica, would that we were somewhere else, anywhere away from this terrible place – alone, the two of us, without a care .

“I’ll eat in the officers’ mess at the field,” he said. “Don’t expect me until very late. And . . .ah, I’ll be sending a guardcar for Paul. I want him to attend our strategy conference.”



He cleared his throat as though to say something else, then, without warning, turned and strode out, headed for the entry where she could hear more boxes being deposited. His voice sounded once from there, commanding and disdainful, the way he always spoke to servants when he was in a hurry: “The Lady Jessica’s in the Great Hall. Join her there immediately.”

The outer door slammed.

Jessica turned away, faced the painting of Leto’s father. It had been done by the famed artist, Albe, during the Old Duke’s middle years. He was portrayed in matador costume with a magenta cape flung over his left arm. The face looked young, hardly older than Leto’s now, and with the same hawk features, the same gray stare. She clenched her fists at her sides, glared at the painting.

“Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!” she whispered.

“What are your orders, Noble Born?”

It was a woman’s voice, thin and stringy.

Jessica whirled, stared down at a knobby, gray-haired woman in a shapeless sack dress of bondsman brown. The woman looked as wrinkled and desiccated as any member of the mob that had greeted them along the way from the landing field that morning. Every native she had seen on this planet, Jessica thought, looked prune dry and undernourished. Yet, Leto had said they were strong and vital. And there were the eyes, of course – that wash of deepest, darkest blue without any white – secretive, mysterious. Jessica forced herself not to stare.

The woman gave a stiff-necked nod, said: “I am called the Shadout Mapes, Noble Born. What are your orders?”

“You may refer to me as ‘my Lady,’ ” Jessica said. “I’m not noble born. I’m the bound concubine of the Duke Leto.”

Again that strange nod, and the woman peered upward at Jessica with a sly questioning, “There’s a wife, then?”

“There is not, nor has there ever been. I am the Duke’s only . . . companion, the mother of his heir-designate.”

Even as she spoke, Jessica laughed inwardly at the pride behind her words. What was it St. Augustine said? she asked herself. “The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.” Yes – I am meeting more resistance lately. I could use a quiet retreat by myself .

A weird cry sounded from the road outside the house. It was repeated: “Soo-soo-Sook! Soo-soo-Sook!” Then: “Ikhut-eigh! Ikhut-eigh!” And again: “Soo-soo-Sook!”

“What is that?” Jessica asked. “I heard it several times as we drove through the streets this morning.”

“Only a water-seller, my Lady. But you’ve no need to interest yourself in such as they. The cistern here holds fifty thousand liters and it’s always kept full.” She glanced down at her dress. “Why, you know, my Lady, I don’t even have to wear my stillsuit here?” She cackled. “And me not even dead!”

Jessica hesitated, wanting to question this Fremen woman, needing data to guide her. But bringing order of the confusion in the castle was more imperative. Still, she found the thought unsettling that water was a major mark of wealth here.

“My husband told me of your title, Shadout,” Jessica said. “I recognized the word. It’s a very ancient word.”

“You know the ancient tongues then?” Mapes asked, and she waited with an odd intensity.

“Tongues are the Bene Gesserit’s first learning,” Jessica said. “I know the Bhotani Jib and the Chakobsa, all the hunting languages.”

Mapes nodded. “Just as the legend says.”



And Jessica wondered: Why do I play out this sham? But the Bene Gesserit ways were devious and compelling.

“I know the Dark Things and the ways of the Great Mother,” Jessica said. She read the more obvious signs in Mapes’ actions and appearance, the petit betrayals. “Miseces prejia,” she said in the Chakobsa tongue. “Andral t’re pera! Trada cik buscakri miseces perakri – ”

Mapes took a backward step, appeared poised to flee.

“I know many things.” Jessica said. “I know that you have borne children, that you have lost loved ones, that you have hidden in fear and that you have done violence and will yet do more violence. I know many things.”

In a low voice, Mapes said: “I meant no offense, my Lady.”

“You speak of the legend and seek answers,” Jessica said. “Beware the answers you may find. I know you came prepared for violence with a weapon in your bodice.”

“My Lady, I . . . ”

“There’s a remote possibility you could draw my life’s blood,” Jessica said, “but in so doing you’d bring down more ruin than your wildest fears could imagine. There are worse things than dying, you know – even for an entire people.”

