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Message to Duke Trebeis:


My "adventure" last time led to the destruction of Arrakeen. If there's going to be war... I'd like to wage a more mobile one. Nevertheless I'll come to Arrakeen if you need me to. Who is in charge now? I'd like to discuss with the commander to choose our objectives.[/hide]

Carth moved to Arrakeen with an armed escort in terrain vehicles. The troops remained massed in elusive positions around Arrakeen and the Wall.

The smuggler was astonished by the transformation of the place since he last saw it.

- I hope that my presence here will not bring this place bad luck as the last time.

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The Duke approached the Smuggler leader assisted by a Nokker and a Doctor. His health had been declining rapidly of late. As he neared Carth, he smiled and said "I am glad you have agreed to come. Your help and prescence is appreiciated." Shaking the Smuggler's hand, he continued "As for your questions in your message, The city is ruled by Aleksandr and his Legion of Loyalist Harkonnen. But due to his absence the city of Arrakeen is being managed by my House." Carth nodded and signaled to his body guards, who followed as they walked to the Duke's Transport, a small, lightly armoured sand-car with a las-turret on the roof. Finally on their way through the city, the Duke started again. "As you can see, this war shall be nothing like that inwhich you expierienced. For starters, we have had much time to prepare, the full power of a former Great House, House Trebeis is fighting against Ektennera, the City is heavily defended and we actually have turned the citie's massive production capabilitys to aid the war effort." Carth nodded and watched apprehensively as the Trebesian went into a massive coughing fit. The Docter tried to reach for the Duke, but he violently shoved the man's hand away. He appeared to regain his composer and quickly removed his hand from his mouth. He thought no one noticed the blood on his hand, but the Smuggler's keen eye's picked it up. They proceeded to tour the Defenses and Volunteer reciveing areas, which were still packed. Then, they arrived in the city square where a massive crowd of both regular citizens and uniformed men and woman alike had formed. The Duke smiled and turned to Carth. "I believe they would like to hear a few words form their old leader".

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'Hmm, I was wondering where he had gotten to.' Aleksandr thought to himself, looking down from a high window as Carth Bindar was introduced to his audience. 'I wonder how that thing the Ixians did for him is doing... I do hope that he hasn't forgotten to have it checked on regularly.' He rested an elbow on the windowsill, enjoying a warm breeze at this height. The people were cheering. It seemed that the smuggler had become something of a popular hero after escaping from... her. The Governor - and he was beginning to wonder what the title meant now - turned away from the window and walked slowly back to a desk in the middle of the room, piled high with paperwork. Sitting down in his chair, he recieved a sheet of spice paper from Aleron, who stood to one side.

"Water figures and sounding figures." The aide said with a nod. "Most of the population would support a move to conserve water, given the circumstances. Turning the fountain off is more likely to increase morale, rather than dampening it."

"And those who wouldn't support the move?" Aleksandr asked, scanning the figures in front of him.

"Mostly those who wouldn't support anything." Aleron shrugged. "The exceptions are those nobles or merchants who would benefit from your sister's rule."

Aleksandr's mismatched eyes blinked in surprise. "Some of them remained? I had thought that they made for Carthag as soon as preparations begun."

"Many of them have large estates here, or businesses that they are required to oversee or protect." Aleron noted, ruffling through some more papers. "Lets see... Yes, fourteen notable merchants and three minor nobles are still in Arrakeen, with a combined private army of roughly two thousand."

"Risk factor?" Aleksandr asked.

"Low. The merchants won't risk anything if they can avoid it, and the nobles know that they can't hope to make a difference. If Arrakeen is attacked from outside, however, there are five individuals who may attempt to aid the attackers, if they work together."

"Do we need to worry about them, Aleron?"

"I don't think so. A small show to show that you know about them should be enough to guarantee security."

"Good." Aleksandr signed the water paper, and passed it back. Aleron replaced it with another form, this one relating to those Harkonnen soldiers in Arrakeen who still had family on Geidi Prime.

This was what he should be doing, Aleksandr thought as he read through the document. Atilian and his father were organising the defences, working with Carth, the popular leader. Another figure would only mess things up. And someone had to sign the forms, mind the figures, balance the books, keep the city running as smoothly as possible while it prepared for war. Just yesterday he had found a gaping hole in the figures that had revealed a family hoarding water. That water was even now being pumped beneath the city, ready for when it would be needed.

Still, there was this nagging feeling that he should be out there, doing things that he didn't want to do but should. The governor sighed, and hardly noticed as Aleron left his desk to answer a knock at the door. He looked up as the aide returned, holding a message cylinder. Reaching out to take it, he broke the seal and removed the message. His knuckles turned white.

"Sir?" Aleron asked.

"Starport! I need to get to the Starport immediately!" Aleksandr sprang from his chair and dashed for the door.

