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OOC: Ooooh, drama!

Walking through the echoing halls of the massive facility, The Duke was weighing the various options for the future of his House. At the moment the Trebesians held the largest standing force outside of the Fremen and oddly quiet Sardukar. With these regulations, this would change and quickly. Although the bulk of his forces were to be off duty, all he had to do was ensure he engaged a sleek enough mobilisation programme for the men.

Qapmoc? Inquired the Duke hearing a clang behing one of the Mark II Heavy straffer Ornithopters. Sure enough, the Duke's man stepped out. Looking suspiciously at the Nokker, the Duke asked "Were you not watching the Fremen?" Cracking a twisted grin, the man replied "I was, but perhaps it is you that should of stayed in the company of the Desert Rats!" With that the man drew a small Projectile weapon and before the Duke could reach his own weapon, opened fire, point blank at the Noble Man's chest. Falling to the ground, The Duke numbly observed another Qapmoc in the company of Four Freman and ten Nokker Guardsman charge into the Hanger. As blood pooled around his body he watched the Nokker kneel and fire from shoulder-mounted rifles. With a chattering noise the weapons released a thousand rounds of mettalic death into the assasin- who upon death slowly morphed into a Tlelaxu assasin. But the Trebesian viewed this all through dull, nearly unseeing eyes. With his last breath, he exhaled one word. "Harkonnen".

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"The Duke Trebeis has been assassinated!" Alonya Rabban burst into Ekaterina's throne room. She ran from the door to the throne, kneeling in front of her mistress. "The Duke is dead." She panted.

"Dead?" Ekaterina asked. "Dead? How... this is a disaster!" She stood up. "Without the Trebeis- Does he leave any heirs?"

"None that we know of, Mistress." Rachael said from her position at the side of the throne.

"This is... this is terrible! How are we supposed to wipe out his army now?" Ekaterina gasped. She turned to Alonya, her expression quickly twisting into one of fury. "How did he die? Who did this?"

"Initial rumours and reports suggest that the Duke was killed by an inside agent." Alonya reported.

"Tleilaxu." Ekaterina hissed. "Where is Vail?!"

"Right here, mistress." Vail stepped out from behind a pillar, wearing the guise of the Duke Trebeis. "I assure you that I had nothing to do with this mission."

"Rachael: give me any potential reasons that the Tleilaxu would have for wishing the Trebeis dead." Ekaterina glared at the sort-of-mentat.

"None, given current data." Rachael stated. "Most likely scenario: another Harkonnen branch, namely the Baron Vladimir or Feyd Rautha, has engaged the services of the Tleilaxu in order to wipe out a threat to the efficient running of the Arrakis spice harvesting."

"But we'll get the blame!" Ekaterina shouted.

"No, we won't." Rachael said calmly. "Reports have indicated that the assassin has been killed. Vail, the only face dancer in your employ, is still very much alive."

"And more than happy to testify to that account." Vail twsited the Duke's face into a grotesque grin.

"Hmm." Ekaterina frowned. "No, it's always been more convenient to keep your presence here a secret, Vail. But we have to be quick to make it clear that I have had nothing to do with this..."

Public statement from Arsunt:

The Lady Ekaterina Harkonnen both condemns and regrets the recent death of Duke Trebeis, and stresses that she had nothing to do with it whatsoever. Reports have indicated that the assassination was carried out by a Tleilaxu agent, probably hired by the bitter House Atreides. No Tleilaxu agents are employed in the Lady Ekaterina's household.

* * *

"As if." Aleksandr Harkonnen rolled his eyes at the Arsunt statement. "She's got a Tleilaxu alright. He's name's Vail. Or was Vail."

"You believe that your sister is responsible for this?" Aleron asked.

"Yes, I do." Aleksandr muttered. "Though it's not her style, to just kill people like that." He frowned.

"Your sister is not the only source of evil in the Imperium." Aleron commented.

"Meaning what, exactly?" The governor asked.

"Meaning that if it isn't her style, perhaps she didn't do it after all." Aleron shrugged. "After all, you've already said that the Baron isn't pleased by the Trebeis presence here."

"Yes, and now I've got a whole army of pissed off Trebeis nearby, all of whom will want to take a piece of my sister." Aleksandr sighed. "What am I going to do?"

"Fly out there and find out who's in charge now." Aleron suggested. "Talk to them, quickly. We might be able to salvage this situation."

"Yes..." Aleksandr sighed. "I suppose i must." Make the arrangements, will you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Oh, and contact the Ixians."

"To say what?"

"Oh I don't know. Ask if he's feeling better."

Buildup of Arsunt: 9%. 7% per post.

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"Welcome to the Council of Naibs. We are hear to discuss the changing political enviroment on Dune. Personally, I think we need to band together into a Fremen Army. Since if I stayed, I would probably force that to happen I will leave. Inform me of your decision at a later date," Seth said as he walked out of the chamber.


"What is going to happen of our deal?," Piron said. "With the Duke dead, no decisions can made untill a council has decided on the matter," Qapmoc said.


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Ok, whatever...

The location of the Naib's debate. A supposedly secret place, reasonably deep into the desert. The Naibs sat together, wondering at their host's absence as they talked long into the night. Both moons were high when one of the gathering looked up suspiciously.

"I hear the beating of wings." He stated. "What are ornithopters doing here?"

"Seth does not do things the way we do." Another Naib sneered. "He contacts the Harkonnen, and the Trebeis. I would not be surprised if he has invited offworlders to join this meeting."

"He is not so foolish." Another member of the council replied. "More likely these are mere messengers."

"The vehicles grow closer." The first Naib scowled. "They must be directly overhead, why do they not land?"

* * *

A watcher, observing the meeting in the desert, would have found no challenge in spotting the approaching ornithopters. They made no effort to mask their presence, flying far above the dunes to be seen clearly in the light of the two moons. They circled the meeting place twice, probably exchanging radio messages. After that they retreated some way from the camp, gathering together further to the south. Upon their return, a particularly eagle-eyed watched would have noted that these were not transport ornithopters, they were military-grade vehicles, and their cargo doors were open.

