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OOC: I'll write from time to time... but not too often.

It took a while for Carth to move on from the things that happened in Ekaterinas lair. Still Maverik, Sven and the spy were in there somewhere.

A discussion with Alexandr would solve nothing. Chartag was out of his reach. A head-on attack was out of the question as Chartag was officially Alexandr's and another infiltration would be impossible as Ekaterina would have sorrounded her with guard 'dogs'.

The Kondor Cartel's council went about their own buissness.

Carth's shuttle was still unfinished. The parts lying all around Storage #4.

Message to Ixian Base

[hide]I would be extremely interested in a shuttle project using the parts I shall provide you. How much shall it cost me? [/hide]

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Seth says:

I are Seth.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

Hello, what do you propose of my house?

Seth says:

We request assistance in an armed conflict against the Ixian trespassers on Mount Idaho. House Huahin has made its dislike of the Ixians clear already, and... we may need the help.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

We will give you our full support, but are you not worried about Harkonnen reprisals?

Seth says:

House Harkonnen will not risk a war with the Fremen. Nor will their pacifist policy allow them to take out any frustration on the civilians of Dune. They make this too easy.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

What exactly do you require in the fight against the Ixians? We can offer explosives and light arms, and a few of our best troops.  Most of our troops are untrained in the way of the desert and we'd be most grateful if you could rectify this, and in return more of our troops could be made available in any future conflicts.

Seth says:

We have our equipment, and our ways. It is men we are short of. The other Fremen tribes are not affected by this intrusion, and so they do not send fighters. We need as many men as you can spare.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

We can supply you with transport 'thoptors and pilots for them.  Men? We can supply about 500 actual troops, all heavily armed.

Seth says:

Excellent. We would of course be willing to train them in the ways of the desert, following this conflict. Is there anything you want in return?

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

Other than the training, no.  Any fight against Harkonnens or their allies is a fight worthy enough for us to participate in.

Seth says:

You have no idea how good it is to hear you say that. I would ask, then, that you send these men under cover of darkness to this cave we are in now. My men will guide them inside. Once they arrive, we will wait for a day before attacking.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

As soon as I return the men shall be sent in 5 'thoptors. They will reach you before the sun rises on the second day after this meeting

Seth says:

Excellent. Perhaps in the future, I will get an oppertunity to meet your leader.

Ambassador of the Great House Huahin says:

Maybe you already have. . .

And with that the Huahinian Ambassdor made a quick exit and boarded his ornithoptor which was awating him.

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Makaro Silthe, as he had clamed to be, lay dead on the floor. His killer stood over him, and removed a white blade from his neck. She cleaned it carefully, before sheathing it. She watched as his blood pooled across the floor, in complete disregard for the waste of water.

"Hmph." Ekaterina stepped through the door into the disguised arena. "He wasn't as good as I expected him to be."

"He thought his words would protect him." Orianna Lyasma replied, her voice dripping with scorn. Some scorn dripped into a puddle on the floor, mingling with the blood. "He blustered, and his attention was elsewhere. He was not a challenge."

"Oh, that is good to know." Ekaterina rolled her eyes. "Fine. If any of his friends come calling, give them his eyes."

* * *

"Sir, we have evidence of large movements of people in the desert." An aide told Aleksandr as he boarded his ornithopter. The governor sighed in frustration.

"Fremen?" He asked, one foot still on the landing pad.

"We don't think so." The aide replied. "It was picked up by the Ixian machine. We think it may be the remains of the Atreides."

"Mmph. More likely the Huahin." Aleksandr thought for a moment. "Keep me informed. I've put this off for too long now."

"Right sir." The Aide nodded his bow, carefully. He backed away as the Governor boarded the 'thopter, on his way to the Trebeis settlement.

