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Dante

The God Emperor's Dune

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Thousands of rounds echoned out through the night the dead were hitting the imperial city their numbers in the hundreds of thousands, most troops had already fled to the moutain shelters but their were still 10's of thousands in the city were rushing to the trains and to safty.

6,000 troops volunteered to stay and hold them off. Bolt action projectile rifiles seemed to be effective in dispatching them. Las guns worked will but their were to few to give to a sucide mission, The cities walls continued to hold but the creatures begain stacking piling on each other crawling towards the lip of the wall.

Rockets laced down from the moutains in the distance green and red trails and the crackling red shattering of gun fire near by 30,000 troops had been trapped by a rock slide and were fighting for their lives.

This was being repeated on a dozen other continents huamnity being forced into moutain or underwater sanctuary having to give up land holdings one by one.

"Sir the city is about to fall." Micheal said his hands sweaty and filled with frustation

"The city can not fall we have 90,000 imperial citizens and enough resources to hold out up here for years or however long the landsrrad takes to send aid."

"We dont have enough soilders only 6,000 against hundreds of thousands."

"Well then send the Jan Ceri, Send every last one of our dammed elite troops all 30,000 of them. We hold the city, do you hear me? we are holding Vol'um and we are never letting go! This ends here!" He slammed his fist on the table the room shook with force.

"The Relife force sent to aid them got cut off in a land slide, we are trying to clear a path for them with artilery and ornithopters but its just not enough."

"Why am I sourounded by fools? Drop them eqipment to climb the moutain, pick them up with orni's tell them to dig whatever get them to the top of that hill and use the trails to get to the city, once they are their and the jan ceri activate the shield."

"But sir that will trap everyone inside."

"Do it anyway it will keep the things out."

"Yes sir."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fleet:17 Frigates 455 fighters 2 bombers, 3 Ixian crusiers, 1 EMP crusier, two crusiers

Resources

27,300 Metel+9,100 Asteriod harvesting a Turn

91,000 Mineral+21,000 Asteroid Harvesting a Turn

215,000 Solaris+15,000 Per Turn KYA prime GNP

Constructing EMP Crusier Complete

Cost 45,000 Solaris

Constructing 5 Frigates Complete

20,000 Solaris

Constructing 450 Fighters Complete

22,000 Solaris

Constructing 2 Destroyers Complete

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Lisa Cobras gazed outside of the newly built Cobras Citadel on Alpha Beta. The primary city on Alpha Beta, Cobras City, would grow around the citadel like an old medieval city. Lisa Cobras smiled and looked at the quickly growing realm around her. Her life was good...

Suddenly she doubled over and fell on the ground. The baby inside of her was kicking hard. She was going into labor.


The medical technicians buzzed around Lisa like bees around a bee hive. She would have killed one of them if they had gotten close enough. The pain was unbearable. How was it that a single child could do this to her? It was unthinkable.

After eighteen hours of hard labor she felt her child slip out of her womb...and yet it felt like there was another in there. She felt that one come out followed by yet another child. After that she fainted from the pain and exhaustion.

When she came to she looked down and saw three baby girls on her chest. She smiled and the medical crew relaxed. She had given birth to triplets and they would grow up to be true rulers in the Imperium. The rulers of House Cobras. She smiled and then slipped back into a deep sleep.


Basher Henderson sat in the one-seat fighter he had custom built for himself and he laughed. He had stayed long enough to see the triplets born. He had known there would be more than one daughter in Lisa. He had thought that there would be two and so he planned for two.

But not three.

Three threw a wrench into his plans. A huge wrench. Henderson would have to rethink everything. Two of those daughters were under his control but the third was not. He had to do something.

He was still thinking when the ship docked with the Machine Planet and he stepped out. He walked the corridors up to the Central Core. He walked into the emmense middle room of the Central Core and deactivated his cloaking field.

Basher Henderson was replaced by a Thinking Machine robot. A robot that had male reproductive organs. A robot that could control twins it had created. Erasmus smiled. This experiment would go nicely.

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Reverend Mother Osla was stressed. For a change, she looked it as well. The Higher tiers of the Ixian city were successfully blocked off, but she could find no clue as to the wherabouts of Prince Leto Ghobey. She had scoured the levels twice already, asking everyone she came across. Everything pointed to one thing... he was below.

Bashar Ilban stood silently at the top of a shattered flight of stairs. Every so often he blasted a few dozen of the hundreds of thousands of pressing infected suboids. He was glad that he had sent out the young Prince, if this wasn't a test of his skill, his judgement... what was?

Prince Leto Ghobey perched on the top of a semi-constructed Heighliner, surrounded by 'clean' suboids. He had indeed wished to help the 'war' effort, and it wasn't like J'invey or Osla had allowed him to aid them in their own plans.

Below him, shifting in their thousands, were the infected suboids and Ixian civilians. They were too stupid to climb, thankfully. But then again it wasn't like most clinically dead people could get up and walk again. Leto had his hands full just staying up here.

The Heighliner production had of course stopped with the infection of Ix. Despite efforts to quarrentine the starport and then the city, it had spread. Now the entire planet was overrun. The technological centre of the Imperium had ground to a halt.

But Leto knew he couldn't stay here forever. He was already planning his first, suicidal strike. But it would be the most important one of all...

