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Dune: Paul’s Women, Chapter 22

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Paul’s Women

Book One: DUNE

Chapter 22

O Seas of Caladan,
O people of Duke Leto–
Citadel of Leto fallen,
Fallen forever...

- from "Songs of Muad’Dib" by the Princess Irulan

 

Paul felt that all his past, every experience before this night, had become sand curling in an hourglass. He sat near his mother hugging his knees within a small fabric and plastic hutment – a stilltent – that had come, like the Fremen clothing that lied beside them in the tent’s floor, from the pack left in the ’thopter.

There was no doubt in Paul’s mind who had put the Fremkit there, who had directed the course of the ’thopter carrying them captive.

Yueh.

The traitor doctor had sent them directly into the hands of Duncan Idaho.

Paul stared out the transparent end of the stilltent at the moonshadowed rocks that ringed this place where Idaho had hidden them.

Hiding like a child when, most possibly, I’m now the Duke, Paul thought. He felt the thought gall him, but could not deny the wisdom in what they did.

Something had happened to his awareness this night – he saw with sharpened clarity every circumstance and occurrence around him. He felt unable to stop the inflow of data or the cold precision with which each new item was added to his knowledge and the computation was centered in his awareness. It was Mentat power and more.

Paul thought back to the moment of impotent rage as the strange ’thopter dived out of the night onto them, stooping like a giant hawk above the desert with wind screaming through its wings. The thing in Paul’s mind had happened then. The ’thopter had skidded and slewed across a sand ridge toward the running figures–his mother and himself. Paul remembered how the smell of burned sulfur from abrasion of ’thopter skids against sand had drifted across them.

His mother, he knew, had turned, expected to meet a lasgun in the hands of Harkonnen mercenaries, and had recognized Duncan Idaho leaning out the ’thopter ’s open door shouting:

"Hurry! There’s wormsign south of you!"

But Paul had known as he turned who piloted the ’thopter. An accumulation of minutiae in the way it was flown, the dash of the landing – clues so small even his mother hadn’t detected them – had told Paul precisely who sat at those controls.

Across the small stilltent from Paul, Jessica stirred, her right hand landed softly on Paul’s naked shoulder. She rubbed her fingers across the nape of his neck and around his shoulder blade. That small warm contact was an effort to comfort him. Paul felt the necessity to thank her but he could only stand in silence. Finally she said:

"There can be only one explanation. The Harkonnens held Yueh’s wife. He hated the Harkonnens! I cannot be wrong about that. You read his note. But why has he saved us from the carnage?"

She is only now seeing it and that poorly, Paul thought. The thought was a shock. He had known this fact as a by-the-way thing while reading the note that had accompanied the ducal signet in the pack.

"Do not try to forgive me," Yueh had written. "I do not want your forgiveness. I already have enough burdens. What I have done was done without malice or hope of another ’s understanding. It is my own tahaddi al-burhan, my ultimate test. I give you the Atreides ducal signet as token that I write truly. By the time you read this, Duke Leto will be dead. Take consolation from my assurance that he did not die alone, that one we hate above all others died with him."

It had not been addressed or signed, but there’d been no mistaking the familiar scrawl – Yueh’s.

Remembering the letter, Paul re-experienced the distress of that moment – a thing sharp and strange that seemed to happen outside his new mentat alertness. He had read that his father was dead, known the truth of the words, but had felt them as no more than another datum to be entered in his mind and used.

I loved my father, Paul thought, and knew this for truth. I should mourn him. I should feel something. But maybe he was not dead! Paul wanted to believe that his father had a chance.

But he felt nothing except: Here’s an important fact.

It was one with all the other facts.

All the while his mind was adding sense impressions, extrapolating, computing.

Halleck’s words came back to Paul: "Mood’s a thing for cattle or for making love. You fight when the necessity arises, no matter your mood.”

Perhaps that’s it, Paul thought. I’ll mourn my father later... when there’s time.

But he felt no letup in the cold precision of his being. He sensed that his new awareness was only a beginning, that it was growing. The sense of terrible purpose he’d first experienced in his ordeal with the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam pervaded him. His right hand–the hand of remembered pain – tingled and throbbed.

Is this what it is to be their Kwisatz Haderach? He wondered.

"For a while, I thought Hawat had failed us again," Jessica said. "I thought perhaps Yueh wasn’t a Suk doctor."