“My Lady!” Mapes pleaded. She appeared about to fall to her knees. “The weapon was sent as a gift to you should you prove to be the One.”

“And as the means of my death should I prove otherwise,” Jessica said. She waited in the seeming relaxation that made the Bene Gesserit-trained so terrifying in combat.

Now we see which way the decision tips , she thought.

Slowly, Mapes reached into the neck of her dress, brought out a dark sheath. A black handle with deep finger ridges protruded from it. She took sheath in one hand and handle in the other, withdrew a milk-white blade, held it up. The blade seemed to shine and glitter with a light of its own. It was double-edged like a kindjal and the blade was perhaps twenty centimeters long.

“Do you know this, my Lady?” Mapes asked.

It could only be one thing, Jessica knew, the fabled crysknife of Arrakis, the blade that had never been taken off the planet, and was known only by rumor and wild gossip.

“It’s a crysknife,” she said.

“Say it not lightly,” Mapes said. “Do you know its meaning?”

And Jessica thought: There was an edge to that question. Here’s the reason this Fremen has taken service with me, to ask that one question. My answer could precipitate violence or . . . what? She seeks an answer from me: the meaning of a knife. She’s called the Shadow in the Chakobsa tongue. Knife, that’s “Death Maker” in Chakobsa. She’s getting restive. I must answer now. Delay is as dangerous as the wrong answer.

Jessica said: “It’s a maker – ”

“Eighe-e-e-e-e-e!” Mapes wailed. It was a sound of both grief and elation. She trembled so hard the knife blade sent glittering shards of reflection shooting around the room.



Jessica waited, poised. She had intended to say the knife was a maker of death and then add the ancient word, but every sense warned her now, all the deep training of alertness that exposed meaning in the most casual muscle twitch.

The key word was . . . maker .

Maker? Maker .

Still, Mapes held the knife as though ready to use it.

Jessica said: “Did you think that I, knowing the mysteries of the Great Mother, would not know the Maker?”

Mapes lowered the knife. “My Lady, when one has lived with prophecy for so long, the moment of revelation is a shock.”

Jessica thought about the prophecy – the Shari -a and all the panoplia propheticus, a Bene Gesserit of the Missionaria Protectiva dropped here long centuries ago – long dead, no doubt, but her purpose accomplished: the protective legends implanted in these people against the day of a Bene Gesserit’s need.

Well, that day had come.

Mapes returned knife to sheath, said: “This is an unfixed blade, my Lady. Keep it near you. More than a week away from flesh and it begins to disintegrate. It’s yours, a tooth of shai-hulud, for as long as you live.”

Jessica reached out her right hand, risked a gamble: “Mapes, you’ve sheathed that blade unblooded.”

With a gasp, Mapes dropped the sheathed knife into Jessica’s hand, tore open the brown bodice, wailing: “Take the water of my life!”

Jessica withdrew the blade from its sheath. How it glittered! She directed the point toward Mapes, saw a fear greater than death-panic come over the woman. Poison in the point? Jessica wondered. She tipped up the point, drew a delicate scratch with the blade’s edge above Mapes’ left breast. There was a thick welling of blood that stopped almost immediately. Ultrafast coagulation , Jessica thought. A moisture-conserving mutation?

She sheathed the blade, said: “Button your dress, Mapes.”

Mapes obeyed, trembling. The eyes without whites stared at Jessica. “You are ours,” she muttered. “You are the One.”

There came another sound of unloading in the entry. Swiftly, Mapes grabbed the sheathed knife, concealed it in Jessica’s bodice. “Who sees that knife must be cleansed or slain!” she snarled. “You know that, my Lady!”

I know it now , Jessica thought.

The cargo handlers left without intruding on the Great Hall.

Mapes composed herself, said: “The uncleansed who have seen a crysknife may not leave Arrakis alive. Never forget that, my Lady. You’ve been entrusted with a crysknife.” She took a deep breath. “Now the thing must take its course. It cannot be hurried.” She glanced at the stacked boxes and piled goods around them. “And there’s work aplenty to while the time for us here.”

Jessica hesitated. “The thing must take its course .” That was a specific catchphrase from the Missionaria Protectiva’s stock of incantations – The coming of the Reverend Mother to free you .

But I’m not a Reverend Mother , Jessica thought. And then: Great Mother! They planted that one here! This must be a hideous place!