Message to the Imperium;

The Sisterhood must now take a more active part in the running of the Imperium. As a means to that end; we shall aid any who ask in any way we can; provided that we do not suffer large casualties of non-military personel.

BG.

Message to Cobras:

To start this new diplomatic face well, we wish to make a presence on the Cobras new homeplanet, to congratulate the Duchess and provide gifts for the children.

[hide] Also, we need to warn you. You will doubtless have noticed the Imprium-wide contamination. So far only three factons are clear. Yourself, the Sisterhood, and the Sarmizegetusans. The Sardauakar are making no indication. You must cease trade with all infected groups in the Imperium in order to preserve yourselves.

Also we would wish to give the children the best possible education. As they are all female, full Bene Gesserit training is open to all, or perhaps only one or two, depending on the choice of the mother. If this is not to be prefered, an education system in mentat training among others is also open, the Prince Leto Ghobey is currently going though the program.

We should also like to make a query. Who will be the children's godparents?

With greatest respect and congratulations,

Mother Superior Myra. [/hide]

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To the Bene Gesserit:

[hide]A Bene Gesserit presence upon Alpha Beta would be much appreciated. As for the Imperium contamination, we stopped all trade to all factions the moment the first report came out. I will be sending my youngest daughter, Lydia, to stduy with you as soon as she is old enough. I would like her to recieve the best education that she can.

Respectfully yours,

Arch-Duchess Lisa

[/hide]

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The Sarmizegetusan fleet retreated from the Machine Planet using their hyperspace jump engines: all the smaller craft crowded around the two Dreadnaughts as they opened the gates. As they left, onboard the flagship 'Sarmizegetusa' the radar indicated that an Imperial ship was heading for the planet. efore the radar could indetify it, the fleet jumped.

The casualties were about expected, nothing worrying. The blow on the machines seemed to be quite powerful, unfortunately only now the Lord thought that he could have annoyed the 'bee hive'.

When the fleet reached the homeplanet Lord Burebista heard of the 'walking dead' across the Imperium.

"The whole solar system will enter quarantine. Double the patrols around the planets and around the system, every citizen shall undergo medical examination once a month."

The same day the Sarmizegetusan Science Univerity received the order to produce battle suits so the soldier wouldn't be infected. The scientists concieved such a prototype in one week (looks like the Marine in StarCraft). Also, they had to create weapons that fitted on such suits, resulting in huge war-axes or huge calymores. In another week the production like was up and going and the first contingets will go to aid Arrakeen and House Kya.

Also, research started to create a hybrid weapon in between the laser guns and the old projectile weapons. Something like a laser flack cannon.

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Arrakeen was boiling over with the undead. They were coming out of every hole and even out of the woodwork. The situation was getting worse every second. It seemed like Empress Jennifer Ghobey would be stuck in the top levels of her palace forever.

Suddenly a loud sonic boom was heard and Jennifer Ghobey looked up. It was a Hot Drop-class transport bearing the markings of House Cobras. As it flew over the palace the bottom hatches opened up and four heavy squads of Pythons in battle armor were deployed around the palace.

The minute they were deployed all 120 men and women opened fire on the teeming masses of undead zombies. Their minguns sliced through the crowds like a hot knife through soft butter. The zombies never stood a chance. They fell in droves.

The palace was cleared out of zombies in just under four hours of heavy fighting. After that a Cobras construction team in construction suits (like battle armor but without the weapons) came in and started to construct a huge wall around the palace. Each work crew had three Pythons guarding it while it worked. And so, after a week of heavy fighting the wall was finished and miniguns were placed at even intervals to protect the palace.

The Pythons fought like the elite soldiers they were, fighting for every inch of space. They fought and they died. Whenever the armor was breached an explosion took place that destroyed the zombies surrounding the armor and the armor bearer itself. For every few thousand destroyed by the Pythons a Python fell to the zombie hordes. After three weeks of heavy fighting there were only ten Pythons left and they retreated back to the placae to guard the Empress. As they retreated past the fifty-foot high wall the spiked gates closed and the zombies were kept out.

The Pythons then radioed to the Heighliner to go back to tAlpha Beta and get reinforcments for the Pythons and the Empress palace. As soon as Arrakis was secured Junction would be next, followed by Ix and the KYA system. No matter how dastardly the Machines fought the Humans were better.

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The Jan Ceri and the 30,000 troops made it the city walls, soon after the shield was activated and everyone was trapped inside safe. Or so they thought. The wakers moved at such a slow rate that they could mearly slip throught the shield. After this was found out the shield was shut down, and brutal fighting resumed as did the evacuations.

Aid is despretly needed by KYA prime, our fleet is strong but can do nothing in orbit.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fleet:17 Frigates 455 fighters 2 bombers, 3 Ixian crusiers, 1 EMP crusier, two crusiers

Resources

36,400 Metel+9,100 Asteriod harvesting a Turn

112,000 Mineral+21,000 Asteroid Harvesting a Turn

215,000 Solaris+15,000 Per Turn KYA prime GNP

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Jennifer Ghobey sat on her throne and gave orders. She had been doing so for some time now; over thirty hours. Non-stop. She contacted the other cities on Arrakis, scoured Arukeen for remaining infections, ensured that the spice flowed as best it could and handled what diplomatic enigmas that she could. She was exhausted, but serving the Imperium as well as she was able.