"He was everything we thought him... and more," Paul said. And he thought: Why is she so slow seeing these things? He said, "If Idaho doesn’t get through to Kynes, we’ll be–"

"He’s not our only hope," she said when leaned over him. She embraced her son from behind and gently kissed him on the neck.

"He’s not our only hope," she repeated.

"Such was not my suggestion," he said.

She heard the steel in his voice, the sense of command, and stared across the grey darkness of the stilltent at him. Paul was a silhouette against moon – frosted rocks seen through the tent’s transparent end.

"Others among your father’s men will have escaped," she said. "We must regather them, find –"

"We will depend upon ourselves," he said. "Our immediate concern is our family atomics. We must get them before the Harkonnens can search them out."

"Not likely they’ll be found," she said, "the way they were hidden."

"It must not be left to chance."

And she thought: Blackmail with the family atomics as a threat to the planet and its spice–that’s what he has in mind. But all he can hope for then is escape into renegade anonymity.

His mother’s words had provoked another train of thought in Paul – a duke’s concern for all the people they’d lost this night. People are the true strength of a Great House, Paul thought. And he remembered Hawat’s words: "Parting with people is a sadness; a place is only a place." He was glad that he was not alone. He wanted to explain that to his mother. He leaned back against his mother warm body. He felt comfortable. The physical comfort helped him to think. The stilltent was good to recover their waters and allowed them to undress the sore stillsuits but was not warm or comfortable.

"They’re using Sardaukar," Jessica said, hugging him tighter. "We must wait until the Sardaukar have been withdrawn."

"They think us caught between the desert and the Sardaukar," Paul said turning his face so he could look to his mother in the eyes. "They intend that there be no Atreides survivors – total extermination. Do not count on any of our people escaping."

Jessica’s eyebrows clenched in a moment of tension. He raised his hand and made a light caress in his mothers beautiful face. Then he picked in a lock of her bronze hair to enroll it. Jessica’s relaxed and spoke:

"They cannot go on indefinitely risking exposure of the Emperor’s part in this."

"Can’t they?"

"Some of our people are bound to escape."

"Are they?"

He released her hair.

Jessica turned away, frightened of the bitter strength in her son’s voice, hearing the precise assessment of chances. The handle of her light tunic dropped from the shoulder to the arm. For a brief moment she felt quite naked and useless. She sensed that his mind had leaped ahead of her, that it now saw more in some respects than she did. She had helped train the intelligence which did this, but now she found herself fearful of it. Her thoughts turned, seeking toward the lost sanctuary of her Duke, and tears burned her eyes.

She took a deep breath.

This is the way it had to be, Leto, she thought. "A time of love and a time of grief." She rested her hand on her abdomen.

Paul turned to his mother. She remained with her back to him. Her long bronze hair once with and elaborated hairstyle now fell in curls down her back. The dark white tunic that she had maintained after undressing the stillsuit was too much small for her. Two handles in the shoulder maintained the tunic in place but it was too short and barely covered her hips, leaving her long legs uncovered. The right handle of the tunic had dropped and he could see that a part of her right breast was visible.

He stared for a moment noticing the breath of his mother in the tents shadows. When she inspired her chest was full and her breast seemed much bigger. He moved his hand to touch her but hesitated. His hand hovering in the air without reaching her. She was a beautiful woman. He couldn’t be surprised by his father’s love for her.

Finally he turn away again. He wasn’t dressed much better since he had removed his stillsuit. The loincloth torn from his mother’s tunic barely covered her waist.

"Try the communinet receiver again," Paul said, without knowing what more could be said.

The mind goes on working no matter how we try to hold it back, she thought.

Jessica found the tiny receiver Idaho had left for them, flipped its switch. A green light glowed on the instrument’s face. Tinny screeching came from its speaker. She reduced the volume, hunted across the bands. A voice speaking Atreides battle language came into the tent.

"... back and regroup at the ridge. Fedor reports no survivors in Carthag and the Guild Bank has been sacked."

Carthag! Jessica thought. That was a Harkonnen hotbed.

"They’re Sardaukar," the voice said. "Watch out for Sardaukar in Atreides uniforms. They’re..."

A roaring filled the speaker, then silence.

Paul look to his mother. They both knew what that silence meant. In that moment he noticed that one of the tunic handles were still down. Gently he pulled it up, fully covering her breast again.

"Try the other bands," he finally said.

"Do you realize what that means?" Jessica asked.

"I expected it. They want the Guild to blame us for destruction of their bank. With the Guild against us, we’re trapped on Arrakis. Try the other bands."