In matter-of-fact tones, Mapes said: “What’ll you be wanting me to do first, my Lady?”

Instinct warned Jessica to match that casual tone. She said: “The painting of the Old Duke over there, it must be hung on one side of the dining hall. The bull’s head must go on the wall opposite the painting.”

Mapes crossed to the bull’s head. “What a great beast it must have been to carry such a head,” she said. She stooped. “I’ll have to be cleaning this first, won’t I, my Lady?”


“But there’s dirt caked on its horns.”

“That’s not dirt, Mapes. That’s the blood of our Duke’s father. Those horns were sprayed with a transparent fixative within hours after this beast killed the Old Duke.”

Mapes stood up. “Ah, now!” she said.



“It’s just blood,” Jessica said. “Old blood at that. Get some help hanging these now. The beastly things are heavy.”

“Did you think the blood bothered me?” Mapes asked. “I’m of the desert and I’ve seen blood aplenty.”

“I . . . see that you have,” Jessica said.

“And some of it my own,” Mapes said. “More’n you drew with your puny scratch.”

“You’d rather I’d cut deeper?”

“Ah, no! The body’s water is scant enough ‘thout gushing a wasteful lot of it into the air. You did the thing right.”

And Jessica, noting the words and manner, caught the deeper implications in the phrase, ‘the body’s water’. Again she felt a sense of oppression at the importance of water on Arrakis.

“On which side of the dining hall shall I hang which one of these pretties, my Lady?” Mapes asked.

Ever the practical one, this Mapes , Jessica thought. She said: “Use your own judgment, Mapes. It makes no real difference.”

“As you say, my Lady.” Mapes stooped, began clearing wrappings and twine from the head. “Killed an old duke, did you?” she crooned.

“Shall I summon a handler to help you?” Jessica asked.

“I’ll manage, my Lady.”

Yes, she’ll manage , Jessica thought. There’s that about this Fremen creature: the drive to manage .

Jessica felt the cold sheath of the crysknife beneath her bodice, thought of the long chain of Bene Gesserit scheming that had forged another link here. Because of that scheming, she had survived a deadly crisis. “It cannot be hurried,” Mapes had said. Yet there was a tempo of headlong rushing to this place that filled Jessica with foreboding. And not all the preparations of the Missionaria Protectiva nor Hawat’s suspicious inspection of this castellated pile of rocks could dispel the feeling.

“When you’ve finished hanging those, start unpacking the boxes,” Jessica said. “One of the cargo men at the entry has all the keys and knows where things should go. Get the keys and the list from him. If there are any questions I’ll be in the south wing.”

“As you will, my Lady,” Mapes said.

Jessica turned away, thinking: Hawat may have passed this residency as safe, but there’s something wrong about the place. I can feel it .

An urgent need to see her son gripped Jessica. She began walking toward the arched doorway that led into the passage to the dining hall and the family wings. Faster and faster she walked until she was almost running.

Behind her, Mapes paused in clearing the wrappings from the bull’s head, looked at the retreating back. “She’s the One all right,” she muttered. “Poor thing.”

“Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!” goes the refrain. “A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!”

– from “A Child’s History of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

The door stood ajar, and Jessica stepped through it into a room with yellow walls. To her left stretched a low settee of black hide and two empty bookcases, a hanging waterflask with dust on its bulging sides. To her right, bracketing another door, stood more empty bookcases, a desk from Caladan and three chairs. At the windows directly ahead of her stood Dr. Yueh, his back to her, his attention fixed upon the outside world.

Jessica took another silent step into the room.



She saw that Yueh’s coat was wrinkled, a white smudge near the left elbow as though he had leaned against chalk. He looked, from behind, like a fleshless stick figure in overlarge black clothing, a caricature poised for stringy movement at the direction of a puppet master. Only the squarish block of head with long ebony hair caught in its silver Suk School ring at the shoulder seemed alive – turning slightly to follow some movement outside.

Again, she glanced around the room, seeing no sign of her son, but the closed door on her right, she knew, let into a small bedroom for which Paul had expressed a liking.

“Good afternoon. Dr. Yueh,” she said. “Where’s Paul?”

He nodded as though to something out the window, spoke in an absent manner without turning: “Your son grew tired, Jessica. I sent him into the next room to rest.”