As the lead ornithopter passed over the meeting, a small shape dropped towards the ground. As it hurtled through the dry air, it seemed to disintegrate into many smaller pieces. Finally, just before it hit the ground, it burst into flame.

Three other projectiles landed seconds afterwards, blanketing the area in a flaming material that burned everything it touched. The other ornithopters swooped over, each dropping their own load of incendiary devices. Some exploded, others merely burned. As the fremen rushed about on the ground, calls could be heard.

Why hadn't the guards warned them?

Who were these attackers?

How had they found this place?

The ornithopters wheeled overhead, forming a circle about the camp. They hovered in position, and started to fire lasgun blasts down into the inferno. They sliced this way and that indescriminantly, destroying animate and inanimate matter alike. The light of the blazing fires clearly lit up the attacking ornithopters, with the Huahin crest emblazoned on their sides. A white rectangle with one vertical red stripe, and one horizontal blue stripe.

The attackers remained in place for a long time, cutting down anything that moved. They observed as the ever-burning liquids and jellies that they had dropped seeped into cracks in the rock, burning anyone who had escaped the explosions earlier.

"Janus this is Eagle, this is Eagle calling Janus, do you read?"

"My name is Seth. I do not require a codename."

"Whatever. Are there any survivors your end?"

"No. All of the Naibs are dead. You may leave now."


The ornithopters turned a wide arc, sweeping over the camp and turning north.

* * *

Some distance away, though not far enough to escape the red glow of the fires on the horizon, the ornithopters set down on a tiny outcrop of rock, not even big enough for a base. The crews dashed out, carrying sealed buckets. Cautiously, they pried the lids off, and lifted the contents. One by one, they splashed the steaming liquid liberally across the sides of their vehicles. Immediately, the Huahin markings began to fade, dribbling down into featureless puddles of chemical goop on the rock. Having completed their work, the crews boarded, taking off and heading north once more.

* * *

"The deed is done." Rachael reported with a smile. "The fremen will disperse the corpses appropriately, and all blame will fall on the Huahin and smugglers."

"Exactly as planned." Ekaterina grinned evilly. "And Seth?"

"Survived. As planned. All the other Naibs that attended are dead."


Buildup of Arsunt: 16%. 7% per post.

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The Duke was alive. Just barely though and only three people know he is thought the Nokker as he walked down the tunnel leading to the Duke's Hospital Quarters. Everyone was still suspicious of Qapmoq simply due to the recordings of the Face-Dancer in his guise firing upon the Duke. This coupled with reports of vengeful Troopers  clamoring for revenge on the most hostile force on the planet- namely Extennera, things were getting out of hand.

Reaching the austere room, the Man let out a gasp. He was still shocked by the condition of the Dukes once proud, energetic face. It was now pale and drawn. Looking around the room, Qapmoq set his hand on the Dukes arm. The mans unconcious form flinched. Looking away, the Nokker lifted his hand and said "We may not know who did this but I swear, if you die- I will make sure that the guilty party is found and punished, severly." As if on cue, another Nokker strode into the room fully equipped with a Las-Rifle, Project Eagle and Silence equipment, a projectile pistol and other very menacing things. Looking at Qapmoq he announced "Sir, we are at full mobilization.All aircraft are armed, the ground equipment- Artillery, Quads, trikes and the like are also fuelled and armed. All men Nokker and regular Army have been recalled, armed and equipped with the Ixian equipment as well." looking at the Trebesian he continued "We are awaiting further orders."

"We wait on the Duke's condition, If he worsens we march. If it improves, we shall stay our hand." Replied Qapmoq "In the meantime, I believe we have a new arrival."

"I hate this job!" Exclaimed the window-cleaner hanging off the Arrakeen Residential building 2-A. "Nothing exciting Ever happ-" Before he could finish his sentince, a Squadron of R.D.O.D (Rapid Decent Orbital Deployment) Ornithopters boomed by, all too fast too read the markings of. Then with a crack from deceleration, a handful of worn Frigates flew past, they bore the Flaming sheild sporting a "T" upon Checkered background emblem of the Trebesian millitary. All approached and decended into the Trebesian Compound. "Good Riddan-" Shouted the windowcleaner, before being cut off by the passing of twenty Harkonnen Ornithopters.

Leaping from the rear of a Frigate, the Duke's son yelled "We have persuers!" Running to a AA emplacement, He exclaimed "Those are not friendly Harkonnen! They followed us onto our High-Liner under the orders of Giedi Prime, they intend to kill me!" Flipping switches to activate the weapon's sighting system, the gunner lined up a shot just in time to watch one of the Ornithopters slice apart one of the frigates, killing all one hundred occupants. Then, as if things were not confusing enough, Harkonnen Ornithopters from Arrakeen responding to the un-identified Aircraft arrived and began firing on the Harkonnen craft from Athalon. They bore the same markings.

Qapmoq looked at the ceiling as explosions began above. Then, with a gasp, the Duke sat up.

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The twenty ornithopters faced off against the defenders from Arrakeen, sizing up the threat to their attack on the Trebeis heir.

"This is Arrakeen." Their leader's radio crackled, "This is Arrakeen to unidentified force. Make yourselves known, or we open fire."

"So open fire." The pilot smirked. The defenders did not reply. They hovered in place. At this point, a Trebeis gun placement took out one of the attackers, destroying it with two well-aimed missiles.

"You stay out of this!" One of the Arrakeen defenders snapped, but it was already too late. The attackers wheeled around for a pass over the Trebeis compound, lasguns blazing. Two of them were taken out during the attack, but the remaining seventeen reformed further out above the city to face the squadron of defenders. The dogfight commenced.

A further three attackers were taken out immediately by the defender's lasguns. But the Arrakeen forces were not unscathed; five of their own were destroyed in the ensuing battle, one of which by mistaken fire from the Trebeis compound. The ornithopters spiralled and weaved about each other, their weapons damaging each other and the city below. Citizens ran, screaming for cover.

"Enough!" The command blasted through every radio in the air. It was accompanied by the sight of eighteen heavy-duty ornithopters flying in formation from the Harkonnen palace, led by the personal gunship of the Harkonnen Governor. "This is the Governor Aleksandr Harkonnen. There will be no violence above my city. The attacking party is to remove themselves from Arrakeen immediately. Go to Arsunt, you'll get a welcome there."

