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She Could But Should She?

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With the many lessons of a Bene Gesserit at hand for Jessica, there was neither surprise in the birth nor pain that impacted her. She had a place as the Reverend Mother for the Fremen, Paul… Usul… was an accepted member of their numbers, and now she had brought forth a daughter. She let the child be cleaned carefully, wasting as little water as possible on that task, while all of it, including the blood, was captured to be reprocessed for the tribe.

Once that task was done, Jessica saw to wrapping the girl herself in the absorbent cloth that the Fremen would recycle for the precious waters shed naturally by a baby. Already, she knew they would whisper and talk behind her back about how much water the girl-child wasted compared to their strong babies, but Alia was of Caladan. Alia had water in her soul and veins, the child of her beloved Duke, Leto.

None of this truly concerned Jessica so much as knowing what she had done to the child. When she had taken the Waters of Life into herself while still pregnant, it had been a calculated risk. Securing her position as one of power was the Bene Gesserit way, and Reverend Mother Ramallo had hastened that track with the timing of her passing.

Carefully, Jessica examined the girl, seeing that the eyes had not yet focused, and the movements were still uncoordinated. That much was reassuring, but how long did they have? Would Alia be strong enough in herself to hold back the Other Memory? Would Alia be a person, or a puppet of those who wished to speak and act through her? Had Jessica been so wise in not making her body abort the fetus when she realized all the ramifications of becoming a Reverend Mother?

Briefly, Jessica's deadly hands rested in just such a way as to snap the infant's neck. The threat of what an Abomination could be was strong enough that she wished to keep the universe from facing it in her child. Yet, would that be justice? Already she had begun to glimpse the true whirlwind that Paul was to become. He was revered among Fremen, the whispered Mahdi, and bringing them to a deadly pitch that would be unleashed against the Harkonnen House. There would be nothing to hold the Emperor back from siding with the Baron in this matter, for Leto had been the last strong voice in the Landsraad against his methods.

How could she doom one child, while suspecting the chaos the other was to commit upon all of humanity?

How could she kill the last part of her beloved Duke? He had been the cause of her fall from grace, by loving her. In return, she had given him the son he needed, against her Order's commands. With one such disobedience behind her, and what it was shaping into as Paul matured, what was one more deviation from the Bene Gesserit's ways?

She moved her hands and took the child into a more natural hold, cradling her to a bare breast. With that first feeding, she washed her hands of the chance to end a potential threat. Alia was hers, and Jessica would merely have to be strong enough for her, for Paul, and for herself in the coming years.

She could only hope that it was enough.