Prince Leto Ghobey crawled along the greasy pipe on the wall. His face was blackened, his fingernails torn, his hair unkempt and matted with blood. He was grinning fiercely.

Below him, infected suboids groaned and hissed as they mindlessly tracked his progress along the pipe. Leto ignored them, he had seen enough already.

His first strike from the Heighliner had been a disaster. He had aimed straight for the barracks, assuming that all of the city's best men would be there, ready to fight. It seemed that his teachers had other plans however. When the small army of surviving suboids, led my Leto, had broken into the barracks, they had found nothing. Not even rations. The entire military complex had been evacuated to the higher levels. Casualties had been heavy. So heavy in fact, that Leto hadn't ordered another attack since. All of his energies had been poured into defence for the past few weeks. Until now.

Reaching his goal, Leto twisted around into a sitting position. From his belt, he removed a simple screwdriver. He used this to pry a pressure gauge from the pipe, and then forced it into the resulting hole. With a few minutes of effort the pipe had several holes punctured into it. He repeated the process with the slightly smaller red pipe on his left, and then the thickly insulated blue one.

When he was finally finished, Leto pulled sharply on the string attached to his ankle. At the other end, suboids noted the signal, and pushed all the buttons he had told them to press.

The three pipes that supplied running water to the Guild embassy (now abandoned) in the form of frigid, room temperature and scorching, were activated for the first time since the infection.

Of course water couldn't do much damage, but when served at high pressure and velocity...

Leto just leapt out of the way in time (onto another pipe) when the heavily-insulated blue pipe started spraying semi-iced water. The pressure being too much, it ruptured; causing both of the other two weakened pipes to do so as well. The pressurised water spurted out, smashing skulls against the walls and throwing back the infected.

Leto sprinted along the higher pipe, watching the water flush away his foes. Nearly there...

With the walking corpses cleared away, Leto ran for the silver door. Using a quick code pass, he rushed inside and slammed it shut. Lights flickered on, revealing row upon row of training meks. Leto just hoped that his suboid 'army' had gained enough time to get to the prediscussed safehouses. He walked up to the nearest mek, set it to the most extreme setting ('only recommended for the suicidal') and set the target to 'suboid.' Letting it go on it's murderous way, he moved on to the next. He had an entire hall of the things to activate.

Lillian of the Bene Gesserit stepped off her shuttle and into the Cobras spaceport. By order of the Empress a personal presence should be known here; by order of Mother Superior Myra there must be a Bene Gesserit presence. Lillian was happy enough to represent both factions, she just wished that someone else could have done it. Every moment she spend away from her project was agony. What if something went wrong? It would take years to correct. Years that she did not have. She sighed and put on the most charming face she could, it was time to be diplomatic.

She walked through the pressing masses. She had deliberately pretended to be late so that she could avoid the pomp and ceremony. She wanted to give the Arch-Duchess enough time to prepare though, and so she sent a runner ahead.

She was just leaving the starport, and beginning to get the usual stares that a woman of her physical appearance attracted, when she heard a commotion behind her. Turning around, and ushering her escorts into the shadows, she spotted the armour of the personal bodyguard of the Cobras family.

Instantly Lillian figured that the Bashar had returned. After all his wife and their children were in no condition to be moved. She hung back, wanting to watch how he conducted himself when he believed he was not before an audience.

He was smiling, he was charming. He was... wrong. Lillian looked again. His movements were correct, his appearence fine... But he was cold. Lillian could sense no body heat from him. His outside was warm, certainly, but there was no inside heat. Nor was there a smell.

Lillian moved in slightly closer, watching the Bashar as he made his way along the city street, greeting old ladies and patting babies on the head while his guards looked stonily in front of them.

Her mind already at it's conclusion, Lillian desperately searched for proof that she was wrong. There was none. No smell, no heat, and there it was. Just on the edge of hearing, a tiny buzzing of electricity.

Thinking machine! Lillian slipped into an allyway and climbed the nearest drainpipe like a spider. She sprinted across the roof and leapt onto the next, making a beeline for the palace.

As the Bashar reached the gates to the Cobras palace, the Arch-Duchess was reclinging in her private chambers. She rarely relaxed, and this was one time when she intended to rest completely before greeting her husband. A rustle alerted her to another presence. Instantly she was upright and clutching a maula pistol.

"Arch-Duchess Lisa," A red-dressed woman stepped out from behind a pillar, "I am Lillian, represending Empress Jennifer Ghobey and the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. I have bad news."

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As Arch-Duchess Lisa Cobras listened to Lillian of the Bene Gesserit the weight on her shoulders seemed to multiply a thousand fold. Her husband, the father of her daughters, was a thinking machine! She stood up and gave an order she thought she would never give.

"Place Basher Christopher Henderson under arrest!"


As Henderson was brought into the throne room in chains he saw Lisa sitting on her throne with an angry glare on her face. He stopped walking on knelt in front of the throne. The Flared Cobra that made the back of the throne seemed to glare at him. Next to the throne was a mysterious woman dressed in a red dress. He had just enough time to register that it was Lillian of the Bene Gesserit when a Python guard came up to him and smashed his face with the butt of his rifle. Nothing happened to the Basher's face.