The ornithopters paused in the air, and the Trebeis guns fell silent. At a hidden command from within the attacker's formation, the survivors turned as one and made their way south, out of the city.

"Do not pursue." The radio commanded.

* * *

"That was almost frightening." Aleksandr smiled as he spoke into the headpiece in his groundcar, travelling quickly through the city toward the Trebeis compound. "You would do well as nobility."

"I've always had a talent for making stuff up." Aleron's voice replied from the gunship above. "And doing impressions doesn't take much effort."

"Why did you send them to Arsunt, though?" The governor asked.

"I figured it was the only place they could go and not be any trouble." Aleron replied. "And you did say that you'd rather preserve Arrakeen than anything else. After all, rebuilding this place was epensive..."

"There are people to consider." Aleksandr replied sternly. "I've already summoned medical vehicles to ten to any wounded. I don't think there are many, but-"

"It makes a good show." Aleron replied. "I'll see you in the Trebeis place."


Buildup of Arsunt: 23%, 7% per post.

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OOC: Hehehehe, I knew it would not take long for a response to that!  ;D

Smoke spiraling out of several buildings and the frigate, The Trebesian compound did not look as impressive as it had before. Thankfully only two of the downed ornithopters had crashed into the Base, but those that had had, did much damage due to the amount of armaments they were carrying. An entire Subfer (Army unit used by the Trebesians, contains 100 men) was slaughtered when a cluster bomb intended for the Duke's son landed in their midsts. Another 27 miscilanious personell were lost to lasgun and projectile fire and another 100 men were killed in the initial attack on one of the slow moving Frigates. "All this, because we allowed ourselves to become overconfidant" the AA gunner said to the young Trebesian. With a grim face the Nobleman turned back to the man and replied "At least the Governor appeared when he did!" "we were about to launch 100 ornithopters of our own and had that hapened, allied defenders would of been killed as well!"

The ground shook as another fuel tank exploded, the fires on the eastern side of the Compound had still not been put out and they were spreading to a un-occupied residential building. Trebesian men were combating the flames but since there a delay in the movement of fire suppression chemicals, they were losing ground fast! Arrakeen was beginning to burn!

Elsewhere, Qapmoq rushed to find the young Trebisian. The Duke having regained conciousness for several minutes, had asked for his son. This added to the now nearly uncontrollable men was leading to problems. A entire sub-legion of army troops from the WTF, going on rumors that the Duke and now his son were dead, both slain by Harkonnen were preparing to break orders and march on Arsunt. They carried the controls for two De-Meks. Fortunately, disipline there would re-assert itself once a messinger arrived with news of the Trebesian's survival. Then there was the Freman, one of which had been slain by a piece of shrapnel. Having heard that an official Trebesian leader was indeed alive, were clamoring for audience.

Marching down a flight of stairs, in the company of the Dukes young son and 20 Nokker Guardsman, was a Freman and a Harkonnen. The Freman was generally accepted, the Harkonnen was glared at. It was known that members of his family were the cause of the messes of late.

Reaching the Duke's room, the entire party entered. The Duke, who was once again awake, Coughed and exclaimed "Hello Aleksandr, it seems things have changed recently!" Nodding, the Harkonnen said "Those Ornithopters were not mine, the were the Baron's" Looking up, the Duke replied "indeed, it's on that subject that I asked you brought down here. You see, we Trebesians used to have much more man-power than now. Infact, we had a millitary larger than the Harkonnen and Atreades combined. This allowed us to do certain things, one of which was to plant agents in every major capital throughout the Landstraad."after finishing this he bega coughing again and waved for his son to continue. Looking up, the young man did so. "One of these "Cells" on Giedi Prime has informed us that the Baron is not too happy about your recent actions, especially your allience with us. Our agent included with his transmission an intercepted order form the Baron to his House Guard leader commanding 5 Legions of men to prepare to depart to Arrakis to "Reassert control" and "Assist a possible redirection of power". Now, we are not insinuating anything, just sharing knowledge with allies, but it sounds like your looking to be replaced!" Loking back to his now sleeping father, the Young man added "Oh yeah, I'm Atilian, Atilian Trebeis and I've been on Athalon, killing you familiy's men for the past year with the resistance. Nice to meet you." and extended his hand, looking expectantly at the Governor. The Freman smiled.

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Well, I generally reply promptly...

"You didn't have to phrase it quite like that." Aleksandr replied calmly, shaking the younger Trebesian's hand. "And perhaps I should point out that I was born into House Moritani, not House Harkonnen."

"Oh?" Qapmoq raised a suspicious eyebrow.

"My sister married into the Harkonnen family. I was adopted into the house as... insurance." The governor smiled wryly. "That's why we're here. We're both expendable."

"You know the Baron's plan?" Atilian asked quickly. Aleksandr studied him closely.

"That was awfully quick thinking..." He mused. "Hm. No, I don't know the Baron's plan, but given certain facts, some things are obvious. Firstly, Ekaaha... My sister and I are not blood Harkonnen. Secondly, neither of us have very high standing in society. So why hand Arrakis to... my sister, and then allow the transfer to me? Quite simple. He doesn't care."

"He doesn't care?" Atilian asked disbelievingly.

"The Baron doesn't care who rules Arrakis in name, so long as he gets his money." Aleksandr shrugged. "And his favourite heir, namely Feyd Rautha, is still too young to take governorship of a planet."

"Rabban isn't." Qapmoq said darkly.

"Rabban is an idiot. Besides, he's busy with Huahin VI." Aleksandr answered. "Regarding the Baron's plans to replace me... Well we'll see. He knows that direct military intervention is forbidden. It was risky enough to send those ornithopters. And if he does, well..." He shrugged. "I never wanted power anyway."

* * *

"You are all idiots." Ekaterina glared down at the eighteen men who knelt before her. She stood in front of a long line of black-clad soldiers, all of whom kept their heads down. "Do you know what you could have done? You could have destroyed the Trebeis and my wretched brother at once! But no!" She threw up her hands, "No! You just had to come buzzing back here with your tails between your legs, didn't you?!" She lashed out at one of the men, knocking him back. He scrambled to his feet, furious.