She weighed his words: I expected it. What had happened to him? Slowly, Jessica returned to the instrument. As she moved the bandslide, they caught glimpses of violence in the few voices calling out in Atreides battle language: "... fallback..." "...try to regroup a" "...trapped in a cave at..."

And there was no mistaking the victorious exultation in the Harkonnen gibberish that poured from the other bands. Sharp commands, battle reports. There wasn’t enough of it for Jessica to register and break the language, but the tone was obvious.

Harkonnen victory.

Paul shook the pack beside him, hearing the two literjons of water gurgle there. He took a deep breath, looked up through the transparent end of the tent at the rock escarpment outlined against the stars. His left hand felt the sphincter-seal of the tent’s entrance. "It’ll be dawn soon," he said. "We can wait through the day for Idaho, but not through another night. In the desert, you must travel by night and rest in shade through the day."

Remembered lore insinuated itself into Jessica’s mind: Without a stillsuit, a man sitting in shade on the desert needs five liters of water a day to maintain body weight. She looked to the slick-soft skin of the stillsuit in the floor, thinking how their lives depended on these garments.

"If we leave here, Idaho can’t find us," she said.

"There are ways to make any man talk," he said. "If Idaho hasn’t returned by dawn, we must consider the possibility he has been captured. How long do you think he could hold out?"

The question required no answer, and she sat in silence.

Paul lifted the seal on the pack, pulled out a tiny micromanual with glowtab and magnifier.

Green and orange letters leaped up at him from the pages: "literjons, stilltent, energy caps, recaths, sandsnork, binoculars, stillsuit repkit, baradye pistol, sinkchart, filt-plugs, paracompass, maker hooks, thumpers, Fremkit, fire pillar..."

So many things for survival on the desert.

Presently, he put the manual aside on the tent floor.

"Where can we possibly go?" Jessica asked.

"My father spoke of desert power," Paul said. "The Harkonnens cannot rule this planet without it. They’ve never ruled this planet, nor shall they. Not even with ten thousand legions of Sardaukar."

"Paul, you can’t think that–"

"We’ve all the evidence in our hands," he said. "Right here in this tent – the tent itself, this pack and its contents, these stillsuits. We know the Guild wants a prohibitive price for weather satellites. We know that –

"What’ve weather satellites to do with it?" she asked. "They couldn’t possibly..." She broke off.

Paul sensed the hyperalertness of his mind reading her reactions, computing on minutiae.

"You see it now," he said. "Satellites watch the terrain below. There are things in the deep desert that will not bear frequent inspection."

"You’re suggesting the Guild itself controls this planet?"

She was so slow and seemed so powerless there, half naked, seated on the tents floor.

"No!" he said. "The Fremen! They’re paying the Guild for privacy, paying in a coin that’s freely available to anyone with desert power–spice. This is more than a second-approximation answer; it’s the straight-line computation. Depend on it."

"Paul." Jessica said, "you’re not a Mentat yet; you can’t know for sure how- -"

"I’ll never be a Mentat," he said. "I’m something else... a freak."

"Paul! How can you say such –" She leaned forward and embrace him again.

He loved that embrace. In some tiny part of his body he wanted to be a child again, without fears, well protected by his mother.

"Leave me alone!"

He turned away from her, looking out into the night. Why can’t I mourn? he wondered. He felt that every fiber of his being craved this release, but it would be denied him forever.

Jessica had never heard such distress in her son’s voice. She wanted to reach out to him, hold him again, comfort him, help him – but she sensed there was nothing she could do at the moment. He had to solve this problem by himself.

The glowing tab of the Fremkit manual between them on the tent floor caught her eye. She lifted it, glanced at the flyleaf, reading: "Manual of ’The Friendly Desert,’ the place full of life. Here are the ayat and burhan of Life. Believe, and al-Lat shall never burn you."

It reads like the Azhar Book, she thought, recalling her studies of the Great Secrets. Has a Manipulator of Religions been on Arrakis?

Paul lifted the paracompass from the pack, returned it, said: "Think of all these special-application Fremen machines. They show unrivaled sophistication. Admit it. The culture that made these things betrays depths no one suspected."

Hesitating, still worried by the harshness in his voice, Jessica returned to the book, studied an illustrated constellation from the Arrakeen sky: "Muad’Dib: The Mouse," and noted that the tail pointed north.

Paul stared into the tent’s darkness at the dimly discerned movements of his mother revealed by the manual’s glowtab. Now is the time to carry out my father’s wish, he thought. I must give her his message now while she has time for grief. Grief would inconvenience us later. And he found himself shocked by precise logic.