* * *

"Damnation." Ekaterina breathed, holding a similar message in her hands. Her nails had punctured the paper.

"A problem? M'Lady?" Rachael asked bluntly.

"No." Ekaterina snapped. She shredded the message in an instant, letting the pieces fall to the floor. "At least, not yet. We'll see. How are the defences?"

"Completed." Rachael replied. "Shield generators are up and running, plasteel barriers are all in place. The Sardaukar have finished their work."

"Good. Start the conscription." Ekaterina clenched and unclenched her fingers, glancing at the tiny fragments of paper on the floor. Rachael nodded, with no other reaction.

"We'll starve them out yet." Ekaterina hissed, glaring at her map of the Northern circle. "They can last for months, but where will they get fuel? Where will they get food? Where will they get water?"

"The Tre-" Ranith, who had been silent until now, started. She cowered under her sister's withering glare.

"Soon." Ekaterina muttered, staring hard at Arrakeen. "Very soon..."

Buildup of Arsunt: Complete!

Harkonnen forces on Arrakis:

Carthag: 6,000.

Arrakeen: 10,000. Secondary Commander Thorn.

Arsunt: 63,000. The eleven Elites. High Commander Danforth. 5,000 Sardaukar.

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

Harkonnen forces off Arrakis: Unknown. 

Conscription in Carthag and Arsunt: 100 men per post for next 20 posts.

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In the Grand Plaza of Arrakeen, Carth, in the presence of the Trebeis Duke, tried to assemble some words for the people that gathered to see him.

"Am I so important for them? Am I so important at all?"

He aproached the microphone and started:

- All of you know of me, you all know of the stand my men took here, because you were among them. You returned here to rebuild your lives under a new Harkonnen ruler, one that only brings honor to the name of Harkonnen. You have seen that life can be better, and now you are ready to fight to protect what you have build, what you love, your future. You all know Ekaterina's methods. All of us suffered because of her. I had the misfortune to meet her personally, and see two of my men being turned into living flesh masses. The most painful feeling is the one in which you cannot do anything, and that's how I felt whatching my men tortured for Ekaterina's wicked pleasure. You understand what will happend if she wins. Ay how much defiance our movement throws at her, she would probably exterminate Arrakeen. IF and WHEN you'll have to fight you'll better fight with dicipline and the determination the fact that there's NOWHERE to run will give you. We can win this, but it will take a lot of sacrifice. Amny of us will surely not see the end, but my men and I are at peace with that thought and will fight to the end. You are not alone, and we want you by our side.

Fight so we can prevail!"

After the speech, Carth requested a meeting with Alexandr and Duke Trebeis.

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While waiting for the answer, Carth checked his order of battle one last time:


Conventional Weaponry:

2250 individual shields

6500 swords

1250 portable laserguns

115 ornis

575 trikes

145 quads

Unconventional weaponry:

110 flame-throwers

230 grenade-launchers (aka Bazooka)

60 napalm units

10 shielded tanks


"This should be enought to break a Harkonnen legion in head-to-head fight. I'd better keep the troops toghether. If Alexandr asks for reinforcements I'll be in a delicate situation. Best to take Tsimpo. I'll move in with full forces. Should be easy. Then move further. C'mon, Alexandr, what's taking so long?"

One of Carth's men aproached him:

- Yo, man.... I mean... Sir, there's a message for you.

- Let me see it:

" For Carth Bindar, from the Dpt. of Engeneering

We have finnaly found a way to use the napalm units from the air.

The quantity in one unit is enough to be used in several strikes.

One unit only can be mounted upon an orni.

Shall we comence installation?"

After reading the whole message Carth ordered the soldier to transmit the positive order back to the Den.

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"Thank you very much for taking me around your base. Now, my men have some water to add to your supplies. Is it all right for us to put in your water storage area to contribute to the effort against Ekaterina?" T'Horrim said. "Of course you may. How much do you have?" The Commander said. "We have approximately two thousand litres," said T'Horrim. "Come with me. I will show you where to put it." As the two walked away, one hundred fremen followed, carrying the huge amount of water.


Six hours later...

"Success! We have deposited the Water of Life in their supplies. Even if they do not use the water, they will run out. Now the only thing we need to do is leave. We will leave behind a skeleton force, that will destroy the water extractors", said T'Horrim


"We have heard that there is going to be a huge attack. On the way here, we saw about ten Harkonnen ornithopters fly towards us, and then turn back towards Arsunt. We shot one down, and found some documents on how to contact the new force that would attack the WTF", T'Horrim said to the Commander. "We want to go out and scout for them. I will take nine thousand, nine hundred and twenty five. The rest will guard the water extraction equipment from saboteurs." "Very well, go. But don't blame me if you all get killed", said the Commander.