Abruptly, he stiffened, whirled with mustache flopping over his purpled lips. “Forgive me, my Lady! My thoughts were far away . . . I . . . did not mean to be familiar.”

She smiled, held out her right hand. For a moment, she was afraid he might kneel. ” Wellington , please.”

“To use your name like that . . . I . . . ”

“We’ve known each other six years,” she said. “It’s long past time formalities should’ve been dropped between us – in private.”

Yueh ventured a thin smile, thinking: I believe it has worked. Now, she’ll think anything unusual in my manner is due to embarrassment. She’ll not look for deeper reasons when she believes she already knows the answer .

“I’m afraid I was woolgathering,” he said. “Whenever I . . . feel especially sorry for you. I’m afraid I think of you as . . . well, Jessica.”

“Sorry for me? Whatever for?”

Yueh shrugged. Long ago, he had realized Jessica was not gifted with the full Truthsay as his Wanna had been. Still, he always used the truth with Jessica whenever possible. It was safest.

“You’ve seen this place, my . . . Jessica.” He stumbled over the name, plunged ahead: “So barren after Caladan. And the people! Those townswomen we passed on the way here wailing beneath their veils. The way they looked at us.”

She folded her arms across her breast, hugging herself, feeling the crysknife there, a blade ground from a sandworm’s tooth, if the reports were right. “It’s just that we’re strange to them – different people, different customs. They’ve known only the Harkonnens.” She looked past him out the windows. “What were you staring at out there?”



He turned back to the window. “The people.”

Jessica crossed to his side, looked to the left toward the front of the house where Yueh’s attention was focused. A line of twenty palm trees grew there, the ground beneath them swept clean, barren. A screen fence separated them from the road upon which robed people were passing. Jessica detected a faint shimmering in the air between her and the people – a house shield – and went on to study the passing throng, wondering why Yueh found them so absorbing.

The pattern emerged and she put a hand to her cheek. The way the passing people looked at the palm trees! She saw envy, some hate . . . even a sense of hope. Each person raked those trees with a fixity of expression.

“Do you know what they’re thinking?” Yueh asked.

“You profess to read minds?” she asked.

“Those minds,” he said. “They look at those trees and they think; ‘There are one hundred of us.’ That’s what they think.”

She turned a puzzled frown on him. “Why?”

“Those are date palms,” he said. “One date palm requires forty liters of water a day. A man requires but eight liters. A palm, then, equals five men. There are twenty palms out there – one hundred men.”

“But some of those people look at the trees hopefully.”

“They but hope some dates will fall, except it’s the wrong season.”

“We look at this place with too critical an eye,” she said. “There’s hope as well as danger here. The spice could make us rich. With a fat treasury, we can make this world into whatever we wish.”

And she laughed silently at herself: Who am I trying to convince? The laugh broke through her restraints, emerging brittle, without humor. “But you can’t buy security,” she said.

Yueh turned away to hide his face from her. If only it were possible to hate these people instead of love them! In her manner, in many ways, Jessica was like his Wanna. Yet that thought carried its own rigors, hardening him to his purpose. The ways of the Harkonnen cruelty were devious. Wanna might not be dead. He had to be certain.

“Do not worry for us, Wellington ,” Jessica said. “The problem’s ours, not yours.”

She thinks I worry for her! He blinked back tears. And I do, of course. But I must stand before that black Baron with his deed accomplished, and take my one chance to strike him where he is weakest – in his gloating moment!

He sighed.

“Would it disturb Paul if I looked in on him?” she asked.

“Not at all. I gave him a sedative.”

“He’s taking the change well?” she asked.



“Except for getting a bit overtired. He’s excited, but what fifteen-year-old wouldn’t be under these circumstances?” He crossed to the door, opened it. “He’s in here.”

Jessica followed, peered into a shadowy room.

Paul lay on a narrow cot, one arm beneath a light cover, the other thrown back over his head. Slatted blinds at a window beside the bed wove a loom of shadows across face and blanket.

Jessica stared at her son, seeing the oval shape of face so like her own. But the hair was the Duke’s – coal-colored and tousled. Long lashes concealed the lime-toned eyes. Jessica smiled, feeling her fears retreat. She was suddenly caught by the idea of genetic traces in her son’s features – her lines in eyes and facial outline, but sharp touches of the father peering through that outline like maturity emerging from childhood.