"Mother," he said.

"Yes?"

She heard the change in his voice, felt coldness in her entrails at the sound. Never had she heard such harsh control.

"My father is alive," he said.

“You don’t know that! We are not sure!” She whispered. “I want that he is alive, but we don’t know, we must assume the worse!”

"That was one path!"

But she searched within herself for the coupling of fact and fact and fact – the Bene Gesserit way of assessing data–and it came to her: the sensation of terrifying loss.

Finally Jessica nodded, unable to speak.

“I hope you are right.”

"My father charged me once," Paul said, "to give you a message if anything happened to him. He feared you might believe he distrusted you."

That useless suspicion, she thought.

"He wanted you to know he never suspected you," Paul said, and explained the deception, adding: "He wanted you to know he always trusted you completely, always loved you and cherished you. He said he would sooner have mistrusted himself and he had but one regret – that he never made you his Duchess."

She brushed the tears coursing down her cheeks, thought: What a stupid waste of the body’s water!

But she knew this thought for what it was – the attempt to retreat from grief into anger. Leto, my Leto, she thought. What terrible things we do to those we love! With a violent motion, she extinguished the little manual’s glowtab.

Sobs shook her.

Paul heard his mother’s grief and felt the emptiness within himself. I have no grief, he thought. Why? Why? He felt the inability to grieve as a terrible flaw.

In the dark he turned around, his hands searched his mother. He found her and embraced her. This time was he the one who was given comfort. He kissed her in the forehead and slid down to kiss her face. He felt the salty humidity of her tears. Then he just hugged her.

"A time to get and time to lose," Jessica thought, quoting to herself from the O.C. Bible. "A time to keep and a time to cast away; a time for love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace."

Paul’s mind had gone on in its chilling precision. He saw the avenues ahead of them on this hostile planet. Without even the safety valve of dreaming, he focused his prescient awareness, seeing it as a computation of most probable futures, but with something more, an edge of mystery–as though his mind dipped into some timeless stratum and sampled the winds of the future.

Abruptly, as though he had found a necessary key, Paul’s mind climbed another notch in awareness. He felt himself clinging to this new level, clutching at a precarious hold and peering about. It was as though he existed within a globe with avenues radiating away in all directions... yet this only approximated the sensation.

He remembered once seeing a gauze kerchief blowing in the wind and now he sensed the future as though it twisted across some surface as undulant and impermanent as that of the windblown kerchief.

He saw people.

He felt the heat and cold of uncounted probabilities.

He knew names and places, experienced emotions without number, reviewed data of in-numerable unexplored crannies. There was time to probe and test and taste, but no time to shape.

The thing was a spectrum of possibilities from the most remote past to the most remote future – from the most probable to the most improbable. He saw his own death in countless ways. He saw new planets, new cultures.

People.

People.

He saw them in such swarms they could not be listed, yet his mind catalogued them.

Even the Guildsmen.

And he thought: The Guild – there’d be a way for us, my strangeness accepted as a familiar thing of high value, always with an assured supply of the now – necessary spice.

But the idea of living out his life in the mind-groping-ahead-through- possible-futures that guided hurtling spaceships appalled him. It was a way, though. And in meeting the possible future that contained Guildsmen he recognized his own strangeness.

I have another kind of sight. I see another kind of terrain: the available paths.

The awareness conveyed both reassurance and alarm–so many places on that other kind of terrain dipped or turned out of his sight.

As swiftly as it had come, the sensation slipped away from him, and he realized the entire experience had taken the space of a heartbeat.

Yet, his own personal awareness had been turned over, illuminated in a terrifying way.

He stared around him.

Night still covered the stilltent within its rock-enclosed hideaway. His mother’s grief could still be heard, silently crying in his arms.

His own lack of grief could still be felt... that hollow place somewhere separated from his mind, which went on in its steady pace–dealing with data, evaluating, computing, submitting answers in something like the Mentat way.

And now he saw that he had a wealth of data few such minds ever before had encompassed. But this made the empty place within him no easier to bear. He felt that something must shatter. It was as though a clockwork control for a bomb had been set to ticking within him. It went on about its business no matter what he wanted. It recorded minuscule shadings of difference around him–a slight change in moisture, a fractional fall in temperature, the progress of an insect across their stilltent roof, the solemn approach of dawn in the starlighted patch of sky he could see out the tent’s transparent end.