Lisa sat there in awe. It was true. He really was a thinking machine. She had prepared for this though.

A guard walked through the throne room door carrying a small box. He set the box down next to the "Basher" and walked away. Everybody inched away from it and suddenly a loud shrilling noise was heard and the box opened. Inside was a small device shaped like a cobra's head. The "mouth" opened and a whie flash enveloped the room. When the light dissapated Henderson was replaced by a Thinking Machine. The machine looked up and its flow-metal face smiled.

"You pathetic humans. You don't know anything do you! It was I who orchestrated the fall of Joshua Cobras! It was I who orchestrated the fall of the CObras Citadel. It was I who orchestrated the destruction of the Alpha System. It was I who-"

The Arch-Duchess cut him off.

"It was you who lied to the entirety of my realm! You who almost got in the perfect position to destroy me! You who shall be the one destroyed and you who shall be sent back to the machines with a gift from us."


The Machine planet detected an incoming object but couldnt stop it in time. The object impacted the Planet and stopped about five miles beow the surface. It was then that the Cobras secret anti-machine weapon was revealed. The object detonated and the effect was catastrophic.

A huge plume of fire blew out the side of the planet. That side was then disconnected but it was too late. The fire spread, destroying everything in its path. But the fire wasnt an actual fire.

It was a computer virus commanding the robots to shoot anything they saw.

By the time the virus was destroyed over half the robot planet was totalled.

percent of Thinking Machine Planet destroyed: 62%

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"An interesting device..." Mother Superior Myra mused. "Although one has to wonder why it even exists, since machine technology of that level is supposed to be banned by the Great Convention..."

The Cobras system was in uproar. Most citizens believed their Arch-Duchess; and were horrified at how close they had come to destruction. Some refused to believe her, and insisted that the Bashar had become too politically ambitious, and had to be removed. Still more wished hoplessly for the return of Joshua Cobras; and a tiny splinter group was adamant that the Arch-Duchess was really in league with the machines, and that this was all reverse psychology, don't you know.

One thing that most of them agreed on though, was that the trouble started with the red-dressed woman.

She had hardly left the Arch-Duchess' side. She never talked, examined everything and everyone, and was rumoured among the superstitious to visit the royal children at night to suck their blood.

Lillian scoffed at this. Or at least she would have if she had seen the point in even acknowledging it. She was an Imperial guest, true. But she was also Bene Gesserit, and as such had a duty to the Sisterhood. She was to watch and learn.

Late into the night she discussed politics with the Arch-Duchess. They talked of the impact of the Plague, and naturally of the machines. Oddly, they seemed to have little in the way of foldspace technology.

And they talked of the royal heirs.

"Fathered by a machine, you realise." Lillian reminded the Arch-Duchess. "Though that shouldn't make any difference to their behaviour or personalities, as biological methods were used; politically it is a disaster. What people would accept a ruler fathered by a thinking machine?"

The meks swept through the city, cutting down every suboid they found. The uninfected suboids had been directed to holes dug into the sides of the cavern, away from the mek's inbuilt maps, they should be safe.

As the meks began to clear up the stragglers the upper tiers opened, and scores of the Ixian military poured out into the channels that served as streets. First this city, but Prince Leto already had his eye on the next, and the next...

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The Arch-Duchess starred at her feet for awhile. Then she finally spoke.

"Not all the children were fathered by the Thinking Machine. Lydia was not. She was an...accident in more ways than one." Suddenly Lisa started speaking faster and faster. "I didn't know it would happen. The process wasn't even supposed to work yet!"

Lillian listened to what Lisa had to say and her mouth dropped. The Bene Gesserit messed with genetics true but not like this!

"Lydia is...manufactured?!"

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"You haven't been working with the Tleilaxu have you?" Lillian pondered the possibilities. If she had then here was a danger to the family. If she hadn't... the Cobras were getting ahead of themselves.

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The Sarmizegetusan Armored Corps were now ready for intervention, therfore they have been send to KYE, whene they started the extermination of the zombies.

The soldiers' huge war-axes and two-handed swords sliced through the undead flesh. The enemy could do nothing as their claws and arms could do nothing against the steel armour.

The gatling-laser project failed... but the idea boosted the morale of the scientists that created a modern version of the old projectile weapons. A huge six-barrelled gatling gun and some kind of a flak-gun were presented to the Lord as prototypes. The two weapons were ideal against the zombies, and the military though they would be good enough against the machines too.

The first Regiment with these new weapons was send into action on Junction.

OOC(The Guild, or whoever owns that planet has to tell what happened. ;) )

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Lisa shook her head.

"No we'd never associate with those creeps. No, Lydia is the product of a technique we discovered from Old Earth. We mixed together my genes with other genes for intelligence, memorey, strength and beauty. In essence we createde the perfect child but not like the Tleliaxu. Lydia was still an egg. We reimplanted the egg in me for fertilization at a later date but we had, in messing with it, already fertilized the egg. Lydia was growing in me when the other two were concieved. Look, Lillian, House Cobras is already in troubled water for the whole Thinking Machine fiasco, I don't want anymore trouble for my House. All I want is for Lydia to be taken in by the Bene Gesserit, taught all you can teach her without divulging your secrets and then I can set her on the Cobra throne."