"Listen, you." He growled, looming over Ekaterina. "You may be some jumped-up noble cow, but I was on direct orders from the top, and they said no scandel!" He stopped, suddenly aware of something pressing into the small of his back.

"Kneel." Ekaterina hissed. Reluctantly, the man obeyed. Dune Trilu stepped back, keeping his sword unsheathed.

"You are all fools. And you are failed fools." Ekaterina spat at the men. "Not only have the Trbeis found an heir, but I was almost the subject of an attack! Me!" She kicked another one of the pilots. "And then you come running here for shelter, because that idiot Aleksandr told you to?" She laughed. "What do you want here, shelter?"

"You are under the Baron's command." The lead pilot stated flatly. Ekaterina stopped. She turned slowly, to face him.

"The Baron's command?" She echoed. "The Baron's command?" Slowly, she began to walk up the line toward the leader, her steps slow ominous. "The Baron's command. Why yes, I am under the Baron's command. Absolutely." She stopped in front of him, and looked down. "But I have my own safety to consider, and against that, the Baron has no chance." She stood back. "You have brought failure to the Baron, you have brought danger to my house, you have not completed your mission." She waved a hand to Rachael.

* * *

A few hours pass

* * *

The city of Arsuntwas abuzz. Rumours were already flying through the streets.

"Did you hear? She's putting on a show!"

"A show? You mean..."

"Yes, just like in Carthag!"

"...It isn't, I mean... it's not someone local, is it?"

"No, offworlders!"

"Offworlders? She is putting on a show with offworlders? When? Where?"

"In front of her mansion, they're building the platform already!"

"You mean it's tonight?"

"As soon as possible, I heard!"

"My brother Victor told me there's a show right now!"

"Yes, I heard. My friend's sister works in the mansion, and she says it's a big one."

"A big one? How big?"

"At least ten people!"

"Ten?! We haven't seen anything like that since-"

"Ever! Everything this big has always gone to Carthag before! Are you going?"

"You bet I am."

"Rumour has it that she'll be here herself."

"Is this a show as in a show? Or a show as in, you know..."

"They're building the platform. We're safe! You going?"


And so on.

It was late in the day when the doors of the mansion finally opened, and the officials marched through. A large crowd had already gathered, filling the square. They parted instantly as the Harkonnen strode past, and with good reason. At the head of the entourage walked Alacia Vorbid, Head of Security in Arsunt. She carried a scroll in her left hand, while her right rested on her characteristic inkvine whip. Behind her came Dune and Douglas Trilu, the twin weapon masters. And behind them came the prisoners.

There were eighteen in total. Gasps were heard in the crowd, as the news spread. People craned to see. Eighteen people! She had planned something special for them. They were all men, stripped to the waist and heavily shackled. Some of them bore injuries, as might be sustained when one tries to resist being stripped to the waist and heavily shackled. Some of them glanced defiantly at the crowd. Their eyes said it all.

'We are trained, military men. We are hardened.' They glared. 'We can take anything you bumpkins can throw at us, and we'll laugh.'

'No.' The eyes of the crowd replied, 'You won't.'

The men were led through the crowd to the hastily placed platform, which was little more than a large rock. It stood about six feet high, to give a good view, and several square metres across. Alacia stepped up the stairs carved into one side, and stood on the platform. Behind her, the twins took up position on either side of the stairs, ushering the prisoners through.

At the back of the parade, the crowd backed away even further. Alonya Rabban followed the last of the men, her two Salusan Tigers on either side. She smiled smugly, watching the nearest members of the crowd desperately try to press themselves further back. She didn't often take out her pets, and this was a good show.

"People of Arsunt!" Alacia commanded attention from her position at the head of the platform. The crowd, already quiet, fell absolutely silent. Alacia unrolled the scroll that she carried, and held it out in front of her.

"This is an official proclamation!" She announced. "The accused before you have been reported as having attacked House Minor Trebeis, and damaged the city of Arrakeen! They have been revealed to be renegades from Geidi Prime, having broken with the orders of the good Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, long live the Baron!"

"Long live the Baron." The crowd echoed quietly. They knew what was expected of them.

"As such, the Lady Ekaterina Harkonnen has determined that these men be punished in a public spectacle, to teach them respect for their House and for their Baron!" Alacia grinned.

"You can't do this!" A voice cried out from behind her. "We were on orders fro-" The voice was abruptly cut off with a thumping noise, and a scream. Alacia did not turned around. The sound of something eating reached her ears, and she smiled serenely.

"Bring forward the first felon." She stated.

The first pilot was dragged up from his position, and pulled over to the centre of the platform. Two slaves made their way up after him, carrying a large, wooden stake. This they slotted into a hole in the middle of the rock. The prisoner's hands were tightly bound above his head, so that he faced the stake. Alacia approached, taking her whip from her belt. The crowd held its breath. The first blow fell.

* * *

"Are you quite sure about this?" Vail asked, looking down from a high window at the spectacle below. After only ten blows, he could make out the colour of the man's bones. He seemed to have fainted, but that didn't stop Alacia.

"As certain as I can be." Ekaterina responded. "In this way I am publically punishing those who attacked that bumbling fool Trebeis. I am seen to be working against the Baron, and helping the Duke in the process. Everybody will know just how harsh I will be with people like that."

"And the Baron?" Vail raised a questioning eyebrow. Below them, Alacia had grasped the man by his spine, and heaved him around to face her, breaking his wrists in the process. She whipped his chest once, twice, three times, and then with a decicive forth blow, she tore out his throat.

"That woman..." Ekaterina murmured in admiration, as the body of the pilot was removed from the stake, and the next victim take up. "Hmm, what?"

"What about the Baron?" Vail asked. "He isn't going to be pleased whe  he finds that you've killed his assassins."

"Au contraire, he'll be delighted." Ekaterina smirked. "The Baron is intelligent enough to realise that I needed to protect myself. He will also be pleased that I did not send them back, because that would make him look guilty of the attack. And furthermore, he does not respond well to failure." Ekaterina grinned evilly as Alacia poked her finger into the prisoner's eye socket and wiggled it about. "Besides, if I know that fat slig, he'll be replaying this show every night before he goes to bed for the next three weeks."