The emptiness was unbearable. Knowing how the clockwork had been set in motion made no difference. He could look to his own past and see the start of it–the training, the sharpening of talents, the refined pressures of sophisticated disciplines, even exposure to the O.C. Bible at a critical moment... and, lastly, the heavy intake of spice. And he could look ahead–the most terrifying direction–to see where it all pointed.
I’m a monster! He thought. A freak!

"No," he said. Then: "No. No! NO!"

He found embracing her mother too tight and in a quick movement he released her, giving a step back, fearing to hurt her. Somehow he torn apart his mother’s tunic. (The implacable part of him recorded this as an interesting emotional datum and fed it into computation.)

"Paul!" she called even without trying to cover.

His mother was beside him, holding his hands, her face a gray blob peering at him.

"Paul, what’s wrong?"

"You!" he said.

"I’m here, Paul," she said. "It’s all right."

"What have you done to me?" he demanded.

In a burst of clarity, she sensed some of the roots in the question, said:

"I gave birth to you. I nursed you with my breasts and loved you".

With her hands she guided him to her breasts.

It was, from instinct as much as her own subtle knowledge, the precisely correct answer to calm him.

He felt her hands holding his, against the soft and harm skin of her breasts, focused on the dim outline of her face. (Certain gene traces in her facial structure were noted in the new way by his onflowing mind, the clues added to other data, and a final - summation answer put forward.)

Without even noticing he was massaging her breasts with his hands. He leaned forward, removed one hand and took a nipple in his mouth. He was invaded by a peaceful illusion. He was a child again. Sucking his mother’s breasts. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t feeding him with milk. Because she was feeding him with an illusion.

Jessica understood that he needed that close comfort. She left his hands explore her breasts and again she embraced him, caressing his hair and his neck, kissing his forehead. Singing a child’s song as she had made many years ago. Feeding him with energy to go on.

But Paul seemed to wake up from an ecstasy.

"Let go of me," he said. “I will never be a child again”

She heard the iron in his voice, obeyed.

"Do you want to tell me what’s wrong, Paul?"

"Did you know what you were doing when you trained me?" he asked.

There’s no more childhood in his voice, she thought. And she said: "I hoped the thing any parent hopes – that you’d be... superior, different."

"Different?"

She heard the bitterness in his tone, said:

"Paul, I –"

"You didn’t want a son!" he said. "You wanted a Kwisatz Haderach! You wanted a male Bene Gesserit!"

She recoiled from his bitterness. "But Paul..."

"Did you ever consult my father in this?"

She spoke gently out of the freshness of her grief: "Whatever you are, Paul, the heredity is as much your father as me."

"But not the training," he said. "Not the things that... awakened... the sleeper."

"Sleeper?"

"It’s here." He put a hand to his head and then to his naked chest. "In me. It goes on and on and on and on and –"

"Paul!"

She had heard the hysteria edging his voice.

"Listen to me," he said. "You wanted the Reverend Mother to hear about my dreams: You listen in her place now. I’ve just had a waking dream. Do you know why?"

"You must calm yourself," she said. "If there’s –"

"The spice," he said, "It’s in everything here – the air, the soil, the food. The geriatric spice it’s like the Truthsayer drug. It’s a poison!"

She stiffened.

His voice lowered and he repeated: "A poison – so subtle, so insidious... so irreversible.It won’t even kill you unless you stop taking it. We can’t leave Arrakis unless we take part of Arrakiswith us."

The terrifying presence of his voice brooked no dispute.

"You and the spice," Paul said. "The spice changes anyone who gets this much of it, but thanks to you, I could bring the change to consciousness. I don’t get to leave it in the unconscious where its disturbance can be blanked out. I can see it."

"Paul, you –"

"I see it!" he repeated.

She heard madness in his voice, and she didn’t know what to do. She took him in her arms and he didn’t refuse her. He didn’t move away. She sensed the touch of his skin, the skin of his chest with her naked breast. She sensed something more, something that she knew it would happen, she couldn’t be surprised. He had an erection. His male member had left thong coverage and was touching her leg, near her groin. For a moment she froze, even with all that she had done, she knew that this time it could be different, they were alone in the tent, if they crossed the line she couldn’t fall back.

But he spoke again, and she heard the iron control return to him: "We’re trapped here."

“We’re trapped here”, she agreed.

And she accepted the truth of his words. No pressure of the Bene Gesserit, no trickery or artifice could pry them completely free from Arrakis: the spice was addictive. Her body had known the fact long before her mind awakened to it.