Lillian nodded, that was reasonable. But the new information about Lydia was strange. WWhy would they modify an egg and implant it in the Arch-Duchess unless....

"Are you barren Lisa?"

"I was before Henderson. That was why Lydia was manufactured...speaking on that subject...could you take Elizabeth and Maryia and have them examined for anything strange?"

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"What like? A machine cannot concieve therefore it is logical that the machine in question was... attached to a biological means. If that is so then there should have been no way to alter them." Lillian looked at the pained expression on the Arch-Duchess' face for a moment. "But, if it will set your mind at rest, I will examine your daughters once they are old enough."

"How old is 'old enough,' in this case?" Lisa asked.

"Four or five years old at the earliest." Lillian replied, "a more practical date would be near their fourteenth birthday. Lydia of course, would be examined every day of her education."

"And this education. Not to pry, but what form will it take?" Lisa shuffled uncomfortably in her chair.

"She will remain here in the palace." Lillian started, "Her training will be broad at first, and then narrowed down as she grows older. However I must remind you that no matter what form it takes the program does instill a respect for the sisterhood. Your daughter's loyalties are unlikely to be unaffected."

"But what will she learn?" The Arch-Duchess pressed.

"A full training in politics and manipulation of the people." Lillian stated bluntly. "Limited training in mentat thinking, body control, mind control, mind defence, and the Voice; full training in detection, espionage and combat. A productive program, as you can see."

Junction accepts the troops readily to clear up the remains. When the Navigators realised what was happening they had themselves moved into sealed chambers where they survived on their space gas, spice pills and spice whatever else. The citizens of Junction, the other employees and failed navigators, were exterminated via a planet-wide hidden lasgun program that blasted them to shreds. Only a few ramain to be cleared up, and the troops are more than efficient at this.

With Arrakis now free, the Empress Jennifer Ghobey tries to resume ordinary control of the Imperium. She has a lot of work to do.

Meanwhile, on Ix. The startport and two major cities are now free. The meks activate more meks, which in turn activate more. Some innocent suboids are accidently killed of course, but it's all worth it to free the planet. In two posts Ix will be clean.

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As the Python containing transports returned to Alpha Beta they were met with great celebration. Following the Henderson/Thinking Machine affair the people needed heroes to look up to. They needed a symbol of strength eminating from House Cobras and the recent Python victory on Arrakis was a great rallying symbol for the people.

Lisa looked out of the window at the descending transports before turning back to Lillian.

"The reason I want Lydia to be Bene Gesserit educated is two-fold. One, it will help her greatly when she becomes the Arch-Duchess. Second, I want to formulate a bond between the Bene Gesserit and House Cobras. I know that you have the Sardaukar Gholas as your soldiers but if you ever have need of any military action do not hesitate to turn to House Cobras. The Sisterhood has helped my House through thick and thin. You helped me during the Cobras Civil War, when the Alpha star went supernova and just now with detecting the Thinking Machine within our midsts. I want the Sisterhood to know that House Cobras is there for anything they wish, be it military, political or even finacial aid. House Cobras shall always be there to help the Bene Gesserit out.

I thank you for this time to sit down and talk and I hope we do so again some time soon but now I must go and oversee the status of House Cobras."

The Arch-Duchess walked out of the room, down the corridor and into a small suspensor lift. Once there she touched the keypad and the lift descended into the Sub-Sub Basement. Once there she proceeded to walk down another long corridor to a door at the very end flanked by two huge Python guards in Heavy Battle armor. She walked through the door and into a huge room filled with people, computer displays and huge holographic projections.

"I want a status report on our military forces on the main screen now!"

On the main video screen a list started appearing:

1 COBRAS-CLASS HEAVY BATTLECRUISER

3 RATTLESNAKE-CLASS HEAVY CRUISERS

7 ANDACONDA-CLASS MEDIUM CRUSIERS

13 SERPENT-CLASS HEAVY ASSUALT FRIGATES

49 SNAKE-CLASS ASSUALT FRIGATES

4 FANG-CLASS ASSUALT CARRIERS

27,952 DIAMONDBACK-CLASS FIGHTERS

18 SUPERIOR-CLASS STRIKE CANNONS

150 HOT DROP-CLASS TRANSPORTS

200 HOOD-CLASS DROPSHIPS

12,000 PYTHON ELITE SOLDIERS

340,000 COBRA DRAFT SOLDIERS

12,000 PYTHON-CLASS HEAVY ASSUALT BATTLE ARMOR SUITS

STATUS REPORT ENDS...

Lisa smiled. Good. Very good. Her House was not exactly among the strongest Great Houses but it was nothing to mock either. The Thinking Machines would think twice before coming after her House again.

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A black shuttle slipped from the bowls of the Heighliner, and glided gently through the parched atmosphere of Arrakis. It passed over the carnage and cleaning up that was Arukeen, over the city starport, and settled on the Imperial palace's own roof.

As the door hissed open (pnumatics were great for instilling a sense of awe), two Sardaukar gholas rolled out to either side and stood at arms in guardian positions. They were followed by two women; one blonde and dressed in red, the other dark and dressed in blue. The former made her way over to the company awaiting them, and bowed low. The latter waited at the shuttle door for the last member of the group, the pilot in fact.