"Hmm." Vail frowned. He looked aside. "And look at the crowd." He commented.

"Yes, they're loving it." Ekaterina smirked. The crowd was cheering and whooping as Alacia played with her second victim. She had cut a large hole in his belly, and periodically she tore something out and stuffed it down his throat. "I tell you, Vail." Ekaterina sighed, "It makes me jealous, all this fun that she's having."

Buildup of Arsunt: 30%, 7% per post.

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Raising a brow, Atilian asked "You may not want power, but if you are not the one in that Governor's  office, People will die. Many people." Looking sharply at the young man, Aleksandr said "I've already done much foe these people!" "And all that will be for naught if you allow the Baron to change leadership. Together we have approximately 80,000 men not to mention the massive amounts of equipment stocked by my father. This coupled with the support of the Freman, we would have no problem repelling an  force of 50,000 men." The Governor looked once again at the man "I said military intervention is forbidden and like I have said, I never really wanted power." Slamming his large hand on a table Atilian replied "You must stay in power because you don't want to. The most suited for ruling are usually those most disinterested by it. My Father would of been happy staying in charge of our trade commision, thats why he was left in charge of House Trebeis when my grandfater died, and he has turned out to be the best leader we have ever had! As for Military intervention by your in-laws being outlawed is not a issue. The invasion and Re-fiefing of my home by the Emperor shows that the Baron has Kaitan in his pocket and he was never well known for following the laws in the first place. He is invading and will destroy everything you have done here!" There was a vein throbbing in Atilian's forehead.

OUTSIDE: Fires were still spreading, apparently the Fire supression Equipment was damaged in the air-attack. Two more Arakeenian buildings were ablaze.

Giedi Prime: Hundreds of Frigates depart the atmosphere for the loading bay of a massive High-liner. The high-Liner is bound for Arrakis.

Arrival of Giedi Prime forces: 5 posts.

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Er... I wasn't going to say anything until things got really dire, but I do kind of control the Baron. You know?

"If the Baron sends a force, then I will negotiate with them as best I can." Aleksandr said firmly. "If it is their task to remove me, then I will not resist them. It would signal my death, and the deaths of hundreds of others."

"We can resist them!" Atilian replied forcefully.

"Perhaps." The governor's tone made it clear that he doubted this. "But what then? What happens when the Baron calls on allies like Moritani, and Rabban? What happens when the Landsraad sees the Spice Planet become the focus of a conflict? What happens when my sister turns Arsunt into a starport for the Baron? You already said that the Baron has influence on Kaitan, what happens when the Emperor gets involved? No." He sighed. "We cannot hold Arrakis, and there is no reason why we should. After all, what is this planet but the source of spice?"

"People will die." The Trebesian hissed.

"If we resist, every single one of your men, my men, and both our households will be put to death in a very painful way." Aleksandr shot back. "Not to mention the number of civilians that will get caught in the crossfire. To preserve these lives, I will not fight."

"Then what about us?" Atilian asked. "What about your allies, the Trebeis? We have no place to run to, our homeworld is under the yoke of that monster Rabban!"

"I cannot help that." Aleksandr sighed. "If the worst comes to the worst, I would suggest that you do as House Atreides did. Move into the desert. Find the fremen, maybe even the Huahin. If I can help you, I will. But I will not order a single shot to be fired." He paused, as Atilian fumed. "I suggest you summon the Ixians. They will undoubtedly have something to say about this. They have a role here as Imperial neutrals. Almost representatives of the Landsraad. Perhaps Relnev can do something."

Buildup of Arsunt: 37%, 7% per post.

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Reports of people in Ornithoptors masquerading as House Huahin had shocked the real House Huahin. 

"How could this of happened? All our Ornithoptors were accounted for..."  The Viscount of Huahin pondered this question, but not for long, as more pressing matters were at hand.  Apparently Huahinian slaves had been transported to Arrakis, and *freed*.  Right now these slaves were temporarily at a holding compound just outside Arsunt, which was currrently being rebuild by the Harkonnens.  There was no time for more hestitation and something had to be done straight away.

    That night a Long Range Desert Task Force, consisting of Sandcrawlers and Trikes, set off to this compound, ready for a propaganda mission.


When they reached the Compound, they found it relatively unguarded, except for a few sleepy Harkonnen guards, who were easily disposed of with tranquiliser darts.  Better make sure the House Huahin is seen in a better light after this.

Upon entering the Compound they were surprised.  Instead of rushing towards their liberators, the Huahinian slaves just stared. 

"We have come to release you from your Harkonnen oppressors...come with us, quickly."

"Why? The Harkonnens have promised to release us, and promise us safety."

The Huahinian commmander, despite being a little suprised, had been briefed on what to do if this situation arose.  Withdrawing a holoprojector from his bag, he gathered all the Huahinians, soldiers and slaves alike, to show them what the Harkonnens are really doing. 

"Back on our Home Planet, this is what the Harkonnens are doing"

Images of Huahinian forests being demolished, citizens being gunned down, and cities being fire bombed flashed in front of many eyes.

"What's going on in here then,back to your quarters..."  A Harkonnen Guard had awoken, and returned to the compound, but seeing the many, fully armed, commandos, he immediatly ran back to spread the alarm.

One of the younger members of the group enquired, "Shouldn't you stop him?"

"No, by the time anymore Harkonnens set foot here we'll be on our way back."


Back base, the frigates prepared to leave for a heighliner for Huahin VI, now they just had to complete their payment to the Guild.

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(O.O.C. --> Reason for absence = World of Warcraft.  If you play, you'll understand.  If you don't, then you cannot understand. :P)

Message to Aleksandr Harkonnen:

I apologise for my extended absence from office.  I am feeling much better now, thank you.  I would also like to further extend my appreciation for your role in my return to sanity.  I am indebted to you, and it matters not how simple your act was; were it not for your help, I might not be writing this message now.