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Sitting in his unusually clean Study, the Duke sat pondering the newest happenings on Arrakis. A war involving Freman, Sadukar, Ixians, Huhanians, Harkonnen and possible Atreades remanant members. Strange indeed. The aspect the Duke found most amusing was the fact that every major faction on Arrakis besides his was involved in the conflict. Strange. "Well, Aleksandr shall arrive soon." He said. Turning to an aide, he ordered "Send an escourt of 30 of the Mark II Heavy Strafer/Fighter Ornithopters to meet with the Governor's Craft. The last thing I need is the Governor getting shot down by a over zealous Sadukar Private on the way to see me!" Turning away to look at the Bust of the Harkonnen, he said "Soon to buisness." 

Message to Seth:

[hide]I would be most intrested in absorbing some of your exess Spice, meet with the W.T.F Manager and he'll take care of arrangements.

Duke Trebeis, Leader of House Trebeis on Arrakis.[/hide]

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The troopcarrier shook and rattled, but he felt no fear.

Sardaukar trooper Anta realised that it had only been one year since he left Salusa Secundus.

He felt relieved, Arrakis was a hell hole but it was far better then the Imperial prison planet.

He was soaked with his own sweat,If only he could get rid of these damned Harkonnen uniforms.

The oncoming mission seemed like an easy assignment; clear out a sietch that was spotted by some scouts a couple of days earlier.

Reports indicated that the sietch was only populated by women, kids and old fremen.

He clutched his hands around the detonation packs intended to blow up the possible infrastructure for  stillsuit manufacture.

Around him he saw the fellow Sardaukar troops, 250 men trained to fight whoever opposed the emperor, ready for battle.

After the landing they immediatly bailed out of the cargo hold, forming defensive positions to prepare for their assault.

As the ship took off the troop stormed the sietch entrance, everyone was poised to kill some fremen and earn their bounties.

As they entered the Sietch they were surprised to find it abandoned.

Had someone tipped them off, Was there a fremen spy among the Sardaukar?

As they surveyed the cave they found some trampled leaves, to their amazement they were still moist, how was this possible,  green leaves on Arrakis ?

The Sardaukar gathered and prepared to sent out a messages to the Central Command Post, the Emperor would have to hear about this.....

To be continued by another forum member.  :)

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OOC: You Really like changing names, don't you?  :P

Maybe I can clear up a misunderstanding.

I am a new member, first posting and I wanted to be part of this post without having too much influence on your role playing.

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Maybe I can clear up a misunderstanding.

I am a new member, first posting and I wanted to be part of this post without having too much influence on your role playing.

OOC: Whoops, Mistook you for Omnius. Sorry.

You might want to talk to him about coordination as untill now he has controlled all Fremen.

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From his Den, Carth felt the politics of the planet fly right past him. His buissnisses were going well, he was well... enough. The memories of his men in the claws of Ekaterina were still haunting him. The prospect of war breaking out again was not a very pleasant one. The Cartel could be very well led by the Council, so, if the war starts, he can take revenge on Ekaterina.

Carth started importing expensive weaponry and vehicles from across the Empire. His own credits started to fall, but even so, he was a rich man. He was ready to arm and equip a force of 5000 men.

" A strike at Arsunt when hostilities start, and that THING will die. No one will be able to prove I'm behind the attack."

He ordered his men to be on alert and he prepared to act at the first true sign of full-scale war.

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Well, I was going to wait for someone else (Omnius, I'm looking at you) to post, but it seems that if you want anything done around here, you've got to do it yourself...

"It's certainly..." Aleksandr groped for a suitable artistic adjective, and came up blank. "Strikingly realistic." He finished weakly. Duke Trebeis smirked. It was true that his stoneworkers had outdone themselves this time. The pale bust of the Harkonnen governor was eerie in its imitation of life, even capturing the persistant expression of concern that he wore.

"Not quite the effect I was looking for, but I'm glad you're impressed." He said, "It's fitting that the man who rebuilt Arrakeen should leave a mark of his presence in the palace."

