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Dante

The God Emperor's Dune

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The mining preparations on Tiera Secondary continue with the geatest of ease.

"Almost too much ease," comments the Arch-Duke nervously.

One day the cutters on the uninhabiatable planet find a hollow area beneath the surface.

"This area appears huge!! Hurry, we can cut the mining time down by hundreds of hours!"

The cutter crew moves on down, and after a short time, the place is broken through.

Suddenly, a great explosion rocks the entire excavation point. Another shakes the planet.

Tiera Secondary is destroyed, and the asteroids fall like missiles onto Tiera Tertiary's surface.

In an attempt to stop the barrage, the Arch-Duke orders the House Atomics be used. The result is devastating.

In three months (posts, following this), the planet Tiera Tertiary will be destroyed and House Ghobey lost.

The Arch-Duke Ghobey, Lillian of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, and J'invy of the Mentat Order are all crowded into the Arch-Duke's office. Outside stands all that remains of House Ghobey's once great fighting force-- One legion.

The Arch-Duke dials up the inter-space communication protocol, and sends a message to all of known space.

"...Please help us."

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The five hieghliners filled with billions of Ixian military perssonel, ships, fighters, bombers and every conceivable war weapon.

"Tell the Navigators Arrakis." The Earl spoke snickering.

"M'lord a message, from House Ghobey!" The voice message came up.

"Thirty seconds until launch to Arrakis M'lord." Spoke one of the personel.

"Cancel that request, send us to House Ghobey, NOW! ARM THE WEAPONS!" The sirens went off and the hieghliners blasted above House Ghobeys main Home Planet. The fleet decended onto the planet to aid the survivors.

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The entire palace shakes as the communications blips with a reply.

"This is Earl Leto of Ix. Prepare for rescue."

"Ix?" asks the Arch-Duke in disbelief.

"It seems they care more for our alliance than previously thought," says J'invy.

"Call down House troopers," says Darius to the nearest Bashar, "Our redemption draweth nigh."

"Sir," says a Levenbrech, speaking to the Ixian Burseg, "the asteroids appear to be hitting invisible space satillites, knocking them out and causing them to explode."

"No-ships?"

The Arch-Duke bursts into the room with a grin on his face, "The only light on this day of darkness...My thanks, Burseg."

"Indeed, my lord." The Burseg bows.

"And now for your rewards...Something the God Emperor himself did not know about."

The Arch-Duke walks over to a panel and starts flipping switches. Outside the Heighliner, about a dozen huge no-ships appear.

"Most of them have spice stockpiles, a few are House Atomics and weaponry for if we went renegade."

The Burseg's eyes gleam with greed, "My lord!"

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Lord Burebista heard about the tragedy that hit House Ghobey. The Ixians have helped them. That was good. But he also found out about strange Ixian military highliners.

Message to the Ixians:

[hide] I hope that House Vernius will preserve peace until the summit is over. Do not risk to make us your enemies. Neither side will benefit. Wait one week, and attend the summit. [/hide]

In the meantime, House Sarmizegetusa's troops kept traning, soon to prove a force to be reckon with.

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Lillian eyes the readout's from the Arch-Duke's screens. She had suspected as much, but had certainly been unable to find proof of any kind. Still, the Ixians seemed to have the matter well in hand, and her own message to the sisterhood stood seemingly unnecessary. She stood as close to the Arch-Duke as possible; not only acting as one of many guards, but garnering infomation and ensuring her own survival.

The Bene Gesserit shuttle arrives at the summit, but only the Mother Superior and an acolyte disembark. The others, whoever they are, remain on board.

Since the Emperor himself will be missing for a while, and the conferance is on hold; keep the rescue attempt as the primary plot for now.

Secret message to Ix;

[hide] We request immediate transport of containment units for organisms of unknown nature to our homeworld. This message may be intercepted so we will not reveal what they are... only that the Mother Superior herself has a special interest in these, and that the Face Dancers are... helping. [/hide]

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Lord Burebista's Security ervice has intercepted a Bene Gesserit Message leaving Apulum. Unfortunately they don't know to whom this message was adressed to.