She thought of the boy’s features as an exquisite distillation out of random patterns – endless queues of happenstance meeting at this nexus. The thought made her want to kneel beside the bed and take her son in her arms, but she was inhibited by Yueh’s presence. She stepped back, closed the door softly.

Yueh had returned to the window, unable to bear watching the way Jessica stared at her son. Why did Wanna never give me children? he asked himself. I know as a doctor there was no physical reason against it. Was there some Bene Gesserit reason? Was she, perhaps, instructed to serve a different purpose? What could it have been? She loved me, certainly .

For the first time, he was caught up in the thought that he might be part of a pattern more involuted and complicated than his mind could grasp.

Jessica stopped beside him, said: “What delicious abandon in the sleep of a child.”

He spoke mechanically: “If only adults could relax like that.”


“Where do we lose it?” he murmured.

She glanced at him, catching the odd tone, but her mind was still on Paul, thinking of the new rigors in his training here, thinking of the differences in his life now – so very different from the life they once had planned for him.

“We do, indeed, lose something,” she said.

She glanced out to the right at a slope humped with a wind-troubled gray-green of bushes – dusty leaves and dry claw branches. The too-dark sky hung over the slope like a blot, and the milky light of the Arrakeen sun gave the scene a silver cast – light like the crysknife concealed in her bodice.

“The sky’s so dark,” she said.

“That’s partly the lack of moisture,” he said.

“Water!” she snapped. “Everywhere you turn here, you’re involved with the lack of water!”

“It’s the precious mystery of Arrakis,” he said.



“Why is there so little of it? There’s volcanic rock here. There’re a dozen power sources I could name. There’s polar ice. They say you can’t drill in the desert – storms and sandtides destroy equipment faster than it can be installed, if the worms don’t get you first. They’ve never found water traces there, anyway. But the mystery, Wellington , the real mystery is the wells that’ve been drilled up here in the sinks and basins. Have you read about those?”

“First a trickle, then nothing,” he said.

“But, Wellington , that’s the mystery. The water was there. It dries up. And never again is there water. Yet another hole nearby produces the same result: a trickle that stops. Has no one ever been curious about this?”

“It is curious,” he said. “You suspect some living agency? Wouldn’t that have shown in core samples?”

“What would have shown? Alien plant matter . . . or animal? Who could recognize it?” She turned back to the slope. “The water is stopped. Something plugs it. That’s my suspicion.”

“Perhaps the reason’s known,” he said. “The Harkonnens sealed off many sources of information about Arrakis. Perhaps there was reason to suppress this.”

“What reason?” she asked. “And then there’s the atmospheric moisture. Little enough of it, certainly, but there’s some. It’s the major source of water here, caught in windtraps and precipitators. Where does that come from?”

“The polar caps?”

“Cold air takes up little moisture, Wellington . There are things here behind the Harkonnen veil that bear close investigation, and not all of those things are directly involved with the spice.”

“We are indeed behind the Harkonnen veil,” he said. “Perhaps we’ll . . .” He broke off, noting the sudden intense way she was looking at him. “Is something wrong?”

“The way you say ‘Harkonnen,’ ” she said. “Even my Duke’s voice doesn’t carry that weight of venom when he uses the hated name. I didn’t know you had personal reasons to hate them, Wellington .”

Great Mother! he thought. I’ve aroused her suspicions! Now I must use every trick my Wanna taught me. There’s only one solution: tell the truth as far as I can .

He said: “You didn’t know that my wife, my Wanna . . . ” He shrugged, unable to speak past a sudden constriction in his throat. Then: “They . . . ” The words would not come out. He felt panic, closed his eyes tightly, experiencing the agony in his chest and little else until a hand touched his arm gently.

“Forgive me,” Jessica said. “I did not mean to open an old wound.” And she thought: Those animals! His wife was Bene Gesserit – the signs are all over him. And it’s obvious the Harkonnens killed her. Here’s another poor victim bound to the Atreides by a cherem of hate .

“I am sorry,” he said. “I’m unable to talk about it.” He opened his eyes, giving himself up to the internal awareness of grief. That, at least, was truth.

Jessica studied him, seeing the up-angled cheeks, the dark sequins of almond eyes, the butter complexion, and stringy mustache hanging like a curved frame around purpled lips and narrow chin. The creases of his cheeks and forehead, she saw, were as much lines of sorrow as of age. A deep affection for him came over her.