A young man stepped from the darkened interior. He was maybe twenty or twenty one years old. Mother Superior Myra, the woman in blue, took him by the hand and led him down the steps to the honour guard from the palace.

When they moved to either side of him, she left him and joined Lillian behind, flanked by the Sardaukar gholas. A nervous little man scurried ahead of the company to the already-opened great doors. The smell inside was sickly sweet, like sugery rose water.

'So the smell of the dead was that bad...' Lillian thought to herself, as she followed Myra's 'son' through the halls of the palace.

Meanwhile, up above, another Heighliner appeared above the skies of Arrakis. Unscheduled, the Navigator proclaimed his presence in all the usual ways... but this was not usual. Already a shuttle was leaving it's carrier to hurtle down towards Arukeen. It passed through the outer atmosphere, the inner atmosphere, over the city and made a beeline for the palace.

"Presenting to her Majesty Empress Jennifer Ghobey, Arch-Duke Darius Ghobey!" The little man had a surprisingly loud voice.

The shuttle landed, and at once the door was forced open. A lone man leapt out and dashed into the palace, flashing an aged pass at the bemused guards.

The reunion of the Empress and her adopted father was unemotional in front of the court, but the looks on both of their faces promised a long, long conversation behind the curtains later. They went through all the proper formalities for family and a visiting dignitary, but although he played his part brilliantly; everyone present could tell that her heart wasn't in it.

The cloaked man dashed along the corridors, showing his pass wherever necessary and drawing quite a curious following from the guards as he ran.

As he burst into the great hall, the guards moved in, the Empress was shielded, and the Arch-Duke shouted "Hold!"

"I thought you were on Ix." Lillian walked up to the cloaked man and stood by his side. He pulled his hood back.

"Miss the return of Darius? You haven't been paying much attention to me." J'invey replied with a slight smile, before he turned to his rightful Lord. A tiny whisper reached Lillian's ear;

"You 'grew' him. Has he been... 'altered' in any way?"

"He has his original memories. Only altered to make him less succeptable to heart attacks." Lillian whispered back with a grim smile on her face. "I made sure of it."

"It's about time the three of you were together again." Jennifer smiled from her throne, the lines on her face showing as she did so. She had aged fast.

"This session is ended!" She shouted suddenly, "I will see no more today!" Without waiting for an escort, she stood up and left the throne, beckoning for the three to follow her behind the curtains.

[Written with permission from Inoculator9]

> Sardaukar message to the Imperium;

Great House Sardaukar is facing multiple machine attacks on all fronts. Our planets are all but besieged, this is why we have not taken part in recent events. We are fighting our war, slowly, and we do not ask for any assistance! Any potential aid sent, whether military or no, shall be treated as an insult and rebuffed as such. We will win our own wars. Do not expect us to aid you in yours, we are busy.

Sardaukar out. <

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The young man stepped into the sound booth. It was now the time for him to make his grand speech. The time that he had been waiting for ever since that bitch Lisa and the Bene Gesserit Witches outsted his father from power and killed him.

He began speaking:

"People of the Beta system, I am Jacob Cobras. I am the son of the great Duke Joshua Cobras. Years ago my aunt killed my father and stole the throne that is rightfully mine! I shall have none of this! The Cobra Throne is mine and mine alone!

Many say my aunt has been a good leader but I disagree! She created a civil war that almost destroyed our House. She was the reason that the Alpha system was destroyed. She consorted with the Thinking Machines!

I ask now for loyal volunteers to assist me in laying siege to Alpha Beta, killing my aunt and restoring the people's champion to his rightful throne!"


Days later...

Within days of that speech the planets of Beta Delta, Beta Gamma and Beta Epsilon joined Jacob Cobras in fighting against his aunt, the Arch-Duchess Lisa.


This civil war is meant to involve the whole Imperium. You may ally yourself with and trade with one side ONLY! The question is now who shall you support?

Arch-Duchess LIsa Cobras, the head of House Cobras.

Or shall it be Jacob Cobras, the young upstart attempting to reclaim his father's throne.

Who shall it be?

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Bene Gesserit acolyte Freja dashed down the corridors of the Cobras palace. She had been ordered here by Lillian herself. To teach, examine, and guard the royal children. Already she could hear the sirens. Certainly the people here lost no time in war.

Dashing into the nursery, she scooped up two of the children, placing one of them in her baby-carrier on her back, and then hurried across to the third, carrying her in the other arm.

As she dashed down the corridors, she noticed the lack of guards. And then the first stoneburner went off. The ground rocked, and Freja stumbled but she ran on. Her duty was more than clear.

She rushed up the stairs, up another flight, and then up the servent's stairs and onto the roof, where a black shuttle squatted on the stone. Freja dashed for the door, and once it was closed behind her, placed the children safely into the specially-designed seats.

As it lifted off, the shuttle was targeted by lazy lasgun-fire. But each party knew that black was the Bene Gesserit, and assumed that the witches were fleeing at once. As the shuttle acsended into the upper atmosphere, more stoneburners were detonated.

Message to Lisa Cobras:

Your children have been removed from Alpha Beta and taken to a safe place by the Bene Gesserit. No harm shall come to them, and their training shall proceed as planned.