Message to Ekaterina Harkonnen

[hide]We have a lot of spice to trade. We need ornitopters and lasguns. Can you provide us with them, if we pay you?[/hide]

Fremen forces on Arrakis

Cave of Birds - 9000

Imperial Basin - 10,000

Mt Idaho - 20,000

Cave of Riches - 20,000

Sihaya Ridge - 15,000

Hagga Basin - 15,000

Pasty Mesa - 15,000

Trebeis WTF - 10,000


114,000 lasguns

114,000 crysknives

200 ornithopters

2000 trikes

1700 quads

10 stealth vehicles

200 shields

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Hope it's not to late for me to join. I'll be Captain Raynor (I know it's not origanal but I'm no good at names) who's in charge of the remnants of the Atreides 2nd Battalion (1200 men) who have made there base in one of the hidden atomics stockpiles out in the desert beyond the Shield Wall near Observatory Mount. I know I have quite a few men for remnents but with everyone else with such power it only seemed fair.

Captain Raynor drank from his canten some of the small amount of water they had gathered from the wind traps and dew collectors as he stared at a map of Arrakis. While doing so one of his men ran up and saluted.

"What is it corporal" he said returning the salute.

"We have heard rummors from smugglers that the Harkonnen are in orbit ready to attack. We also hear that Aleksandr is resisting with help from other factions" he replied.

"Hmm it would be good to spill some Harkonnen blood again. I never thought I'd say this but this Aleksandr sounds a decent ruler, we should fight alongside him. Give the order to move 1000 of our men out immediatly to find allies leaving 200 to guard the atomics".

"Yes sir".

To Aleksandr

[hide] I am Captain Raynor of the Atradies 2nd Battalion. I am moving a 1000 men to Tsimpo to aid you against the invaders. My men only have shields and knives and poor supplies, any help you could send would be appreciated. I am glad to see that not all Harkonnen are bloodthirsty maniacal despots and I congratulate you on your compasionate leadership.[/hide]

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Erm, Usul.... Tsimpo is in the hands of Ektennera..

Watching the Freman leave the compound, The Commander thought. "My word such water. Where do they get it from? In any event, we cannot allow them to go out into the Desert un-aided with such a Harkonnen force about." Turning to a passing Sub-fer Commander, he ordered 300 Ornithopters put into the air to monitor the progress of their desert-dwelling allies.

Marching into the Water Holding area to refill their personal supplies, Subfer Commander Wren Flankn's men were uneasy, they had never trusted the Freman, and still did not. Never the less, they were crucial to the war effort. Just as Flankn was about to fill his own canteen, he was shocked to find that the man that filled his first, was laying on the ground, writhing in agony. His muscles were convulsing and tearing he was forcing them so hard. Looking around, he motioned for a medic who rushed over and shot the man with a tranqulizer. It did nothing, the man kept writhing. Blood began to pour out of ears and mouth, and then, with a shudder he flopped back and died. Looking to his left, Flankn saw another group approachinf a terminal, he quickly rushed over and stopped them. Turning out to face the assembeled men, he said in a rushed voice "My men, we have been duped! The water has been poisened!" the men roared with anger.

Sitting in his office, Senhica, the WTF's Nokker Commander was not prepared to have a team of engineers rush in and shout "the extractors are dead! We do not know what happened, but during the shift change, something was done and now the do not extract!" Standing, the WTF commander shouted "Where are the Freman!?" looking meekly at the Nokker Commander, who stood at an impressive 7 feet and happened to have massive, cable-like veins pooping out of his neck in his anger, the private replied "we do not know sir, the security moniterinf sytem was under repairs while theis all happened" Pounding the Transmit button on his consul, the commander bellowed "All men to battle stations, Full alert! Freman are to be considered enemy combatents and are to be treated as such." Then paused for a moment in which he strapped on his equipment, he the continued "Any Freman still in my base, you best hope that I am not the one to find you! Seven Sadukar died by my hands on Athalon, I am quite intrested in finding how much better of a fight you put up in comparison to them!" Smiling, he signaled to the private and the 20 Nokker standing in the room and said "lets go Sabatuor hunting!" and they all ran out the office, having men join them as they went.

Subfer Commander Wren Flankn and his men, now in charge of watching the gate to the Faculty, were taking up the projectile and las weapons mounted on the walls. Smiling, the men were joking that if any Freman tried to return, it would be like shooting Worms in a cage. The Ornithopters had retuned, being unabled to locate the Freman, but they were being equipped with special components designed by the Ixians to find the enemy.

ARRAKEEN: Having been breifed on the situation after returning from the Ixian compound, Atillian was shocked. The WTF put out of operation and only with 12% of it's reserves useable. "shit!" was all the young man could muster. Meanwhile, the Duke had once again lapsed into a state of unconciosness. Standing next to his bed, Atillian was surprised to have the smuggler leader walk in and say "I knew your Due was doing poorly, he has much streangth, but that might not save him now." "indeed" replied Atillian. Then contining, the Trebesian said "now, what is it you wanted to see myself and Aleksandr for?"