” Wellington , I’m sorry we brought you into this dangerous place,” she said.

“I came willingly,” he said. And that, too, was true.



“But this whole planet’s a Harkonnen trap. You must know that.”

“It will take more than a trap to catch the Duke Leto,” he said. And that, too, was true.

“Perhaps I should be more confident of him,” she said. “He is a brilliant tactician.”

“We’ve been uprooted,” he said. “That’s why we’re uneasy.”

“And how easy it is to kill the uprooted plant,” she said. “Especially when you put it down in hostile soil.”

“Are we certain the soil’s hostile?”

“There were water riots when it was learned how many people the Duke was adding to the population,” she said. “They stopped only when the people learned we were installing new windtraps and condensers to take care of the load.”

“There is only so much water to support human life here,” he said. “The people know if more come to drink a limited amount of water, the price goes up and the very poor die. But the Duke has solved this. It doesn’t follow that the riots mean permanent hostility toward him.”

“And guards,” she said. “Guards everywhere. And shields. You see the blurring of them everywhere you look. We did not live this way on Caladan.”

“Give this planet a chance,” he said.

But Jessica continued to stare hard-eyed out the window. “I can smell death in this place,” she said. “Hawat sent advance agents in here by the battalion. Those guards outside are his men. The cargo handlers are his men. There’ve been unexplained withdrawals of large sums from the treasury. The amounts mean only one thing: bribes in high places.” She shook her head. “Where Thufir Hawat goes, death and deceit follow.”

“You malign him.”

“Malign? I praise him. Death and deceit are our only hopes now. I just do not fool myself about Thufir’s methods.”

“You should . . . keep busy,” he said. “Give yourself no time for such morbid – ”

“Busy! What is it that takes most of my time, Wellington ? I am the Duke’s secretary – so busy that each day I learn new things to fear . . . things even he doesn’t suspect I know.” She compressed her lips, spoke thinly: “Sometimes I wonder how much my Bene Gesserit business training figured in his choice of me.”

“What do you mean?” He found himself caught by the cynical tone, the bitterness that he had never seen her expose.

“Don’t you think, Wellington ,” she asked, “that a secretary bound to one by love is so much safer?”

“That is not a worthy thought, Jessica.”

The rebuke came naturally to his lips. There was no doubt how the Duke felt about his concubine. One had only to watch him as he followed her with his eyes.

She sighed. “You’re right. It’s not worthy.”

Again, she hugged herself, pressing the sheathed crysknife against her flesh and thinking of the unfinished business it represented.

“There’ll be much bloodshed soon,” she said. “The Harkonnens won’t rest until they’re dead or my Duke destroyed. The Baron cannot forget that Leto is a cousin of the royal blood – no matter what the distance – while the Harkonnen titles came out of the CHOAM pocketbook. But the poison in him, deep in his mind, is the knowledge that an Atreides had a Harkonnen banished for cowardice after, the Battle of Corrin.”

“The old feud,” Yueh muttered. And for a moment he felt an acid touch of hate. The old feud had trapped him in its web, killed his Wanna or – worse – left her for Harkonnen tortures until her husband did their bidding. The old feud had trapped him and these people were part of that poisonous thing. The irony was that such deadliness should come to flower here on Arrakis, the one source in the universe of melange, the prolonger of life, the giver of health.

“What are you thinking?” she asked.

“I am thinking that the spice brings six hundred and twenty thousand Solaris the decagram on the open market right now. That is wealth to buy many things.”

“Does greed touch even you, Wellington ?”

“Not greed.”

“What then?”

He shrugged. “Futility.” He glanced at her. “Can you remember your first taste of spice?”



“It tasted like cinnamon.”

“But never twice the same,” he said. “It’s like life – it presents a different face each time you take it. Some hold that the spice produces a learned-flavor reaction. The body, learning a thing is good for it, interprets the flavor as pleasurable – slightly euphoric. And, like life, never to be truly synthesized.”

“I think it would’ve been wiser for us to go renegade, to take ourselves beyond the Imperial reach,” she said.

He saw that she hadn’t been listening to him, focused on her words, wondering: Yes – why didn’t she make him do this? She could make him do virtually anything .

He spoke quickly because here was truth and a change of subject: “Would you think it bold of me . . . Jessica, if I asked a personal question?”