"Implying that he will not be around for very long?" Aleksandr questioned casually, leaning in to peer into the eyes of his stone reflection. The Duke stammered for a moment. "That wasn't a threat." Aleksandr murmured, tilting his head slightly. "You know, this is fine stone that's been used. Certainly not local. Alabaster, if I'm not mistaken. Quite stunning."

"So pleased you like it." The Duke said dryly, still a bit put out at the governor's comment. Aleksandr looked up, a wry smile on his face.

"I'm sorry, Duke, did I speak out of turn?" He smirked. "I wasn't brought up for politics, you'll have to excuse me." He turned back to the bust, examining it.

The work was certainly fine. The stone was a pale silvery colour, with veins of bright white running through it. The face was smooth, and lacking the sharp, stylised appearence that was characteristic of most Harkonnen sculptors. The eyes were carved as well, not just the blank, glassy orbs that busts so often depicted. They stared out from beneath a frowning brow, glaring and at the same time analysing, worrying. Aleksandr was becoming quite unnerved in its presence.

It was must shown in his expression as he looked up, because the Duke frowned slightly. "Is there something wrong?" He asked.

"I'm not used to seeing myself." Aleksandr answered, nervously glancing back at the bust of himself. "I've never been rendered in artwork before, and I don't like mirrors." He thought for a moment. "Which, now that I consider it, makes the accuracy of this piece somewhat difficult to explain, since I wasn't here for a sitting." He looked over to the Duke, who shrugged. Both were saved from an awkward moment as a Harkonnen messenger was admitted to the room, bearing a roll of spice paper that he handed to the governor with a careful bow. With an apologetic glance to Duke Trebeis, who nodded understandingly, Aleksandr unrolled the note.

"Hmm." Aleksandr rolled the note up again, frowning. Duke Trebeis said nothing, merely raising a questioning eyebrow. "It seems that the smugglers are stepping up their efforts quite considerably." The Governor sighed. "Apparantly Carth Bindar has started to take in mercenaries and weaponry from across the Imperium black markets."

"How do you know it's illegal?" The Duke asked.

"He's a smuggler. It's what he does." Aleksandr frowned. "But why? I haven't been putting any pressure on the smugglers."

"Word on the street is that Carth Bindar recently escaped from your sister." Duke Trebeis said seriously. "It's highly likely that she will have left an... impression, on him."

"Yes... impression." Aleksandr went blank for a moment, before shaking his head. "I don't like the idea of illegal forces building up this much..." He thought for a moment, looking up to analyse the Duke. "Perhaps it is time that I allowed you a larger military presence on the planet."

"That would be against the will of the Landsraad..." The Trebeis pointed out cautiously.

"I have the smugglers to consider." Aleksandr seemed not to be listening, "And the Landsraad won't interfere unless things get truly dire. After all, they didn't lift a finger to stop Ekaka, Ekratin... Ekallab..."

"Your sister?" Duke Trebeis suggested helpfully. Aleksandr nodded gratefully.

"Yes, her." He said nervously, adjusting his collar. "And with the fremen due for an increase in size any time now..."

"Hmm?" Duke Trebeis raised his eyebrows.

"Nevermind." Aleksandr waved a hand. "It seems that a conflict is brewing, and I may be need of allies." He stared at the Duke. The silence stretched.

"Er... was that a question?" The Duke asked.

"I am wondering, and I hope you are not insulted, if I can trust you." Aleksandr said bluntly. "Allowing you to build up a military force would inevitably threaten my own hold on power, and the last thing I need right now is another errant faction on Arrakis."

"'The proof is in the pudding.'" The Duke quoted, smiling at the archaic reference.

"Indeed, that's what I am afraid of." Aleksandr sighed. He lapsed into silence again. Casually, he flipped over the note. Apparantly finding somehing written on the other side, he peered at it closely. Another roll of spice paper slipped out of the fold, and he bent down to pick it up, reading this second roll as well.

"More news?" Enquired the Duke.