Message to the Ixians

[hide] Hello Eamins, it appears we are in dire straights. Simply put, the WTF has been sabotaged. We have spae components for the extractors, but not the knowledge to put them back together. For this, we need you. Would you be abled to send in a team to repair the damage?

Atillian Trebeis -Duke Apperant of House Trebeis.[/hide]

(Classified)Operation Hide and Seek- Compleate, initialising.

(Classified)Operation Unseen Trident- Compleate, initialising.

Arrakeen Produced Ornithopters (5000- 0% at 25% per post.

New Arrakeenian Volunteers- 5,175 (new surge of sign ups due to Carth's speech) 22,100 + 5,175 = 27,275.

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Ok, I wasn't going to say anything because you got it right before, but her name is 'Ekaterina,' not Ektennera.

Proper post may be forthcoming, depending on whether I can ever get a conversation with Ghosthunter or not.

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"Things seem to be spiralling out of control, Eemins." Relnev said quietly.  He sat in his office, quietly reflecting the events of the past few days.

"The fact of the matter, sir, is that Ekaterina has the backing of the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen." Eemins replied, pacing the space in front of Relnev's desk.  "She has the backing of Geidi Prime, the Landsraad and ultimately the Emperor."

Relnev was deep in thought.  He knew better than most how corrupt the Emperor was; how the assassination of Duke Leto Atreides was nothing more than an attempt to quell a rising power within the Landsraad.  House Harkonnen were just... convenient.  They got the support of the Emperor simply because they shared some of the same goals.  Something needed to be done to shake the Baron's support.

"What messages do I have?" Relnev asked, deciding to focus on other matters for a while.

"The Trebeis have had a run-in of sorts with the Fremen." Eemins replied.  "They request that we send some engineers out to repair the damage."

"How much of the contaminated water reached Arrakeen?"

"About 1/6th of the total delivered by the sabotaging Fremen reached the city.  As soon as the symptoms were realised, the water supply was halted.  We have reports of about 70 fatalities, but the situation is under control now."

Damn those Fremen. Relnev thought.  He had known that they weren't to be trusted.  Without a benevolent hand to guide them, they really were no more than a pack of desert rats.  They would poison an entire city, and hand over power to Ekaterina?  Traitors to their own planet!

"Send three engineering groups, fully equipped.  I want that Water Treatment Facility up and running again within two days, and improvements in security.  Snoopers galore, you hear me?"

"Yes, sir." Eemins replied.

Relnev leaned back in his chair and set about returning to his original chain of thought.  What would be powerful enough to rid the Baron of his confidence?  It was then that it hit Relnev.

"Paul Atreides!" he blurted.

"Sir?" Eemins said, slightly shocked.

"Eemins, send a message to the Duke Paul Atreides.  Tell him of our situation; inform him that there are still those here who would rally under him!  With his aid, we could yet win this."

"At once, sir."

Message to House Trebeis:

[hide]We are dispatching three full engineering crews to the WTF now.  We carry repair equipment, but also several upgrades to the efficiency and security of the facility.  We will come via ornithopter, and while we will have defence 'thopters flanking the crews, an escort of the teams would be beneficial as well.

Please find enclosed some proposed rendezvous co-ordinates.

Head Ambassador Relnev of Ixian Outpost 9.[/hide]

High up in Castle Caladan, the Duke Paul Atriedes was at a loss.  Despite several attempts to petition the Emperor, what happened on Arrakis all those months ago remained unchanged.  While sceptical at first, Paul was beginning to believe the suggestions of a conspiracy.  House Harkonnen and the Emperor... it seemed impossible, but it must be so.

The monitor in front of him grew suddenly lighter.  A white screen, informing him of a new message.

"More bickering from the Landsraad, no doubt." he said, opening the message.  It carried the seal of Arrakis.  Paul jerked to attention.  Reading the message - which described the situation on Arrakis, from the moment the Harkonnen invaded to the present, and asked the Duke to send Atreides support - Paul's path became clear.

If it gave him a chance to avenge his father's death, and to bring peaceful rulership to Arrakis, he would do all he could.

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50 Mark I Light Escort 'Thopters accompanied by a Assault frigate bearing a detachment of Troopers  flew out of Arrakeen and into the deep desert, racing to the co-ordiantes givin by the Ixians, they met with the Ixian craft and fell into  formation around the Ixians and the Frigate. Arriving later to the WTF, the Ixians, the Frigate and 20 Mark I's landed, the other thirty Trebesian craft circling once and then speeding back to Arrakeen.