So here we live out our lives, she thought, on this hell-planet. The place is prepared for us, if we can evade the Harkonnens. And there’s no doubt of my course: a broodmare preserving an important bloodline for the Bene Gesserit Plan.

"I must tell you about my waking dream," Paul said. (Now there was fury in his voice.) "To be sure you accept what I say, I’ll tell you first I know you’ll bear another son, my brother, here on Arrakis. That is a possible path."

That was much more that Jessica could endure. She finally felt back, breaking the contact with her sons erect member.

Jessica placed her hands against the tent floor, pressed back against the curving fabric wall to still a pang of fear.

“What was he saying?”

"Only to serve," Jessica whispered, clinging to the Bene Gesserit motto. "We exist only to serve."

"We’ll find a home among the Fremen," Paul said, "where your Missionaria Protectiva has bought us a bolt hole."

They’ve prepared a way for us in the desert, Jessica told herself. But how can he know of the Missionaria Protectiva? She found it increasingly difficult to subdue her terror at the overpowering strangeness in Paul.

He studied the dark shadow of her almost naked body, seeing her fear and every reaction with his new awareness as though she were outlined in blinding light. A beginning of compassion for her crept over him. He smiled in a tender way, to calm her. "The things that can happen here, I cannot begin to tell you," he said. "I cannot even begin to tell myself, although I’ve seen them. This sense of the future–I seem to have no control over it. The thing just happens. The immediate future–say, a year–I can see some of that... a road as broad as our Central Avenue on Caladan. Some places I don’t see... shadowed places... as though it went behind a hill" (and again he thought of the surface of a blowing kerchief)"... and there are branchings..."

He fell silent as memory of that seeing filled him. No prescient dream, no experience of his life had quite prepared him for the totality with which the veils had been ripped away to reveal naked time.

Recalling the experience, he recognized his own terrible purpose – the pressure of his life spreading outward like an expanding bubble... time retreating before it...

Jessica found the tent’s glowtab control, activated it.

Dim green light drove back the shadows, easing her fear. She looked at Paul’s face, his eyes – the inward stare. And she knew where she had seen such a look before: pictured in records of disasters – on the faces of children who experienced starvation or terrible injury. The eyes were like pits, mouth a straight line, cheeks indrawn.

It’s the look of terrible awareness, she thought, of someone forced to the knowledge of his own mortality.

He was, indeed, no longer a child. Only the final step was lacking to reach manhood.

The underlying import of his words began to take over in her mind, pushing all else aside. Paul could see paths ahead, a way of escape for them.

"There’s a way to evade the Harkonnens," she said.

"The Harkonnens!" he sneered. "Put those twisted humans out of your mind." He stared at his mother, studying the lines of her face in the light of the glowtab. The lines betrayed her.

She said:

"You shouldn’t refer to people as humans without –"

"Don’t be so sure you know where to draw the line," he said. "We carry our past with us. And, mother mine, there’s a thing you don’t know and should – we are Harkonnens."

Her mind did a terrifying thing: it blanked out as though it needed to shut off all sensation. But Paul’s voice went on at that implacable pace, dragging her with it.

"When next you find a mirror, study your face–study mine now. The traces are there if you don’t blind yourself. Look at my hands, the set of my bones. And if none of this convinces you, then take my word for it. I’ve walked the future, I’ve looked at a record, I’ve seen a place, I have all the data. We’re Harkonnens."

"A... renegade branch of the family," she said. "That’s it, isn’t it? Some Harkonnen cousin who–"

"You’re the Baron’s own daughter," he said, and watched the way she pressed her hands to her mouth. "The Baron sampled many pleasures in his youth, and once permitted himself to be seduced. But it was for the genetic purposes of the Bene Gesserit, by one of you."

The way he said ’you’ struck her like a slap. But it set her mind to working and she could not deny his words. So many blank ends of meaning in her past reached out now and linked The daughter the Bene Gesserit wanted – it wasn’t to end the old Atreides-Harkonnen feud, but to fix some genetic factor in their lines. What? She groped for an answer.

As though he saw inside her mind, Paul said:

"They thought they were reaching for me. But I’m not what they expected, and I’ve arrived before my time. And they don’t know it.

Jessica pressed her hands to her mouth.

Great Mother! He’s the Kwisatz Haderach!

She felt exposed and naked before him, realizing then that he saw her with eyes from which little could be hidden. And that, she knew, was the basis of her fear.

"You’re thinking I’m the Kwisatz Haderach," he said. "Put that out of your mind. I’m something unexpected."