The Lord thought to play a little practical joke on the Bene Gesserit. He sent them a message that he knew that would be surely intercepted:

[hide] Is the Bene Gesserit trying to move a stolen Sand Worm? [/hide]

"That will surely give them something to think about..."

In the mean time the House's guests were accomodated as well as possible.

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Reply to Burebista;

[hide] No, actually. In perfect and honest truth, we are not. [/hide]

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- Before this is turning into a guessing contest I'll end it. Let's just say, we believe you.

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Culratha smiled on the surface of the second, of two planets given to him by the Ixians. The industries of the two planets now geared towards military production, great battleships now rose from the two planets' surfaces at an alarming rate. The Sardaukar War Machine would crush all those who opposed it.

Culratha had not concerned himself the upcoming conference, although he would attend.

Though Culratha was not a vengeful man, he did have many plans now. If the Emperor could not satisfy him and his now numerous allies. Arrakis would burn.

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Message to The Sardaukar:

[hide]

I hope that our friendship will last through these days of violence. I hope that you will attand the Conference, because diplomacy is the answer, not war. [/hide]

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Message to Lord Burebista:

[hide]Though diplomacy is often the solution to many difficulties, it can serve as a cover for greater plans and can bring laxity where readiness is needed. I will attend, and do as I see fit. Few struggles within the Empire have been solved at conference table, the more common means is the battlefield.[/hide]

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"Ohh this is going to set us back months." The Earl muttered curses under his breath as two flagships were being dismantled and their metals to be used in the reconstruction of the planet. The soldiers were handing out food, supplies, shelter and most of all, a sense of reassurance. A child wearing the remenise of clothes smiled a large, carefree smile at one of the soldiers who handed her some food. The Earl smiled. Ah, this was worth it aftr all, I've been to caught up on politics for my own good. I haven't even seen the real side of helping these people. A hand on his shoulder got his attention. Turning around the Earl saw it was one of the female heirs to the Allied House. (I'll change this if your leader doesn't have a daughter).

"I know this was not your orginal attention Leto, but yet again we cannot thank you more." A smile came across her face.

Sighing he turned around again to face his soldiers who were still tending to the population. She came upside him and looked out.

"I'm quite aware of that, but I just don't.." He cut off and sighed.

"Oh please Leto, you can lead a crusade later on." Her smile turned to a grim face as she turned to look at him. Suddenly feeling insulted he let his rage out.

"I'm not leading a damn crusade! What would you about Imperial politics anyways? I got attacked, and as a Earl I shall react!"

"With war Leto? With WAR? Look around you! I saw the look of joy when that child got food, and I saw it get deep withen you! Leto your caught up in political conflict, your no war leader, your as peaceful as my people, can't you see that?"

Leto's voice was as faint as a trickle. "A genuine chip off the old block." He turned to face her, she had a face which showed she obviously had no clue what he was talking about..

"I've become my father" a slight smile came across his face, though not from joy..

Clenching his fist in the air he spoke with more power then ever before.

"No longer, House Vernius shall flurish once more!"

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(OOC: Well...Arch-Duke Darius doesn't have any heirs. There's Lillian, but she's a...person, from the BG Sisterhood. Hrmm...He does need an heir though. I'll work something out.)

The Arch-Duke walks up to the Earl of House Vernius and offers his hand in the Imperial handshake.

"Many, many thanks for your assistance," the Arch-Duke sighs, "Your assistance has saved our lives, and, perhaps, our future."

Later that night, the Arch-Duke lies in his bed, alone, and shivering. "Our planet, countless millions dead..."

The door swishes as another enters the room.

Darius rises slowly, to see Lillian, the BG representative.

"What...?" he whispers.

"Nothing, my leige," Lillian sits on the edge of his bed, "Let me comfort you tonight."

(OOC: DustScout, you, of course, control Lillian. If you wish to make an heir for Darius, many profits are possible...)

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The Earl only smiled but briefly.

"Yes well, we are allies, and alliances require assitence on both parts, regardless..." He trailed off once more.

"Anyways, I have sent a large portion of the fleet home, they will drop off most weapons supplies and replace them with the needed."

He turned to face the leader with a harsh face. "Only you and myself know of your use of atomics, and I shall overlook it. But be aware, if must not happen again."