Stepping out of one his Ornithopter, the Ixian engineer's first thought was My word, what IS that monstrosity? as he watched a De-mek crash by. Before he could chase after the weapon, he was confronted by a beast of a man, wearing the Flaming sheild sporting a "T" upon Checkered background emblem of the Trebesian millitary on one arm and the Nokker Guard's emblem of two Crossed No'kar'e swords behind a skull on the other. He was heavily bedecked with rank-related stripes and such, so the Ixian had the feeling he was important. As such, he said simply "I'm assuming you are the Commander that let the Freman ruin the water 'Eh?" He did not understand why the man did not take well to his joke and was a tad miffed when the Commander simply had him shown to the extractors. Things were in quite bad shape, the old extractors were mangled from explosives and the floor around them was covered with massive crates containing replacement parts. Turning to his fellow engineers, he nodded and said "well boys, lets get this place running, and happily bounced off.

"Strange some of these guys are Eh?" one of the Trebesian soldiers guarding the extractors whispered to his Ixian counterpart. "you have no idea" the Ixian replied, and laughed.

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Unfortunately for the Trebeis, the fremen were not found. They had slipped out of the of the base just after sabotaging the water extractors. Sabotage was not the only thing that the fremen had done. They had also left explosives where the sabotaged water extractors and the turrets were. When these where activated, all the turrets and the water extractors would explode. Many had also stolen plans for the whole of the base.


"Sir, there are certinally no more fremen here. We have searched ever-" A series of explosions rock the base."-where." said a Nokker to Senhica.

"I think you have not seached hard enough. What where those explosions, and where were they?" Senhica said.

"Yessir. Will do." said the Nokker.

Several hour later, the Nokker comes to report.

"Sir, all the the Water Extrators have been destroyed. Also, our defences are down."

"Shit! I should have known. Those blasted desert rats...


"I want sixty thousand men to guard Tsimpo against attacks from the Trebeis." said Seth. "Yessir". Piron replied. "Give them the inkvine and the shigawire that we got from Ekaterina also. "Yessir." "Good. Go now."

Estimated time of arrival in Tsimpo - 4 posts

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Fortuneately the WTF's replacement parts for the extractors were not damaged, an Ixian and his equipment though, were not so lucky. Also, the Freman had appearently grabbed copys of the plans drawn before the Trebeis had taken the facility, they were obsolete and compleatly un-accurate.

With nearly the entire Garrison on the walls, with their sheilds activated. The WTF looked simiular to a massive gem, glowing in the sun. Due to the Armories not being targeted by the Sabutuars, the larger turrets were being replaced already. The smaller of the weapons destroyed having already been replaced. De-meks posistioned themselves to protect the gaps and several orbiting Assault Frigates watched the surrounding area.

"Sir!"  Subfer Commander Wren Flankn said, approaching Senhica "We have shelled and searched the Freman towns, the were empty before we started." "Damn!" Senhica mumbled simply. "I wonder when they slipped out?"

WTF- 20,000 Troops 400 Nokker Guardsman, 327 Ornithopters, 200 Trikes, 100 Quads, 27 De-meks and 1,000 Assorted Artillery & Anti Aircraft Pieces.

Arrakeen- 15,000 Troops, 485 Nokker Guardsman, 1,300 Ornithopters, 25 Trikes, 65 Quads, 2,012 Frigates, 20 De-meks and 2,972  Assorted Artillery & Anti Aircraft Pieces + Anti Orbital Weapons (classified) + Classified weapons. + 27,275 Volunteer Defense Forces.

Outpost 9- 3,000 Troops, 50 Nokker Guardsman and 50 Ornithopters.

(Classified)Operation Hide and Seek- Compleate, initialising.

(Classified)Operation Unseen Trident- Compleate, initialising.

Arrakeen Produced Ornithopters (500)- Compleate.

WTF Repairs- 0% at 25% per turn. (Initialised with Ixian arrival, began now)

WTF Defense Modifications and additions- 50% at 25% per turn. (began with Ixian arrival)

Arrakeen produced Weapons- Small arms and long ranged, rocket artillery- 0% at 25% per turn.

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OOC: Dante, you must admit that Ektennera sounds more interesting that Ekaterina ;)

Replying to Atilian's question:

- Well, I want to discuss some strategic movements, like taking Tsimpo! It has a small garrisson, and it's an important strategic location. It hasn't been reinforced as Arsunt has. And Chartag? What do you know about Ekaterina's forces there? We should be on the move, before they cripple us. I also heard you have some problems up north. Tsimpo and/or Chartag could be important ressuply bases. I can take Tsimpo in a sweep-by but I'll need help in Chartag. Ekaterina's paying little attention to Tsimpo, but Chartag surely is one of her priorities. Now, get me in with Alexandr, or talk to him yourself. If we strike the first blow in the conflict with me commanding I'd like everyone to agree. Please see what you can do. We need to move.

Back at the Den and the sorrounding areas Carth's men were impatiantely waiting the order to move, being called-to arms for some time. They were like the arrow in a crossbow: ready to spring out with power.