"I am sorry for this intrusion." Aleksandr said out of the side of his mouth, not looking up from the notes. "Business just never leaves me alone..." He said wistfully, continuing the read. Finally, he lowered the notes. "Apparantly some errant Sardaukar have been hunting freman in the desert. They are under the control of the Emperor and so there is little I can do about their presence, but I do wish they wouldn't antagonise the desert dwellers. In other news, it seems that the Baron has placed Glossu Rabban in control of Huahin VI."

"Huahin VI... isn't that-"

"The homeworld of Archduke Huahin, yes." Aleksandr sighed. "I don't know why he's here, but the news of his population suffering under that monst-... man, is bound to go down badly."

"I'm sure." The Duke agreed.

"On the other hand, Huahin VI..." Aleksandr thought for a moment. "Yes, that might work." He smiled. "I think I might be able to sort this mess out after all." He glanced about. "If you could just let me have some spice paper to draft some messages, perhaps we can get back to business then...

To Carth Bindar, of the smugglers:

Your actions and buildup have been observed by the Ixian satellite that is currently orbiting Arrakis, and noted by my seniors in the Landsraad and upper echelons of House Harkonnen. I would request that you cease your efforts and disperse your forces. Large groups of armed individuals are a danger not just to Arrakis, but also to the Imperium.

Regards, Aleksandr Harkonnen.

To the Sardaukar that have hunted the fremen:

Leave the desert dwellers alone, and perhaps they will leave you alone. Your presence on Arrakis is against the laws of Landsraad, I suggest that you keep a low profile.

Governor Harkonnen, of Arrakis.

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Still watching Alexsandr, the Duke inquired "How much of a buildup are we speaking of? I have the means to obtain Materiel, train new Recruits and the like but all would be much easier if you agreed to my Proposal" Glancing from the pad of Spicepaper to the gesturing Duke than, to the massive Plans spread out, Aleksandr replied "actual numbers can be computed later, in any event it wont happen unless you are willing to agree with an Allience." Pacing, The Duke said "I would indeed be willing to ally with you not Giedi Prime. Fact is, I would like to kill your relatives but that won't happen. You on the other hand, I can respect. So yes, I would ally with you. Oh, and I do hope my escourt did not frighten you or your pilots. The crews of my Mark II Heavy Strafer/Fighter Ornithopters said there was some intresting radio chatter from your men when they arrived. Now, About my proposal!"

OOC: Take it away Dante!

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"I am honour-bound to respect the wishes of the Baron, and the rest of my family." Aleksandr pointed out. "I know that m- my sister is not the, ah, easiest of people to get along with-"

"You can say that again." The Duke muttered.

"-but I can't allow any harm to come to her. You know that." It was half question, half statement.

"I can't say I'm happy with her being on the planet," Duke Trebeis replied slowly, "but I can respect your wishes."

"Good." The governor's voice was slightly harsher than he had intended. He thought for a moment. "Then you have leave to recruit and maintain a force not exceeding five thousand men, to be garrisoned in Tsimpo. They shall act as the guards of the city, and your standing military." The governor fixed the Duke with a penetrating stare. "Do you understand what I am giving you? Guardianship and thus control of the city of Tsimpo. I will pull my own men out of the city, leaving it in your hands."

"With respect, governor, we are already settled in Arrakeen." The Duke said.

"You have been living in your 'temporary' camp for too long, Duke Trebeis." Aleksandr said firmly, gazing at a map of the North of Dune. "Arrakeen is rebuilt, but I do not think that she can support both yourselves, the Ixians, and myself for much longer. With... my sister gathering power in Arsunt, Carthag loyal to the Baron, and my own palace here in Arrakeen, I think it would be sensible to maintain a presence in another city, no?"

"Before she gets there." The Duke mused. "Still, we need facilities, buildings..."

"You can take over the barracks for your men and facilities." Aleksandr dismissed the issue. "For yourself, there are any number of ornate mansions in Tsimpo that are no longer occupied. I can purchase one for you."