I must get word out to one of the schools, she thought. The mating index may show what has happened.

"They won’t learn about me until it’s too late," he said.

She sought to divert him, lowered her hands and said:

"We’ll find a place among the Fremen?"

"The Fremen have a saying they credit to Shai-hulud, Old Father Eternity," he said. "They say: ’Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.’ "

And he thought: Yes, mother mine – among the Fremen. You’ll acquire the blue eyes and a callus beside your lovely nose from the filter tube to your stillsuit... and you’ll bear my brother: Leto.

Jessica’s hand moved unconsciously to her naked belly.

"If you’re not the Kwisatz Haderach," Jessica said, "what –"

"You couldn’t possibly know," he said. "You won’t believe it until you see it."

And he thought: I’m a seed.

He suddenly saw how fertile was the ground into which he had fallen, and with this realization, the terrible purpose filled him, creeping through the empty place within, threatening to choke him with grief.

He had seen two main branchings along the way ahead–in one he confronted an evil old Baron and said: "Hello, Grandfather." The thought of that path and what lay along it sickened him.

The other path held long patches of grey obscurity except for peaks of violence. He had seen a warrior religion there, a fire spreading across the universe with the Atreides green and black banner waving at the head of fanatic legions drunk on spice liquor. Gurney Halleck and a few others of his father’s men – a pitiful few – were among them, all marked by the hawk symbol from the shrine of his father ’s skull.

"I can’t go that way," he muttered. "That’s what the old witches of your schools really want."

But there was other path… a path that he couldn’t see clearly…

"I don’t understand you, Paul," his mother said.

He remained silent, thinking like the seed he was, thinking with the race consciousness he had first experienced as terrible purpose. He found that he no longer could hate the Bene Gesserit or the Emperor or even the Harkonnens. They were all caught up in the need of their race to renew its scattered inheritance, to cross and mingle and infuse their bloodlines in a great new pooling of genes. And the race knew only one sure way for this–the ancient way, the tried and certain way that rolled over everything in its path: jihad.

Surely, I cannot choose that way, he thought.

But he saw again in his mind’s eye the shrine of his father’s and the violence with the green and black banner waving in its midst.

Jessica cleared her throat, worried by his silence.

"Then... the Fremen will give us sanctuary?"

He looked up, staring across the green-lighted tent at the inbred, patrician beautiful lines of her face.

"Yes," he said. "That’s one of the ways." He nodded. "Yes. They’ll call me... Muad’Dib, ’The One Who Points the Way.’ Yes... that’s what they’ll call me."

He was tired, so tired. He needed to sleep.

“I need to sleep!”

Paul balanced his body forward. Jessica received him in her arms.

The last thing that he remembers before falling asleep was the warm body of his mother, her skin smell, her bronze hair with golden locks touching slight his face, almost ticking him, and the softness of her breasts that served as pillows.

She also did not take long to fall asleep.

***

The day was long. There was light out there.

She felt it again. His manhood. During the sleep he had embraced her with his strong arms. Slowly, in an incoherent rhythm, His hips begun to move and his member was erect and out of the loincloth. He was reaching for some friction, some satisfaction. Occasionally a moan escaped from his lips.

Jessica didn’t know how to act. As a Bene Gesserit she was trained to know how to give pleasure to men in many ways. In all the ways… but in that tent, she still knew if she would begun, she wouldn’t have strength to stop him.

In all her life she had only had one man. But this almost naked male next to her was her son. Her forbidden son. The fruit of her love to Leto. She knew that he needed the last steep to become a full man. He needed a last passage ritual. But for the time she was unaware of who would carry on that task.

She moved slowly, without wanting to totally wake him up. She turned her back to Paul and in no time their hips closed together. He moved one arm, still asleep and somehow cupped her breast from behind. His hips never stopped the constant swinging move. She slowly adjust her butt back and let the contact happened.

Jessica trembled when Paul’s penis touched her naked butt. She was not excited, but was probably a reaction to the spice that surrounded them in all the places in that planet. As he was half-asleep his penis was caught by her tunic wrapped at the waist. He rumbled in discontent. She hesitated only for a moment, and with her right hand trembling she placed his penis where it would be more comfortable, between her buttocks, as she had done it before, that warm place guarded by those two formidable round, soft and firm ass cheeks.

Paul’s reaction was immediate, he grabbed her breast stronger and he pumped his male member against the soft skin between her buttocks and let it slide in her ass crack. One time and other. He didn’t last long. He had been exited for too long and he exploded his white seed all over her back, moaning just a bit higher. Almost instantly he begun to drop the pressure in her breast, and went back to a more restful sleep.