Therefore I, Head Ambassador Relnev of Ixian Outpost 9, do hereby grant you, Governer Aleksandr Harkonnen of Arrakis, a boon.  Contact me if you should wish to call it in.  Once again, you have my thanks.

Head Ambassador Relnev of Ixian Outpost 9.

After drafting the message to the Harkonnen Governer, Relnev made his wat to Outpost 9's control room.  There were a great many things that had occurred during his convalescence, and he needed to know if action was needed.

"Give me a summary of anything of importance that has happened thus far." Relnev said, striding into the room and sitting down in one of the many chairs dotted about the room.  Eemins didn't appear to be among those present in the control room, so it fell to another officer to relay the information to the Head Ambassador.

"Sir, we have news regarding several issues, but most revolving around the Trebeis and the Harkonnen."

"Tell me what we know." Relnev said, leaning back.

"The Duke Trebeis was the victim of an assassination attempt from a Tleilaxu face dancer, presumably under the employ of the Baron Harkonnen."

"What makes you think this wasn't the doing of the Lady Ekaterina?"

"A public declaration stating otherwise.  Plus, our intelligence on her doesn't seem to support this kind of attack.  She doesn't need the attention of the Trebeis' military."

"True..." Relnev mused.  "So the Duke is dead?"

"No, it would appear that he survived, though his son is now leading them."

"And his view on the whole matter?"

"He seems to advocate military action."

"Against whom?  Ekaterina?"

"That brings me to my next point.  There are unconfirmed reports of frigates from Geidi Prime bound on a heighliner for Arrakis."

"What?" asked Relnev, confused.  "Why would the Baron send forces to Dune?"

"He is opposed to the idea of these... Arrakis Factions, if you will.  They are a constant threat to his profit.  The Spice must flow, and all that."

"This is preposterous!" Relnev shouted.  "How far does that man think he can go?"

"He does appear to have the backing of the Emperor, sir."

"The Emperor - if the reports are to be believed - is nothing more than a puppet of the Guild.  They care only about the Spice, and they think that the Harkonnen are best suited at getting it for  them." Relnev said, calming down, but remaining frustrated.

"Word from Ixian Command would suggest this; though the reasons behind the situation does not change it." said the reporting officer.

"Correct as you may be, we cannot stand for this." Relnev said decisively.  "When the Baron's troops arrive, there will be chaos."

"We have word from the Governer that he will not oppose the Geidi Prime forces."


"He believes in doing so he will save lives."

"By letting another, more ruthless Harkonnen take over?"

"We can still trade with- " the officer said, before being cut short.

"Are you all blind?" Relnev exclaimed.  "Can you not see the benefits we have gained from this benevolent Harkonnen?  The protection, the ability to trade in peace, the mutual gain... ALL of this will be lost should Geidi Prime hold sway in the governance of Dune."

"You propose to go against the Governer's wishes?"

"I propose to bring order to this mess." Relnev said firmly.

Several hours later, Relnev had called a meeting of all the officers of Outpost 9.  Eemins had returned from his duties elsewhere, and was also present.

"The meeting shall now begin." the announcer proclaimed, at the request of Relnev.  The murmurs faded to silence as Relnev readied himself to speak.

"Officers of Outpost 9; we are at a crucial point in our existence on Arrakis." he began.  "Hostile Harkonnen forces are on their way to Arrakis, presumably with the intention of replacing the Governer Aleksandr Harkonnen.  Be this with the Lady Ekaterina, or another Harkonnen delegate, is not of importance.  Our main goal is to ensure that this does not happen."

"As I am sure you can all see, our life on Arrakis has benefitted immensely since the change in power; from Ekaterina to Aleksandr.  From a purely profit-minded point of view, it makes sense to keep the current government in power; I fear that if another Harkonnen were to be put into power, they would not be so accommodating."

"We must take action.  The tension on Arrakis is coming to a head; assassination attempts, public mass executions, amassing armies... we must strive to bring order to Arrakis, lest all fall into chaos.  War may be a great time for weapons dealers, but not when you are caught in the middle of the conflict... and I assure you that if the Harkonnen are successful in replacing Aleksandr... there will be war."

Message to Aleksandr Harkonnen:

We need to meet; we must discuss the situation on Arrakis, and your decisions regarding it.  It must be soon, as I am sure you are aware.  Please, contact me at your earliest convenience.

Head Ambassador Relnev of Ixian Outpost 9.

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"Sir, we have recieved a message from the Ixians." Aleron reported to the governor, having followed him into the base.

"Oh good, and how is Relnev?" Aleksandr asked amiably.

"Much improve, sir." Aleron replied dryly. "Also, most of the Huahin refugees have been reported missing from the medical facility. Reports suggest that the Huahin in the desert are responsible for removing them, and the evidence does not point to violence."

"Well, I did allow them that freedom." Aleksandr shrugged. "Much good may it do them, since any sighting of a Huahin away from their own planet is sure to bring Glossu down on them. Did Relnev say anything else?"

"He wants to meet with you, ASAP." Aleron nodded, with a glance at Atilian Trebeis. Apparantly he has some concerns about the future of Arrakis."

"Doesn't everybody?" Aleksandr rolled his eyes. "Very well, it would be rude of me to invite him here. I'll go see him. Would Atilian care to accompany me?" He turned to the young Trebesian.

"We aren't finished here." He scowled. "The Baron-"

"The Baron appointed me." Aleksandr interrupted. "Perhaps we can discuss this better as a council, with the Ixians. Will you join me?"

* * *

"There. Let that show just how loyal we are." Ekaterina smirked, as the last of her victims finally expired. She looked up, past the stage, where the rising fortifications of Arsunt could be seen in the making. Plasteel walls and shield generators, some of which were already in place and functional.

'If war comes, then I will not be found ill prepared.' She thought to herself, staring out as yet another section of her grand vision was lowered into place. 'And war is coming. If I can't arrange it myself, someone else will do it for me. I've sat in the shadows for far too long, playing second baliset to the idiot men for all my life. My father, my uncle, my cretinous husband! (Maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to get rid of him...) Well not anymore!' Her fingers tightened on the railing. 'I'll see myself in control of a planet yet. Be it Arrakis or Geidi Prime, Grumman or Huahin VI, as Viscountess or Baroness, I will not let myself stay in the background not anymore!' Grimacing, she strode back into her palace.