"I couldn't possibly-" The Duke began.

"What's a little money between allies?" Aleksandr smirked in his direction.

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Piron didn't really like gate-crashing, but at this time it was necessary in this situation. Walking up to the base, he said the guards posted there "We nead to speak to your Duke. It is urgent and we hear that he is hosting Alexsandr Harkonnen in a meeting. We are willing to wait, since we offer a trade deal and perhaps an alliance..."

The Huahin ornithopters glided silently to the base of Mount Idaho, spiralling gently. Radio silence hid their presence from the nearby Ixian base, still being constructed, even at this time of night. As they neared the ground, a barely perceptible flash of light blinked twice. Following the signal, the 'thopters flew gently towards the mountain. Further quiet lights guided them down a wide, but easily concealed rock passage into a large cave. The pilots landed their craft gently, nervous already as dark figures began to emerge from shadowy passages in the rock.

OOC: If there is any problems with this, tell me.

The Fremen surrounded the ornithopters as the Huahins began to disembark. A few solitary glowglobes were brought to light, and they floated eerily about the cave. A single man stepped forward, his hands by his side.

"House Huahin, be welcome in our sietch." He intoned, nodding ever so slightly. "Will you spend the remainder of the night in your craft, or join us in the sietch?"

"We would welcome your hospitality, noble fremen." The lead Huahin bowed, as his men followed him out of his ornithopter.

"This pleases us." The fremen smiled. "Follow us, then. Do not concern yourselves with guards, or your transport. Nobody watches like a fremen." He turned with a dry smile, and indicated to the Huahin that they should follow. Five hundred men began to filter from the cavern into the rock tunnels of the fremen.

"You may rest yourselves here. Prepare for the battle." The fremen indicated a single, sparsely furnished cavern, with multiple passages that seemed to branch out to other, similar rooms. "There is more than enough space for your men." At the signal of their leader, the Huahin began to spread out among the caverns. A few of them were talking, others maintained military discipline. As the leader watched his men bed down for the few hours before dawn, Seth of the fremen stepped up to stand by his side.

"I would request that you join my best soliders and myself to plan the assault." The fremen stated bluntly, watching the soliders. The Huahin leader nodded sharply.

"I wouldn't sleep before a battle, anyway." He husked, "The men need to prepare in their own way; meditation, sleep, whatever. We have more important things to do though." He turned and nodded to Seth, who stepped aside to allow the Huahin to pass, following a guide down the narrow tunnels as Seth brought up the rear.

"Will you be requiring air support?" The Huahin asked, ducking under a particularly low outcropping of rock. "The ornithopters are fully equipped for military action."

"That is most pleasing to me." Seth said behind him, "But we will not be needing them."

A brief expression of confusion crossed the Huahin's face. "No air support? But, with the Ixians above us, they will see us coming."

"You underestimate the fremen." Seth answered. "If we do not want to be seen, we shall not be seen."

"Well that's very comforting," the Huahin rolled his eyes, "But what about my men? If they are spotted by the Ixians, it'll be a massacre!"

"You don't need to worry about that." The fremen's voice carried an air of finality about it. The Huahin General frowned. He stopped, and began to turn to face this enigmatic desert dweller.

"Look, I-" He began, and looked down to see a crysknife embedded in his chest. He gaped, and looked up. Seth stood in front of him, expressionless.

"You... but-" The Huahin gasped, blood already foaming from his mouth. "Treachery..." He collapsed, and was at once caught by the fremen with Seth, carried off for his water.

"Give the order." Seth said stonily.

The Huahin soliders relaxed in their chambers. Some sat, deep in concentration. Others snored, catching a brief few hours of sleep before they endangered their lives for their fremen allies. Only a few were aware of the fremen women who entered their chambers, carrying trays of spice coffee and wafers. Unaware of fremen customs, none of the men noted that the women drank none of the coffee themselves, but offered it freely to the Huahin. Those that were awake drank freely, grateful for the gift. The women moved away silently.