She pressed against the window ledge in an unexplainable pang of disquiet. “Of course not. You’re . . . my friend.”

“Why haven’t you made the Duke marry you?”

She whirled, head up, glaring. “Made him marry me? But – ”

“I should not have asked,” he said.

“No.” She shrugged. “There’s good political reason – as long as my Duke remains unmarried some of the Great Houses can still hope for alliance. And . . .” She sighed. “. . . motivating people, forcing them to your will, gives you a cynical attitude toward humanity. It degrades everything it touches. If I made him do . . . this, then it would not be his doing.”

“It’s a thing my Wanna might have said,” he murmured. And this, too, was truth. He put a hand to his mouth, swallowing convulsively. He had never been closer to speaking out, confessing his secret role.

Jessica spoke, shattering the moment. “Besides, Wellington , the Duke is really two men. One of them I love very much. He’s charming, witty, considerate . . . tender – everything a woman could desire. But the other man is . . . cold, callous, demanding, selfish – as harsh and cruel as a winter wind. That’s the man shaped by the father.” Her face contorted. “If only that old man had died when my Duke was born!”

In the silence that came between them, a breeze from a ventilator could be heard fingering the blinds.

Presently, she took a deep breath, said, “Leto’s right – these rooms are nicer than the ones in the other sections of the house.” She turned, sweeping the room with her gaze. “If you’ll excuse me, Wellington , I want another look through this wing before I assign quarters.”

He nodded. “Of course.” And he thought: If only there were some way not to do this thing that I must do .

Jessica dropped her arms, crossed to the hall door and stood there a moment, hesitating, then let herself out. All the time we talked he was hiding something, holding something back , she thought. To save my feelings, no doubt. He’s a good man . Again, she hesitated, almost turned back to confront Yueh and drag the hidden thing from him. But that would only shame him, frighten him to learn he’s so easily read. I should place more trust in my friends .

Many have marked the speed with which Muad’Dib learned the necessities of Arrakis. The Bene Gesserit, of course, know the basis of this speed. For the others, we can say that Muad’Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It is shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad’Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.

– from “The Humanity of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan



Paul lay on the bed feigning sleep. It had been easy to palm Dr. Yueh’s sleeping tablet, to pretend to swallow it. Paul suppressed a laugh. Even his mother had believed him asleep. He had wanted to jump up and ask her permission to go exploring the house, but had realized she wouldn’t approve. Things were too unsettled yet. No. This way was best.

If I slip out without asking I haven’t disobeyed orders. And I will stay in the house where it’s safe .

He heard his mother and Yueh talking in the other room. Their words were indistinct – something about the spice . . . the Harkonnens. The conversation rose and fell.

Paul’s attention went to the carved headboard of his bed – a false headboard attached to the wall and concealing the controls for this room’s functions. A leaping fish had been shaped on the wood with thick brown waves beneath it. He knew if he pushed the fish’s one visible eye that would turn on the room’s suspensor lamps. One of the waves, when twisted, controlled ventilation. Another changed the temperature.

Quietly, Paul sat up in bed. A tall bookcase stood against the wall to his left. It could be swung aside to reveal a closet with drawers along one side. The handle on the door into the hall was patterned on an ornithopter thrust bar.

It was as though the room had been designed to entice him.

The room and this planet.

He thought of the filmbook Yueh had shown him – “Arrakis: His Imperial Majesty’s Desert Botanical Testing Station.” It was an old filmbook from before discovery of the spice. Names flitted through Paul’s mind, each with its picture imprinted by the book’s mnemonic pulse: saguaro, burro bush, date palm, sand verbena, evening primrose, barrel cactus, incense bush, smoke tree, creosote bush . . . kit fox, desert hawk, kangaroo mouse . . .

Names and pictures, names and pictures from man’s terranic past – and many to be found now nowhere else in the universe except here on Arrakis.

So many new things to learn about – the spice.

And the sandworms.

A door closed in the other room. Paul heard his mother’s footsteps retreating down the hall. Dr. Yueh, he knew, would find something to read and remain in the other room.

Now was the moment to go exploring.

Paul slipped out of the bed, headed for the bookcase door that opened into the closet. He stopped at a sound behind him, turned. The carved headboard of the bed was folding down onto the spot where he had been sleeping. Paul froze, and immobility saved his life.