Even if the danger had passed, their sleep was unstable. Some moments in a perfect rest, others she sensed her body being assaulted by the directionless hands his sleepy son and his male member looking between her calves.

Paul woke up. There was still daylight outside the tent. He could see that the sun was still high in the sky out the tent’s transparent end.

He still could feel the warmness of the sun rays filtered by the tent in his face.

Slowly we opened his eyes and regain full conscience.

He was trapped in a tender embrace with his mother, face to face, his nose almost touching hers. His right hand was resting carelessly in his mother’s butt. He sensed his mother’s soft and regular breath against his face. She was also awaken. He could sense it by her irregular breathing.

He thought that he should remove his hand from his mothers butt. He also realized that he had an erection, and that his member was barely touching his mothers belly.

“Mother” he called moving softly his had from the butt to the hips in what could be consider a caress. A part of his brain was yelling to him. He should remove his hand. But his senses made him continue that erogenous move. Her skin was so soft. So beautiful.

“Mother, I know you are awake!” he whispered.

In that moment Jessica opened her green eyes just to meet her son’s eyes. Both had begun to have bluish sparks. They were already touched by invisible hand of the spice.

She dropped her eyes to his erection.

“You have an erection… again!” She begun to move her hand… but hesitated. She always hesitated with her son. Sometimes it seemed that a shadow of the duke was among them.

Paul’s eyes followed hers. For a brief moment Paul felt ashamed. He also didn’t understood the real meaning of her words. He could see all the important paths in the universe, but he was blind before his mother’s words.

“It doesn’t matter” he just said removing his free hand from his mother’s hip. He turned away in the tents floor that they used as a bed. He couldn’t forget the events of the last days, he couldn’t forget that he was still considering his father’s fate.

“It does matter, Paul.” Jessica embraced him from behind. He felt the warm of his mother soft breasts when they made contact with his back. He trembled. “You are almost a man. Soon you will need to have a concubine… maybe between the Fremen we can find one to fulfill your needs…”

With one hand she made a caress in his stomach. She needed to regain his trust. She softly moved her hand up to his chest, in tender round movements. Then she went down to play with his bellybutton. Her warm breath burned his left hear even before she kissed it.

“I can help you, Paul. I can release you again!”

In a fast movement her hand went further down and evolved his member with all her fingers

Paul gasped.

“Come… suck my breasts as you were a baby…”

He finally acceded, and turned to his mother.

They look to each others eyes and stare. Jessica continued to caress softly his member in a slow masturbation. His sexual hunger grew as much as his member.

“I want to kiss you...”

After those words, Jessica didn’t wait for him. She knew that he still wanted to learn more and become more confident. She leaned forward, opened her lips, bent over and a moment later her lips were pressed to his. A moment later her tongue pushed into his mouth. She closed her eyes and puts all her knowledge in that kiss with their tongues searching each other's mouth, their saliva, their waters changing owner. He kissed her as if he was drinking her whole mouth, tongue, breath, her hole being.

He moaned one and another time. She liked when he moaned. It means that she wasn’t loosing the touch.

“Come closer, I will help you.”

Their lips finally come apart, just to Paul kiss her neck, smell her, lick her shoulder and lean to her breast. She adjust him in her lap, allowing his lascivious mouth to suck like an hungry baby. Again her hand reached his member.

She stroke him, slowly at the beginning, but in a firm and constant crescendo. She sensed when he needed more. His hungry mouth transmitted to her the urgency and impatience that his body had. He was driven mad by the abundance of her breasts, her milky skin, her slender waist, her long, curly, messy reddish hair. His hands mauled her, pressed deeply into her flesh, exploring and devouring her body, leaving red traces in the skin, in white places untouched by the sun.

Finally he gasped, his body begun to convulse, she felt his member to throb, his lips to close around her nipple, before a white explosion of semen wetted her hand and all the air around. She leaned forward and guided her member to her breasts, letting his faded erection to caress her, while pumping the last drops. Then, after a while, she took his deflected member in her mouth to raise it again.

Receiving her caresses, he closed his eyes again, thinking: Now, my father, if you are dead, I can mourn you. If you are alive, I will betray you. And he felt the tears coursing down his cheeks while he reached another climax dropping his seed in his mother’s warm and soft mouth.

She wouldn’t avoid it much longer.

And again they felt asleep.

End of Book One