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"Well Carth, We can see Aleksandr any time. I personally would like to make some offenses, the problem would be defense. We are having trouble keeping what assets we have protected. Adding two more responsibilitys would certainly leave us wide open for annihialation. However, with nearly 30,000 men in the Citizen army, we might be abled to easily take those locations and if it is done mainly by arrakeen men and woman, it would be more like liberations then attacks. In such a situation, we would definately gain the support of the peoples of the two citys. I say we do it." Carth nodded and said "well, such things need to be discussed with the Governer." Smiling, Atillian motioned for the smuggler to follow, and led him into the Governer's residence. As they walked through the corridors, guards nodded to the men. But Atillian did not notice this, he was observing the blast marks and stains from the battle that had occured here. The Damage had yet to of been fixed. Reaching Aleksandr's office, Atillian nodded to carth to continue inside and stepped into the room himself. Looking around at the massive piles of paperwork, the two men sat down to wait for the Harkonnen's return.

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Or at least he would have done, were he not at the starport at the moment... *Sigh* Looks like I'll have to post after all. Been trying not to recently, but it appears to be unavoidable.

Aleksandr paced nervously in the Arrakeen starport, chewing his lower lip. Aleron stood nearby, filling out various forms for the governor to sign later. He was in no state to hold a pen right now... Aleksandr started to chew his nails, and then snapped his hand back to his side. Without noticing, he started to chew on the nails of his other hand. Another aide hurried up to him, and bowed.

"Sir, the shuttle has landed." She reported breathlessly. The governor's mismatched eyes widened, and he ran his hands down the front of his clean outift for the eighteenth time. He ran a hand through his hair, and he turned to Aleron.

"How do I look?" He asked nervously. Aleron looked up from his paperwork, and raised an eyebrow.

"Like you've been trying too hard, sir." He muttered, and went back to work. The governor sighed.

'It'll have to do.' He thought, making his way toward the diplomatic gate. Due to her efforts with the Guild, the normally bustling starport was all but empty. He had no trouble reaching the gate in time, and hurried through to the landing plate beyond. Various guards and aides followed.

He reached the shuttle just as the door opened. A landing ramp extended from the body of the craft, hitting the ground just in front of him. He stepped back as two masked figures filled the doorway, marching down the ramp to take up position on the ground below. A rustling of robes, and a third figure filled the doorway. She started to descend immediately, her steps dignified, her posture rigid.

She was not beautiful, nor handsome, but her face was strangely attractive for all its lack of excess flesh. Indeed, the woman's bones were not difficult to see beneath her pale skin. Her cheekbones stood out almost painfully from the sunken hollows of her cheeks; her chin was long and sharp. She looked as if she might accidentally stab someone if she nodded her head too much, and then hang their body from her zygomatics. Not that her head was not carrying enough weight already. Her raven hair was piled up into an elaborate and complicated design, hung with soostontes and trailing a thin veil. Her clothes were almost plain in comparison, being a nondescript gown of grey-green with only a few jewels. As she reached the ground, the two masked guards stood to attention.

"Aleks." She said with a tiny smile, nodding ever so slightly as Aleksandr bowed low. "It has been too long, but at least you have an excuse for not visiting."

"Mother." Aleksandr looked up from his bow. "I am glad to see you again." He was vaguely surprised to find that he meant it. "How is my father?"

"Alive, much to my constant annoyance." His mother smirked slightly. "But this is not an official visit. You can see, I am here through my own expense." Aleksandr's eyes travelled to the side of the shuttle, where the crest of his mother's house, rather than his father's, glinted slightly in the sunlight. It was reassuring, in its way. Aleksandr smiled slightly, and offered his arm. His mother took it, and he led her away from the shuttle. The guards shuffled themselves around them, with the Harkonnen guards clearly uneasy with the presence of these masked men and women. Behind them, the staff from the shuttle slipped out and mingled with Aleksandr's following of aides and assistants.

Aleron looked up just as he was handing a document to the representative of a minor water merchant. The governor was leading his mother through the starport, to the waiting ornithopter beyond. He had been in such a hurry, he hadn't taken a groundcar. Aleron frowned, and got back to work. He would make his way back to the palace later. It wouldn't do to have him take his usual place with the governor, not with important company visiting. He wondered exactly why Grizelda had chosen to visit Arrakis.

'Certainly her timing is not coincidental... She and her house have a reputation for scheming, what could she be up to? Why would she visit Aleksandr and not Ekaterina? Why is this shown as a personal visit? Well that's obvious, she can't afford to be associated with House Moritani right now, so she uses the house of her birth instead. But Arrakis is not exactly the most pleasant of planets, she must have a purpose here...' He scowled, and scribbled a note in the margins of a a contract. Too many questions.