From behind the headboard slipped a tiny hunter-seeker no more than five centimeters long. Paul recognized it at once – a common assassination weapon that every child of royal blood learned about at an early age. It was a ravening sliver of metal guided by some near-by hand and eye. It could burrow into moving flesh and chew its way up nerve channels to the nearest vital organ.

The seeker lifted, swung sideways across the room and back.

Through Paul’s mind flashed the related knowledge, the hunter-seeker limitations: Its compressed suspensor field distorted the vision of its transmitter eye. With nothing but the dim light of the room to reflect his target, the operator would be relying on motion – anything that moved. A shield could slow a hunter, give time to destroy it, but Paul had put aside his shield on the bed. Lasguns would knock them down, but lasguns were expensive and notoriously cranky of maintenance – and there was always the peril of explosive pyrotechnics if the laser beam intersected a hot shield. The Atreides relied on their body shields and their wits.

Now, Paul held himself in near catatonic immobility, knowing he had only his wits to meet this threat.

The hunter-seeker lifted another half meter. It rippled through the slatted light from the window blinds, back and forth, quartering the room.

I must try to grab it , he thought. The suspensor field will make it slippery on the bottom. I must grip tightly .



The thing dropped a half meter, quartered to the left, circled back around the bed. A faint humming could be heard from it.

Who is operating that thing? Paul wondered. It has to be someone near. I could shout for Yueh, but it would take him the instant the door opened .

The hall door behind Paul creaked. A rap sounded there. The door opened.

The hunter-seeker arrowed past his head toward the motion.

Paul’s right hand shot out and down, gripping the deadly thing. It hummed and twisted in his hand, but his muscles were locked on it in desperation. With a violent turn and thrust, he slammed the thing’s nose against the metal doorplate. He felt the crunch of it as the nose eye smashed and the seeker went dead in his hand.

Still, he held it – to be certain.

Paul’s eyes came up, met the open stare of total blue from the Shadout Mapes.

“Your father has sent for you,” she said. “There are men in the hall to escort you.”

Paul nodded, his eyes and awareness focusing on this odd woman in a sack-like dress of bondsman brown. She was looking now at the thing clutched in his hand.

“I’ve heard of suchlike,” she said. “It would’ve killed me, not so?”

He had to swallow before he could speak. “I . . . was its target.”

“But it was coming for me.”

“Because you were moving.” And he wondered: Who is this creature?

“Then you saved my life,” she said.

“I saved both our lives.”

“Seems like you could’ve let it have me and made your own escape,” she said.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“The Shadout Mapes, housekeeper.”

“How did you know where to find me?”

“Your mother told me. I met her at the stairs to the weirding room down the hall.” She pointed to her right. “Your father’s men are still waiting.”

Those will be Hawat’s men , he thought. We must find the operator of this thing .

“Go to my father’s men,” he said. “Tell them I’ve caught a hunter-seeker in the house and they’re to spread out and find the operator. Tell them to seal off the house and its grounds immediately. They’ll know how to go about it. The operator’s sure to be a stranger among us.”

And he wondered: Could it be this creature? But he knew it wasn’t. The seeker had been under control when she entered.

“Before I do your bidding, manling,” Mapes said, “I must cleanse the way between us. You’ve put a water burden on me that I’m not sure I care to support. But we Fremen pay our debts – be they black debts or white debts. And it’s known to us that you’ve a traitor in your midst. Who it is, we cannot say, but we’re certain sure of it. Mayhap there’s the hand guided that flesh-cutter.”



Paul absorbed this in silence: a traitor . Before he could speak, the odd woman whirled away and ran back toward the entry.

He thought to call her back, but there was an air about her that told him she would resent it. She’d told him what she knew and now she was going to do his bidding . The house would be swarming with Hawat’s men in a minute.

His mind went to other parts of that strange conversation: weirding room . He looked to his left where she had pointed. We Fremen . So that was a Fremen. He paused for the mnemonic blink that would store the pattern of her face in his memory – prune-wrinkled features darkly browned, blue-on-blue eyes without any white in them. He attached the label: The Shadout Mapes .

Still gripping the shattered seeker, Paul turned back into his room, scooped up his shield belt from the bed with his left hand, swung it around his waist and buckled it as he ran back out and down the hall to the left.

She’d said his mother was someplace down here – stairs . . . a weirding room .

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