Standing by the doorways, they pulled on cords suspended by rolls of cloth. Each unravelled at once, filling the doorway with a knotted net. And then the first man began to choke.

The unchanged Water of Life, a deadly poison. Every Huahin that had even sipped the coffee fell writhing to the floor, their agony released in screams and bellows. Their companions knelt by their sides, attempting to discern the problem. They were quickly taken down by the fremen women with their crysknives. Those that tried to run blundered into the nets, where their throats were easily slit as they struggled against the bonds. A few of the Huahin, those with more presence of mind, seized their weapons to fight back. But they were tragically few, and as the nets were taken down and more fremen began to swarm into the caverns, they stood little chance.

Darda Margath met with the W.T.F manager and managed to get a reasonable price for the spice. 1000 solaris and two ornithopters for 1200 kgs of spice. The total was now down to 20,000kgs.

Message to Carth's Smugglers

[hide]We would like to trade some spice for melange.[/hide]

Message to House Trebeis

[hide]Pleasure doing business with you. In regards to a alliance/truce, a party is at Guard post 23 waiting to be admitted.[/hide]

Message to the Ixians

[hide]There is no fight between us. Please accept this paymemt for damages. The Fremen.[/hide]

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"Well" started the Duke "If I am to abandon my Arakeen base, and can only bring five thousand men to Tsimpo. Then what of my other men?" "Huh" started Aleksandr, "I'm sure something suitabe can be do-" I'm not disbanding them" Interrupted the Duke "They have all stated that they wish to stay here with me" Then, pulling out a sheet of paper containg figures. He read of the title and then the rest. "Troop figures. 37250 Infantry, 835 Nokker Guardsman, 570 Ornithopters, 242 Trikes, 172 Quads, 1041 Frigates and a Myrad of various artillery pieces and dfferant sorts of Defensive Equipment."

Aleksandr simply raised an eyebrow, he knew the figures already. Gesturing, the Duke continued "To move all the excess equipment and men to the W.T.F would be impossible without expanding the W.T.F Defense Base, and such an act would require the removal of the Freman Towns in the area." Almost as if on cue, Qapmoc entered leading 20 Harkonnen Guards and 30 Nokker Guardsman who were surrounding a group of Freman. After forming ranks along the walls, a Nokker guardsman introduced the Desert dwellers. "Piron, Representative for Seth Dinsdar" Stepping forward and spitting on the table-top, the man said "Duke, I have a proposal for you".

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Above the surface, a group of Fremen were training for the battles ahead. The Huahinian Ornithoptors were gleaming in the sun, and so was the Fremen Commander as he thought of how easily they'd acquired them.  At that very moment a las-gun bolt travelled through his skull, leaving a smell of burning flesh where his head was.  He dropped to the floor. Lifeless.  The other Fremen around him panicked and tried to run, but to no avail, as they were slaughtered mercilessly by endless flashes of red. 

Back at House Huahin's compound, the radio operator instructed the Ornithoptors to return to base.  All Huahinian Officers are implanted with a life-signs monitor which transmits its readings back  to base, and the Huahinian General who'd been sent to help the Fremen was no exception.  When this failed, the Radio Operators were alerted, and found that all the Officers had also died.

Except one.  One last Officer  had transmitted by morse code S.O.S. by radio back to base, and although severely injured, had managed to fight his way back to the surface and scrambled in to an awaiting Ornithoptor.  The 'thoptor and the others around it, all being remotely controlled, took him back to base to report the Fremen betrayal.

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Above the surface, a group of Fremen were training for the battles ahead. The Huahinian Ornithoptors were gleaming in the sun, and so was the Fremen Commander as he thought of how easily they'd acquired them.

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OOC: I asked Dante whether it was a one post battle, and in his words he said:

There's no real way to object against the poisoning, or the nets or the like. It wasn't a battle because the Huahin were given no chance to fight back.
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