* * *

The face dancer Vail slipped silently through the wreckage of the water extractors in the Trebesian Facility. It was wearing the guise of an ordinary man, and had 'borrowed' a uniform from one of the many guards positioned about the remains of the main pumps. That man was hidden beneath several tonnes of scrap metal now. It would be a while before he was missed. Even longer until he was found. Vail slithered around a buckled girder, slipping into a cracked filtering chamber.

'If you want a job done right...' It thought to itself, running a hand down the line of filters and instruments. Vail tore out one of the filters, and slipped it into a pocket. A few deft steps, and the face dancer was watching the Ixians at their work. It contemplated strangling a few of them, but dismissed the idea as impractical. Instead, it wandered casually over to the crates, and stole some of the tools that would be required. Of course they probably had spares, but every little bit helped. Besides, Vail was rather interested in taking things apart right now... It walked back into the open, before making its way purposefully into the main body of the facility.

The fremen had hardly touched this part of the facility, and it was almost entirely intact. Various guards and Trebesian employees hurried back and forth through the corridors, and Vail saluted those that looked at it as though they were expecting the gesture. It followed the various maps (how useful!) on the walls to the door marked CONTROL ROOM. It opened the door.

Various technicians and workers looked up from their work. A single Nokkar stood in a corner. Vail stood to attention the way it had watched the Trebesian guards, and saluted.

"We've discovered another explosive device beneath this room. The order is to evacuate." It said in a deep, masculine voice.

There was no panic, no protestation. The men and women in the room calmly picked up what they thought was vital, and filed toward the door. Vail was surprised, and of course its face did not show. It walked over to the Nokkar, and saluted.

"I have been instructed to stay behind and ensure that any important data is preserved." It reported. The Nokkar nodded, and saluted back. He stepped around Vail, and ushered the technicians out of the door. Vail assumed that there must be some plan in place for just this emergency. It noticed that a single man had stayed behind, an elderly Trebesian with glasses. His badge marked him as the head technician of the facility.

"We have to get the data from last night into another bank." He said seriously, his voice quavering with age. "If that is preserved, we can rebuild this facility far quicker and also examine just how the traitors went about their work."

"Right you are." Vail nodded. "How can I help?"

"Well, I'm not sure if you can. No offence." The man stepped carefully over to a large console. He walked with the aid of a thin black cane. "I just need to back up the data on this console. Once I've done that, we can leave." He leaned his cane on a chair, and started to key in various commands.

"Very good." Vail nodded, walking over. It took a split second to examine the positioning, the variables... And then it struck. Moving in a blur of speed that only face dancers and Bene Gesserit could manage, it snatched the cane from the chair and brought it around sharply onto the back of the technician's neck. He folded immediately, with hardly a sigh. Vail checked the wound for blood. There was none.

Leving the body where it was for now, Vail examined the console. The technician had done all of the accessing work for him, which was good. Vail was an accomplished hacker, but it could sense that time was running out. Sooner or later the Nokkar would get a transmission, or the group would meet someone, and there would be questions. It copied the important data onto a small recordable device, and also took the liberty of downloading the Trebesian plans of the facility, detailing the various structural ammendments that they had made; and an up-to-date plan of the area. Having finished, it wiped the data from the console. Just for good measure, it tore the covering from the console and jammed the body of the technician inside, making sure to take his clothes first.

Vail slipped into the clothes of the scientist, making sure to transfer all of the contents of the guard uniform's pockets. It then stuffed the uniform into the console along with the technician. It contemplated setting the whole room on fire, but decided that this might impact negatively on chances of escape. Picking up the cane, Vail left the room.

It limped as fast as was practicable through the corridors of the facility, keep its eyes down and head bowed. People would be suspicious. Better look busy.

There was no need for maps this time. With the layout of the facility memorised, Vail had no difficulty in finding a small exit. This was guarded, of course, but nobody paid attention to a small, elderly man who muttered to himself. Vail hobbled along until it could hide behind a De-mek, before standing up straight and discarding the glasses. It examined the cane, and decided to keep it. It ws a nice cane, constructed from authentic wood. Vail looked up at the De-mek, and smirked. It darted away to the walls, and hid in shadows. The De-mek could probably still see it of course, but what was wrong with someone sneaking out of the base? Vail slipped along the wall. It searched the ground, and smiled. The cloak that the fremen had used to bring the face dancer inside was still here, hidden in plain view. Vail donned the sand-coloured cloak, and hurried further. Using speed and stealth, he made his way out of the base.

About a kilometre away, a group of fremen would be waiting with a stillsuit. They would then guide him to transport, which he could take back to Arsunt. Vail smirked smugly to itself, as the old technician's features melted away in favour of the face dancer's customary visage. Perhaps this would please his lady.