BG.

Message to Imperium:

At the return of my father; it is clear to me that my rightful duty lies elsewhere, away from the throne. At this time I, Empress Jennifer Ghobey, abdicate in favour of Arch-Duke Darius Ghobey, may he lead the Imperium to prosperity and peace.

Message ends.

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After some fighting the Junction was clean of undeads. Those creatures couldn't mes with the Armour and weapons of the Sarmizegetusan Troopers. It seems that with this intervention of the machines the type of warfare in the Empire has changed for ever.

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(OOC: I'm back and ready for combat. I'll be taking Darius, as per IM agreement with Dustie.)

Darius stands on the throneroom dais in the Imperial Palace on Arrakeen. At his right hand is his adopted daughter from another life, Jennifer Ghobey. Down a few steps stands J'invy, trusted mentat and servant, and Lillian, Bene Gesserit helper assigned to House Ghobey in it's time of need.

But one seat remains empty. It is purple and gold, small, and decorated with a DNA double-helix. It is the seat of Leto Vernius-Ghobey, rightful heir to the Imperial Throne.

"Recent reports state the outlook on Ix to be improving. Prince Leto should be ready for transport at any time," says J'invy, "I suggest immediate air-lift."

"Agreed, make it so," says Darius.

"Lord, before you...died, there was talk of an upcoming Landsraad meeting," says Jennifer, "I was too busy to arrange it personally, but now..."

"But now we have the time, a time between storms, as it were. Yes, call representatives from all Major Houses, including Lisa Cobras of House Cobras."

"Concerning House Cobras, sir..." starts J'invy.

"Assemble a massive attack force for the destruction and capture of this upstart, Jacob. Use of atomics, including stoneburners is prohibited, and must be dealt with."

"Sire, another project you began before your death, was one concerning Thinking Machine technology. The first part of the research was completed during the time before the Machine offensive on KYA Prime," says Jennifer, "However, in the midst of the turmoil, many of the prototypes were destroyed, and further research halted. Now with Ix nearly free, prototypes can be rebuilt, research reinitialized, and..."

"...And we can begin a potentially successful campaign against Thinking Machine forces. Good deal," Darius almost dismisses the advisory board, but stops himself and asks, "In the midst of this...Zombie Invasion, as it were, how did Tiera Tertiary fare?"

Lillian rattles off a string of statistics, and explains, "Twenty percent total population destroyed, one million military units destroyed. Utilizing the full armor technology lent to us by the House Cobras, House Ghobey Army Elite forces managed to destroy most of the undead invaders before spread of the illness. Of those remaining and infected, House scientists were able to capture and are studying several specimens."

"And the Houses Tiernan, Harkonnen and D'aganon? How did they fare?"

"Because of thier Minor House status, they had less infected cargo to worry about. GHAE (Ghobey House Army Elite) took care of it."

"Good, I want those specimens sent to Tieros for the Tiernan House scientists. I want to know how this illness was created and if it can be controlled. Millions of potential soldiers that feel niether pain, hunger, thirst or human emotions is not something to throw away. Questions or comments? No? Meeting ajourned."

Landsraad Meeting in process.

Imperial Fleet to reach Cobras planets in 3 posts.

Rebuilding of Anti-Machine Prototypes: 3 posts.

(OOC: Ok, this is how the Landsraad works: Bring up any points you wish to argue. If you are looking to nominate a House to a said position, go ahead and nominate a House or faction with that post. In my next post, I'll set up the topics for vote. I'll also set up the voting abilities for all factions, considering your size, allies, and prosperity.)

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650 ornithhopters loaded with dumb bombs flew towards the last of the zombies on Shitza island, They flew at 10,000 feet their naplam like bombs liting the jungle island on fire the un dead were engulfed in flame and KYA prime was finaly free of the creatures...But oh the cost

over 5 million pounds of explosives were used against the creatures 80% of KYA prime looks like nothing but bomb craters and shallow pools of contaminated water, the 2 billion remaning KYA had been living off rations and the few farms in the moutanins rejoin of the north continent. KYA prime was a dead world.

There for in a plee to help his pepople Godfather Rodrigues makes a despret plee to the landsrrad.

"We The People of KYA prime have sufferd greatly under the machines, our fleet was destoyed at the battle of Arrakis against the machines but in the process we saved the world, Our forces helped the imperials at the battle of Ix. And in the process against the last fight against the machine KYA prime itself has fallen its people are scatterd refuges who are in despret need of a new home. And becouse of our actions. I Godfather Rodrigues ask the Emperor and the Landsrrad for a feifdom and great house status.

Fleet:17 Frigates 455 fighters 2 bombers, 3 Ixian crusiers, 1 EMP crusier, two crusiers

Resources

42,600 Metel+9,100 Asteriod harvesting a Turn

133,000 Mineral+21,000 Asteroid Harvesting a Turn

215,000 Solaris+15,000 Per Turn KYA prime GNP

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"House Cobras was forced to move by a machine threat." Mother Superior Myra, now back on her homeworld, murmurs. "Yet Rodrigues destroyed his own planet, even if it was to combat a plague. Can we really trust a people so rash with Great House status?" She ran through a list of Rodrigues' most recent actions.

"I don't think we can. But nonetheless, there are civilians on that planet that should be saved. I have a suggestion."

