Friday, 5 October 2007

Chiropodists of Dune

"Be cautious when greeting strangers; one seldom knows them as well as friends." Princess Irulan, The Pentateuch of Arrakis.

With his Tleilaxu eyes, the Face Dancer inspected the documents spread on the table beneath the window overlooking the Great Square of the Mahdi. Shai halud! If the Bene Gesserit should become aware of this breach of protocol...

"An Atreides has seen this?"

Tuarak the Fremen placed the coffee pot on the phase-table, which buzzed slightly, like an irritated cicada. "Seen? How could it be seen?"

The Face Dancer drew his breath sharply and swore in battle language. These were wheels within wheels! The subtleties of this exchange, should it ever come to the attention of CHOAM...

The consequences were unthinkable.

"You are thinking of the consequences," said Tuarak.

"On the contrary," smiled Scythnia. That put an entirely different complexion on the matter. He was deep, this one. If the Guild should ever hear of this meeting...

"Let me ask you something," he said, plunging the poisoned stiletto between the Fremen's ribs.

A moment later, folding his arms within the robes over the stillsuit, he let himself into the night. He seemed entirely calm, but he could not help a quckening of the heart which beat beneath the semblance of the old Fremen's skin. If the Mentats should hear of this!

"A pebble is not the same thing as a leaf, however softly it falls in the night." Ixian Axiom from the Orange Catholic Psalter.

The Steersman turned in his tank towards the figure who had entered the room.

"You look familiar," he said.

"I believe I was once known as Duncan Idaho."

"Oh Christ, not you again."