"Order resources from Carthag to be delivered here." She snapped to Rachael, who dutifully noted down the command. "I want men, I want food, I want water. And I want Danforth and his men back from Arrakeen. Arsunt is to be completely self-sufficient by the time the fortifications are completed."

"We may need-" Rachael began.

"If there are any problems with space, or demand, just evict a few civilians. They'll think themselves lucky not to be killed horribly." Ekaterina waved a hand. "War is coming, and I am going to be on the right side."

"And whose side is that, M'lady?" Vail asked boldly.

"Mine." Ekaterina said flatly, sitting on her throne.

OOC: It has been suggested that I have something of a penchant for mindless violence in my descriptions of Ekaterina's behaviour. To this I have but one answer: Yes, yes I do.

Buildup of Arsunt: 44%, 7% per post.

Harkonnen forces on Arrakis:

Carthag: 6,000. 4,000 en route to Arsunt.

Arrakeen: 10,000. 2,000 en route to Arsunt, plus High Commander Danforth.

Arsunt: 4,000. The eleven Elites.

Tsimpo: 4,000. Whole garrison on standby to move.

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Glancing at the Governor, Atilian said "I will accompany you, but I request we take a Squadron of my Mark II Ornithopters. You never know, there could be another attempt on me or my father." Then, looking to Qapmoc, the young man ordered "I want all men put on high alert, All defenses are to be manned, De-meks activated, Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Infantry weaponenry brought on-line and all men not yet outfitted with Ixian equipment and armed, are to be so. Along with the Squadron of Mark II's I want a At-fer (Unit of men used by Trebesians, 50 men) of Nokker Guardsman to accompany us to the council, they will help provide security." As Atilian walked off with the Governor, Qapmoc smiled. "Hopefully I will kill some more Harkonnen on this day!" he said as he drew his No'Kar'e sword and inspected the laser-cut edge.

Trebesian Millitary Forces.

Troops  38000, Nokker Guard 935, Ornis  657, Trikes 225, Quads 165, De-Meks 47, Frigates 2,012, Assorted Artillery & Anti Aircraft Pieces 3,972, Anti Orbital Weapons (classified) + Classified weapons.

ABOVE ARRAKIS: A massive Highliner Apperates, Huge Docking bay doors shudder open and frigates with the markings of House Harkonnen dis-embark and assemble in formation, preparing for descent.

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What can I say? I'm still trying to work out exactly what I'm going to have these Harkonnen invaders (which I am officially taking control of as of now) do now that they've arrived.

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OOC:Teehee, I told you I was going to try to make things as intresting as possible, sorry but it was getting quite dull.  ;D

I guess I did overstep my boundries and for that, I apoligise. I will not do it again.

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*Sigh* Alright, here goes...

Two small shuttles descend into the atmosphere of Arrakis, Harkonnen regalia emblazoned on their sides. They separate high above the shield wall, and head in different directions...

"The forces above the planet are remaining in orbit, for the time being." Aleron reported, his voice shaking ever so slightly. "Two craft have left one of the frigates, and we expect one of them to dock in Arrakeen within the hour." He looked at Aleksandr. "They will want to meet with you."

"Indeed." The governor sighed, as his groundcar sped through the Arrakeen streets toward the Ixian compound. "Well, I'll just have to hope that Relnev doesn't feel like beating about the bush." He looked up as the Trebesian ornithopters passed overhead. "And that Atilian doesn't do anything too hasty. He's in a precarious enough position as it is."

"Meaning?" Aleron cocked an eyebrow as the groundcar passed into the compound.

"Meaning that the Trebesians may be facing their last stand." Aleksandr said ominously. The groundcar drew to a halt, and he prepared to exit. "And if someone attacks that shuttle, then I have no doubt that the Baron will happily destroy Arrakeen, much as Eha- Ekak... my sister did." The door opened, and he stepped out onto the sand. The Ixian ambassador awaited.

* * *

Ekaterina Harkonnen sat back in her throne, awaiting the arrival of the Baron's envoy. Now that she no longer governed the planet, she did not know what the man would want with her, but it could only be a good sign that he thought her worthy of attention. Nevertheless, she had taken the precaution of surrounding herself with her most dangerous warriors... She was taking a risk not meeting the ambassador in person, but she was not about to abase herself for the man who had deposed her from the Harkonnen throne in Carthag.

The doors at the far end of the throne room opened, and Ekaterina stood up. She was not about to abandon protocol completely.

She was surprised to note that the figure in Harkonnen livery that strode toward her was not the customary armoured man, but a shapely woman in a black uniform and cape. Her heels clicked on the stone floor as she approached the throne. She stopped just close enough to be daring, without being so near to Ekaterina as to be rude. She saluted smartly. Ekaterina's eyes widened in shock.

"I am Ranith Moritani." The envoy announced, a smirk playing across her lips. "Envoy to the Baron Harkonnen and ambsassador to the planet Arrakis." She bowed, not quite low enough to be truely respectful. Ekaterina seethed.

"Sister." She hissed through clenched teeth. 'What does the fat old fool think he is doing?!'

"The Baron has sent me to discuss policy, Lady Ekaterina." The envoy bowed again, reaching to her belt and producing a message canister. Ekaterina, hardly able to move with anger, jerked a nod to Douglas Trilu, who stepped forward to retrieve the message. Ranith handed it over with a smile, and Trilu delivered it to Ekaterina. She snapped open the cylinder, and read the message. The throne room waited in silence.

Finally, Ekaterina lowered the paper.

"He will not agree to this." She said calmly.

"No, he won't." Ranith agreed. "So we will have to... persuade him." She grinned evilly. Ekaterina followed suit. Standing up, she stepped down from her throne.

"Yes, I understand." She smiled, keeping a distance from the envoy. "Come, we must hasten to Arrakeen."

Buildup of Arsunt: 51%, 7% per post.

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"Ah, the sweet smell of death!" Seth said to himself. "Oh well, better tell the other tribes what has happened."