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The Arch-Duke lies back, sighing.

"I can't afford to let people get close to me Lillian, now more than ever." He thinks ruefully of the maula pistol, never far away.

Lillian sat facing him at the end of the bed, crossing her legs.

"Material comforts would be welcome to you I know, but they would perhaps cause moreproblems than they would solve. For now, I think you need comfort in your mind." She wriggles slightly to get more comfortable. "House Vernius has helped you a great deal, and my sisterhood has become a close ally. For the Bene Gesserit. You need some way to connect it all, some method by which to achieve formal alliance.

Now in the old times, this would have been carried out via marrige."

"There are no heirs on either side." Darius reminded her, sitting up slightly to see her better. "Now the only things we have to offer each other are trade goods."

"There are other ways, Arch-Duke." Lillian surprised by using Darius' official title. "If not a wife, why not the more open position of sister, or daughter?"

(OCC, I'll be back to finish this soon, but right now I'm in school and the bell just rang...)

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Continuation:

"Sister? Meaning what exactly?" Darius frowned slightly.

"Adopting a Bene Gesserit into the family leaves marrige open to both parties instead of neither, and it formally allies the two parties." Lillian explained. "If I, or one of my sisters were to become your sister or adopted daughter, we could marry into house Vernius, for example. Thus allying all three parties. Of course this is merely a suggestion. You are of course the Arch-Duke Darius, it is your decision."

The use of the first name and the title together sounded strange... it brought up rare connotations. Like what? Darius lay back, his mind racing. Lillian sat silently at the end of the bed, waiting as she knew he would want her to do.

Eventually, she got up again, and walked around to the headboard. She sat next to the Arch-Duke, massaging his strained muscles as he thought furiously.

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The Lord sat on the balcony of his ancient palace. The night was young, and the moon had just started to climb the star-filled sky.

"i'm lonely" he thought.

"BULLSHIT! I don't have time for this! I must focus on the conference, this is the only chance to save this fragile peace." he said to himself.

A guard walked by, saluting the Lord, then continuing on his way.

"Yes, I am lonely, but would someone in my life strengthen me or weaken me? If I'll have a family, I'll have to see to them as well, I'll have to protect them and well, have a more normal and tranquile life. On the other hand, without someone by my side I'll become a machine. What shall I choose? Anyway, I don't love any of the women "available" from my House. Agh! For now I'll focus on what I have to do. When I'll have time I shall take care of my life as well"

House Sarmizegetusa started to colonize a planet in the same solar system. This planet was 'Frost' type, thus meaning it was covered by ice. The resources were nevertheless appalling. On Apulum, the industry was developing quickly to process the whole range of raw materials provided by their planet.

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"Only you and myself know of your use of atomics, and I shall overlook it.

(OOC: Umm...I didn't use atomics. The only atomics I introduced were those in the no-ships...stockpiled for the event of House Ghobey's going renegade. The explosion on Tiera Secondary had nothing to do with atomics.)

The Arch-Duke leaned back, allowing Lillian's hands to work down his ribs. "This plan sounds most promising. An heir, trained by the Bene Gesserit, to introduce an alliance-- a binding alliance, between Ghobey and Vernius."

Lillian says nothing, allowing her leige to think in peace as her hands worked magic on his body.

"Lillian. You would know best the arrangement of such a situation. I leave it in your hands."

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Culratha gazed past the void as his flagship, leading a fresh fleet of a dozen heavy battleships, just off the assembly line of the newset Sardaukar holing, passed by the planet's largest moon.

From behind Culratha, the resident mentat, drafted into military service from the planet's general population.

"Burseg, sir, we are approaching the testing range. Squadrons two and three are moving across Telora Minor's atmosphere awaiting our current fleet's results."

"How many ships, total have been produced and how many are yet to be tested?"

"As you know, our current fleet contains twelve vessels, with the other cruiser squadrons nubmered similarly so, with a fourth squadron entering preliminary construction."

"Estimate time of completion?"

"Estimated time of completion is one week, add or subtract 12 hours."