To Rodrigues and Imperium;

The planet Holnuck, now under Bene Gesserit supervision, is now able to stand on itself. But with the complete destruction of House Holnuck, they have no leaders. We offer Holnuck to Rodrigues under the condition that the citizens of the planet recieve absolutely equal treatment to their own. The world is primarily agricultural, but there is plenty of space still free. Also this planet has a sizable economy due to BG aid. It will support you through the move but not long afterwards.

Is our offer acceptable?

Bene Gesserit.

Message to Lisa Cobras;

Ordinarily we send you financial aid, but in this case perhaps that would be unwise. Our military has been depleted slightly, but is still standing. We would like to make a gift of six hundred Sardaukar gholas to you, but in this case we are unable. We wish to trade. For a temporary stay of one hundred of your troops, or twenty Pythons on our homeworld for collection of genetic material, we shall give you seven hundred sardaukar gholas, without original memories but fully trained. Do we have a deal?

BG.

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An Imperial fleet winks into existance over the Cobras world, Alpha Beta, and the communications link flashes as a relay is sent to Lisa Cobras' command center.

"Arch-Duchess, I am Sub-Bashar Gerin of the Imperial Vernius-Ghobey SpaceFleet," says a man just old enough to warrant such a high rank, "We were sent by the Emperor himself to help guard against the upstart Jacob Cobras. Your orders, mi'lady?"

The fleet, a fraction of the complete Imperial forces, contains:

5 Dreadnoughts

10 Heavy Cruisers

15 Cruisers

25 Light Cruisers

35 Frigates

100 Fighters/Bombers/Minelayers

Meanwhile, to the assembled Lords, Chairperson Yang starts the Landsraad session with a list of matters for voting.

1. The Thinking Machines - "What means shall we undertake to destroy this threat?"

2. The Fiefdom of Arrakis - "Should the Imperial House Vernius retain control of Arrakis? Or should another House take its place?"

3. The Splitting of House Cobras - "Who should be recognized and assisted in this matter? Lisa or Jacob?

4. The Holnuck System - "Should Holnuck be restored to Imperial hands, remain in Bene Gesserit care, or given to Minor House KYA (or another House)?"

5. Imperial Expansion - "The Universe is huge, and our known Empire only a small section, should we attempt to grow?"

6. Minor House KYA - "Should KYA be given Major House status at this time?"

"At this time, does anyone else have any topics to add to this list?"

Voting in the Landsraad (OOC: Correct me if you have a better idea):

Imperial Vernius-Ghobey: 20 votes

Major House Sarzegetusa: 6 votes

Major House (Lisa) Cobras: 4 votes

Major House (Jacob) Cobras: 2 votes

Major House Ordos: 5 votes

Major House Gabrell: 5 votes

Major House Quentin: 3 votes

Major House Teg: 3 votes

Houses influenced by the Sardaukar: 2, 8 total votes

Houses infuenced by the Bene Gesserit: 4, 16 total votes

Major Houses Makarios, Huahin and Mentis: Unrepresented (No votes)

(OOC: If you are a Major House in this game, and I have either ignored you, or made you "Unrepresented" and you want your voice heard, please let me know. Houses Ordos, Gabrell, Quentin and Teg are random, I will roll a die or something for how they vote. Minor Houses are given no vote.)

For the topics listed, Imperial Vernius-Ghobey votes:

1. Added research to sentient technology, and random attacks for diversionary purposes.

2. Vernius-Ghobey retains holds on Arrakis for a temporary time table, until the next Landsraad meeting.

3. Lisa Cobras should be assisted against upstart Jacob Cobras. Jacob should be attacked, defeated, and captured for crimes during war.

4. Holnuck system should be given to Minor House KYA for rebuilding and growth.

5. Imperial expansion goals at 2 planets minimal colonized by Major Houses in the next 5 SY.

6. Minor House KYA should retain its Minor house status for another 5 SY minimal.

(OOC: Add topics, nominations, and votes!)

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The representitives from each of the House Cobrases glare at each other as they cast their descisions.

House Cobras (Lisa) Votes:

1: Continued scouting of the Thinking Machines and several diversionary atacks should be made.

2: We agree that the Imperial Throne should maintain control over Arrakis.

3: Arch-Duchess Lisa Cobras should be supported as she is the rightful ruler of House Cobras.

4: Holnuck should go to House KYA for reconstruction but at a cost seeing as how their planet was destroyed of their own initiative.

5: Imperial Colonization should only be allowed with express Imperial permission and guidance.

6: House KYA should retain its House Minor status for a little while longer.

House Cobras (Jacob) Votes:

1: Total destruction of the Thinking Machines at earliest convience.

2: Arrakis should be fought over or bargained for.

3: Jacob Cobras is the rightful ruler!

4: Holnuck should belong to House KYA or, if Jacob loses, to be held as a refuge in case he neds to flee.

5: The Imperium should be expanded and each Major House should be given permission for a set number of planets allowed for colonization.

6: House KYA should be allowed a House Major status.


Lisa Cobras's message to the Bene Gesserit:

[hide]100 Pythons accompany this message.[/hide]


occ: ill wait till everyone chooses a house and/or sends forces and then ill write a huge long civil war battles post

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