* * *

Ekaterina seethed. She sat on her throne in Arsunt, staring at nothing. He hands gripped the arm supports so strongly that they were beginning to leave an imprint. Her face was twisted into a sullen mask of fury. Several blood vessels had ruptured under the pressure, and three large red patches were spreading around her forehead and left cheek. Her lips were bleeding. Her teeth grated against each other audibly.

* * *

"No fear." Alonya Rabban refused, holding up a hand. "I refuse to go into that room. Not while she's like this."

"Someone has to." Alacia Vorbid shrugged.

"Well not me." Alonya stated flatly. "I've never seen her like this. Not even when Aleksandr got power."

"Even subconsciously, she knew that wasn't the end." Alacia sighed, leaning against a wall. She eyed the throne room doors, which until recently had vibrated with their owner's screams of rage. "But now... well she could have won. She thought she would have it all after this. Arrakeen, Arrakis, the Baron and the Emperor's favour. And now she's got nothing. All that effort spent for next to no reward."

"We did get seventy people..." Ranith muttered sulkily. She too leaned against a wall, nursing massive bruises to her head and neck. She had been standing nearby when her sister had recieved the news of the botched fremen attack. She glowered at Alacia's sneer.

"This plan was supposed to kill every single person in Arrakeen, including all of House Trebeis, the Ixians, and Aleksandr." She said. "Instead, seventy civilians died. That's almost worse than nothing. If those idiot fremen had just done what they were supposed to and released the unchanged 'water of life' into the works without causing a fuss, then all of the city could have been poisoned. They would have died horribly." She smiled for a moment at the thought of it, before her face grew stern again. "And all that is gone now. There will not be another chance for such an easy victory. Still, she will come around eventually. There are some things that can be salvaged from this mess."

"Such as?" Alonya asked.

"The attitudes." Alacia said simply. "There will now be great hostility to the fremen. There is little danger of them finding other allies. They are stuck with us now, for better or worse." She paused for a moment, thinking. "Yes..." Back in the throne room, something cracked.

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When Captain Raynor's men reach Tsimpo and when the guard hails him he replies that he is commander of the Atradies 2nd Battalion and wishes to ally with Aleksandr Harkonnen. The guard stared down at him gawping, then gives the order to close the gates and open fire.

20 men die before shields are activated.

"Fall back, fall back" he shouts realising that they won't be able to fight there way in.

After falling back, he regroups his men to assess the situation and try to work out why they were fired upon and if this is why Aleksander didn't reply. He knew he should never have trusted a Harkonnen animal.

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Carth waited in Arrakeen. And waited.

- Listen Atilian, in a war speed is of the essence. If we wait for things to happend we'll surely loose. Tell Alexandr I'll take Tsimpo for me, ok?

The Trebesian looked to the smuggler as this one was crazy:

- Are you just going to go? Just like that?

- We have WASTED too much time already. If I'll meet Alexandr on my way out, I'll notify him personnaly. If anything, you know how to contact me.

Time of arrival at the Den: 2 post

Time of setting in movement of the troops: 1 post

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"New orders from the top, sir." The technician handed a radio message to Tertiary Commander Ariss. The Commander glanced over the message, and raised an eyebrow. He leaned over to a transmission console, and flipped a few switches.

"This is Commander Ariss of the Tsimpo Legion." He announced sharply. "All units are to fall back. Orders are to abandon the walls and gates and retreat inside the barracks. Do not engage the enemy."

Around Tsimpo, the Harkonnen defences were abandoned. The troops quickly made their way back to the barracks, a series of well-defended buildings near the centre of the city. The barracks surrounded the control centre, where the Commander sat puzzling over his orders.

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"Sir the Harkonnens have abbandoned the walls and gates of Tsimpo!" said a sergeant saluting.

"Really? Hmm, lead a small scout party over the walls to investigate. Have your shields activated beore you go over. If it seems safe we will join you" Raynor replied.

Half an hour later the walls of Tsimpo have been taken by Atradies troops. Once this is done Raynor organises the men into groups of ten to patrol the city to hunt down the enemy. He personally leads one of the three patrols going close to what he believes to be the barracks.

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As the fremen slipped through one of the entrances to Tsimpo, they heard shouts coming from the walls. Ignoring them, they commandeered some of the abandoned buildings for housing. When this had been done, the fremen started to lay traps. At every entrance to every street, there was a warrior. This would take up about ten thousand of their troops. This was fine, since they had sixty thousand there already. The traps included shigawire at neck and knee height. Six hours later, all the traps had been laid. The fremen knew all the back routes, so they could avoid the traps.


Meanwhile, Atreides patrols have been searching for life. Nobody has come back to report. Yet.

Twenty fremen slipped round a corner. They were tracking an Atreides patrol. Then they notice that there has been a death. One man had cut his legs off, from the knee down. Silently, they slip around the corner, and open fire with their maula pistols. Chunks of flesh are the only things that remain.

* * *

An Atreides soldier walked up to the commander and started giving his report.

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