"Superb." The production facilities of these new planets had outdone themselves, having most of the ordered craft finished before his arrival. "These ships will accompany me to the upcoming peace talks. As, security."

Culratha grinned as near a hundred lazguns opened fire on the resident asteroids.

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Only four days after sending the message back to the sisterhood, Lillian recieved a reply. The woman who delivered it was not unusually tall, and of ordinary build. She did not wear the usual Bene Gesserit black, but was dressed as a member of a Great House, although there were no telltale signs or symbols linking her to any House in particular.

"Your name is Jennifer." Lillian stated, the woman nodded. She was barely ninteen!

"You have undergone basic training as a mentat, all combat training, and... the other options."

Again, the woman nodded, but this time she broke into a sunny smile as she replied, "All sexual matters, I can perform adequately."

'An expert...' Lillian noted mentally. She had also seen behind the smile. Behind the rosy, cheerful face was a determined and loyal personality, backed by a mind like a razor. This one would do well in politics.

"Her name is Jennifer." Lillian stated. "She has been trained in much the same way as I have, although her mentat skills are somewhat superior and she is younger than most."

"You have already made plans for her?" Darius asked softly.

"I should not leave your side, as a marrige would require me to do." Lillian replied, "Jennifer, I suggest, could be adopted into your family as a daughter. Marrige with another house would then unite all three parties."

"There are risks, though." The Arch-Duke frowned slightly, "This person in the cntre of the tripod would become a target for anyone trying to seperate the three."

"That is unavoidable. Marrige alone will not work wonders, but it formlises everything, and allows a closer alliance to be constructed. Besides, all three of these factions are formidable. Who would risk the wrath of them all?" The question was rhetorical, and they both knew it.

"When shall I meet her?" Darius asked.

"I have arranged a public presentation for tomorrow afternoon." Lillian winked, "After that a private meeting, to which you personally decide the attendees. Should you want more time, that is of course not a problem; but if you decide to veto the adoption I recommend doing it quickly. She will not appreciate being asked to wait."

"Importantly though..." Darius said, "Will she prove to be a good match for another house?"

"The Ixians?" Lillian smiled, "I think they'll get on fine."

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House Sarmizegetusa started a programme to produce their own atomic arsenal. This would give the House a sense of equality with the rest of the aristocracy.

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The adoption ceremony was a beautiful, and well attended affair.

I wonder if I'm an walking into this situation... thinks Arch-Duke Darius as he moves toward the beautiful yound woman set as his adoptive daughter, ...Or if I'm being led.

In the audience sat almost all of the Tiera Tertiary survivors, and a goodly number of Ixian spectators; including the Earl himself on a raised seat.

As Darius neared closer to the young lady, his hand went into a fold in his tunic. What he removed from the hidden pocket was shaded beneath his palm.

"Greetings, Jennifer of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood," he said, presenting his empty hand to take hers.

"Greetings Arch-Duke Darius of Ghobey," she says, in a ceremonially low pitched voice.

"Do you swear loyalty to House Ghobey, and its rightful leader, the Arch-Duke Darius?" asks Darius, knowing the answer she would give could be true or false...And only her superiors would know the difference.

Jennifer falls to her knees and places her hand into the Arch-Duke's, "I do so pledge, my liege."

Darius nods. It is done, he thinks. "Then rise, Jennifer of House Ghobey, daughter and heir."

As Jennifer rises, the Arch-Duke extends his other hand, placing it against the right quadrant of her chest...where no Family crest was shown. He then removes his hand to show the symbol of House Ghobey; a stylized dagger in red and black colors.

The audience rises in applause, and the pair leave the stage.

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"Congratulations Arch-Duke." Lillian clapped quietly behind the red curtain, watching as Darius and Jennifer left the stage together. Now it was time for the private meeting, and the Arch-Duke had not yet made it clear who was to be involved.

Lillian expected the mentat ro attent, possibly an Ixian representative, although perhaps not. She herself was a random card, her attendance was an option.

(OCC; Lord J: Jennifer is Ghobey now, and thus you control her actions etc. Also, she'll need an official title. ;) )

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The nuclear prohramme went well underway, as well as the colony that expanded steadily. The Industry developed as well, though under the burden of the Imperial taxes.

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