1. Chapter One
“It has been over five hundred years since the end of the Slayers of Dune. The events of that time are shrouded in a deep mystery. Whatever records or eye witness observations that were once available are gone now, lost in the Scattering. Whatever evidence of their activities that remained are made nearly impossible to examine firsthand because of the activities of the Honored Matres and the Bene Gesserit. So I work here in the shadows, in the fringes, to construct a history of Arrakis to understand why it has become a constant source of events that continue to resonate in the lives of trillions of humans years after the original actors have long left the stage. ”
Professor Abd El-Fattah, University of Richesese Archeology Department.
He was a man of medium height with dark skin and a tightly cropped goatee. He stood looking out of the observation window at the brown planet below. His eyes darted over the sand covered landscape taking in the majesty of the planet. His face showed no emotion but he was smiling on the inside. It had taken him over twenty years to make it here. This was the cumulation of his life’s work. The study of Arrakis was the focus of his entire academic career. Like every student at university he had studied the artifacts of Arrakis. He had studied fremen crysknifes and thumpers used to summoned sandworms. He had examined the blueprints of ancient highlighters used to navigate between the stars. He had even consumed a sample of spice under controlled conditions. His life changed one day when he came across information that shattered every preconceived notion he had about Arrakis.
He was an undergraduate student working in the university library on Richese. He was cataloging artifacts from IX when he came across a ancient image recorder. It held only a few megabytes of data and it’s battery had long ago turned to dust. He rigged up a power converter to view the images. He expected see nothing but family holograms. He sat in the dark flipping through bland images of family life when it came upon a singular image of a tall thin young man with dark skin and blue within blue eyes. He wore a black stilsuit which held at its center the Atreides family crest. The recorder popped and it’s circuitry degraded. All the information was destroyed yet that final image was burned into his brain. He was sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was a third Atreides emperor. This was nowhere in the official histories. The search for the third Atreides emperor consumed his academic career and caused him to become the laughing stock of his peers.
His study of Paul Maud ‘dib, House Atreides and Leto II hammered into him the peculiar nature of the planet. His studies of Arrakis history lead him to believe that the planet was the focus of extreme and transformative forces. His eyes caught sight of a shadow on sand. He checked the coordinates. The shadow was Mount Surayya.
“Another impossible thing on an impossible planet.” He muttered to himself. Less than a thousand years ago the topology of the planet had changed suddenly. A mountain had appeared out of nowhere. It was never listed on any map dating back to before the Atreides occupation then suddenly it was on every map of the planet starting about five hundred years ago. Mountains didn’t just show up out of nowhere. But that was trivial compared to an even greater mystery. Arrakis once had two moons. Now it had only one. The Bene Gesserit were of no help. They actively blocked him from studying Arrakis first hand until about a year ago. Then suddenly they gave him and his assistant full access to the planet. There was a great secret hidden here and he intended to find it.
His assistant walked up behind him. She was Fatimah Al Zahra. She was an undergraduate student that had transferred into the university only a few years ago. She had a pleasant face, a firm body and bright blond hair which was a rare trait because it was recessive. It should have bred out of her bloodline thousands of years ago. There were other things about her as well. One night he had been attacked by creatures he could only describe as products of the Bene Tleilax breeding tanks. They were horribly disfigured. They had sharp ridged brows and yellow eyes. His assistant had sprang to his rescue. She managed to kill the attackers armed only with a simple stick. Now she was his body guard as well. She should have died the night of that terrible attack. Yet here she was, his impossible girl. He had many questions about her and her mysterious past
“We’ll be on Arrakis soon.” She said as she walked up to stand beside him. He looked down at her. She looked up at him and grinned. Her bright smile always lifted his sprits. Professor Abd El-Fattah smiled back at his assistant then returned to his study of Arrakis. His whole life had driven him here. He would confront the mysteries of Dune and make them his own.
It took hours for them to make it to the surface of Arrakis. The ship that had brought them here remained in orbit. They took a shuttle down to the surface. For the last three hours they were kept waiting, along with their baggage, at the Bene Gesserit embassy. The Arrakis sun was nearly set when someone finally came to see them. Reverend Mother Basilah appeared suddenly through a set of large twin doors. A cloud of young females swarmed around her. They were acolytes training in the way of the Bene Gesserit. They stood before the professor and his assistant. They both stood for the Reverend Mother.