" I have grave news. The Huahinians have attacked our Naibs. All are dead, except me. I only just escaped," Seth broadcast to all the tribes on Arrakis. " I suggest a large attack on the Huahin. I would lead this attack, with my Herakee guard." Please send your replies soon. Speed is of the essence."


Several hours later...

"All the tribes except for twenty have accepted. We are recieving the total amount of fighters right now, Seth," Piron said.

"Good. I want them equipped with Ixian equipment." "Yessir."


"The total amount of fighters available is 115000, Seth," Piron said. "Good. I want half to attack the Huahin, and the other half to stay on standby." "Yessir." "Also, I want you to compile the amount of spice we have altogether." "Yessir."


"We have 400,000kgs of spice altogether, Seth. That includes the amount each fremen will need per day.""Start building silos to store that amount at the Trebeis's old base that they abandoned." "Yessir." "Once they are finshed, start bringing the spice to that place" "Yessir. Consider it done."

Spice silos completion - 4 + Shifting spice = 8 posts

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Ok, I'm back. Not too ofet, but still. Dante, please send me a "resume" when you have time.


Message to Alexandr Harkonnen:


The military equipment you have discovered is not for offensive manuovers. i do not intend to start another war. I already have turned Arrakees into a second Stalingrad if you remember the old tail. I don't want it again. But if the war starts, I want to be prepared. As I have observed, certain violences have erupted already. You are a honorable leader, and I would like to fight alongside you if there's to be a war. I know, on the other hand you'll never hand Ekaterina, but if she attacks you, let me deal with her and her forces.[/hide]

The stocks of Carth's forces:

1500 individual shields

5000 swords

1000 portable laserguns

100 ornis

500 trikes

125 quads

Unconventional weaponry:

100 flame-throwers

200 grenade-launchers (aka Bazooka)

50 napalm units

Currently importing from Bakan:

5 shielded tanks ( hope it's within the rules)

A messanger aproached Carth:

- Sir, one of the tanks arrived.

- Already?

- Well... it's still in spare parts, to be undetectable. We'll put it up in several days. Thought you'll want to see its turret gun.

In the hangar Carth found a 5 meter barreled laser-gun.

- WHO THE HELL DESIGNED THIS? Is it legal? aked Carth

- What do we have to do with legal? laughed one of his men.

- Well, if we are to go to war again, then we'll want to do it clean, or the Emperor will wipe the sand with our butts personnaly.

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"Gentlemen." Relnev acknowledged his guests as they entered the Ixian base. Aides and minor scientists scuttled to and fro about him. Aleksandr and Atilian both bowed in turn.

"Relnev." Aleksandr smiled wanly. "I'm glad to see you've recovered."

"Fully and completely, thank you." The Ixian nodded, indicating that the two were to follow him. He added pointedly, "I only hope that I live long enough to enjoy my health."

"You have nothing to fear." Aleksandr said quietly.

"That," Relnev answered, "is where you are wrong."

[Dragoon, if you want to continue this...?]

Buildup of Arsunt: 58%, 7% per post.

Harkonnen forces on Arrakis:

Carthag: 6,000.

Arrakeen: 10,000. Secondary Commander Thorn.

Arsunt: 13,000. The eleven Elites. High Commander Danforth.

Tsimpo: 1,000. Whole garrison on standby to move.

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Sitting down in a meeting room consisting of one, circular table (complete with a 3D map of Arrakis in the centre) surrounded by communications and surveillance apparatus; Atilian, Aleksandr and Relnev began to talk.

"What is it you fear, Relnev?" Aleksandr asked, referring to Relnev's response earlier.

"Your in-laws." Relnev replied.

"Understandable..." Aleksandr said, "though I think the Ix would remain unscathed should I simply surrender to any potential invading force."

"Since when has surrendering to Harkonnen rule been beneficial to any planet in the long run?"

"But it will save lives..."

"To condemn them to likely slavery?" Relnev asked.  Aleksandr was quiet.  It was obvious he'd weighed up the consequences for every action they could take; but in Relnev's mind, Aleksandr's scales were slightly off.

"We fight, then." Atilian said, his tone suggesting he wanted details.

"Yes, we fight." Relnev replied.  "The Harkonnen Invaders have numbers, but they aren't trained for desert combat.  Keep their ornithopters out of the city and we can face them on territory we're used to."

"Wait, wait." Aleksandr said.  "We're taking the fight to them?  I can't agree to that."

"You misunderstand, Governer." Relnev replied.  "Let me explain a little more clearly." he said, using a keypad in front of him to control the map.

"Just because a force strikes first, it doesn't neccessarily follow that they are the aggressor." Relnev said, focusing on Arrakeen.  "In this case, it's quite the contrary.  I propose that the layout of our two bases be used to our advantage.  By placing sheild emitters atop the Harkonnen base surrounding Outpost 9, and fortifying the ground defences, we have ourself a fortress."

"Furthermore," Relnev continued, "we have more than enough room in Outpost 9 for any refugees that may arrive, from either parts of the city or from elsewhere."

"So we defend ourselves, too." Atilian stated.

"Yes, but aggressively so." came the reply.  "Using our orbital satellites, we have unparalleled surveillance data.  We will know of any invasion force - regardless of modus transporti - at least an hour before they arrive.  This will give us time to raise defences, and enact an ambush; to fight them in the desert would be advantageous to us."

"You make this sound easy, Ambassador." Aleksandr said.  "It won't be.  You underestimate the Harkonnens.  If my sister is part of this force, we'll be in for a tough time."

"True.  The soldiers in your sister's employ will be just as experienced as your own.  But you forget; you have the Ix as your allies, with others in potential.  They can offer more forces, while we offer technology unrivalled throughout the known universe."

"We aren't ready, though!" Aleksandr protested.  "They are mobilised for war; we've barely had enough time to conduct this meeting... they could be attacking now!"

"We are keeping a close eye on them." Relnev reassured.  "However, we are not totally unprepared.  Action is needed now, however.  The defences are ready to be erected at your approval.  We can have the 'fortress' ready in just over a day, and can commence war-projects immediately..."

Relnev sat back in his chair.  "The choice is yours to make."

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