'I know.'

'Do the Proctors have you studying Caladan yet?'

'Yes. It's called Dan in my histories.'

'Labels, Miles. Names are interesting reminders but most people don't make other connections. Boring history, eh? Names - convenient pointers, useful mostly with your own kind?'

'Are you my kind?' It was a question that plagued him but not in those words until this instant.

'We are Atreides, you and I. Remember that when you return to your study of Caladan.'

When they went back through the orchards and across a pasture to the vantage knoll with its limb-framed view of Central, Teg saw the administrative complex and its barrier plantations with new sensitivity. He held this close as they went down the fenced lane to the arch into First Street.

'A living jewel,' Odrade called Central.

As they passed under it, he looked up at the street name burned into the entrance arch. Galach in an elegant script with flowing lines, Bene Gesserit decorative. All streets and buildings were labeled in that same cursive.

Looking around him at Central, the dancing fountain in the square ahead of them, the elegant details, he sensed a depth of human experience. The Bene Gesserit had made this place supportive in ways he did not quite fathom. Things picked up in studies and orchard excursions, simple things and complex, came to new focus. It was a latent Mentat response but he did not know this, only sensing that his unfailing memory had shifted some relationships and reorganized them. He stopped suddenly and looked back the way they had come - the orchard out there framed in the arch of the covered street. It was all related. Central's effluent produced methane and fertilizer. (He had toured the plant with a Proctor.) Methane ran pumps and powered some of the refrigeration.

'What are you looking at, Miles?'

He did not know how to answer. But he remembered an autumn afternoon when Odrade had taken him over Central in a 'thopter to tell him about these relationships and give him 'the overview.' Only words then but now the words had meaning.

'As near to a closed ecological circle as we can create,' Odrade had said in the 'thopter. 'Weather Control's orbiters monitor it and order the flow lines.'

'Why are you standing there looking at the orchard, Miles?' Her voice was full of imperatives against which he had no defenses.

'In the ornithopter, you said it was beautiful but dangerous.'

They had taken only one 'thopter trip together. She caught the reference immediately. 'The ecological circle.'

He turned and looked up at her, waiting.

'Enclosed,' she said. 'How tempting it is to raise high walls and keep out change. Rot here in our own self- satisfied comfort.'

Her words filled him with disquiet. He felt he had heard them before... some other place with a different woman holding his hand.

'Enclosures of any kind are a fertile breeding ground for hatred of outsiders,' she said. 'That produces a bitter harvest.'

Not exactly the same words but the same lesson.

He walked slowly beside Odrade, his hand sweaty in hers.

'Why are you so silent, Miles?'

'You're farmers,' he said. 'That's really what you Bene Gesserit do. '

She saw immediately what had happened, Mentat training coming out in him without his knowing. Best not explore that yet. 'We are concerned about everything that grows, Miles. It was perceptive of you to see this.'

As they parted, she to return to her tower, he to his quarters in the school section, Odrade said: ' I will tell your Proctors to place more emphasis on subtle uses of power.'

He misunderstood. 'I'm already training with lasguns. They say I'm very good.'

'So I've heard. But there are weapons you cannot hold in your hands. You can only hold them in your mind.'

Rules build up fortifications behind which small minds create satrapies. A perilous state of affairs in the best of times, disastrous during crises.

- Bene Gesserit Coda

Stygian blackness in Great Honored Matre's sleeping chamber. Logno, a Grand Dame and senior aide to the High One, entered from the unlighted hallway as she had been summoned to do and, seeing darkness, shuddered. These consultations with no illumination terrified her and she knew Great Honored Matre took pleasure from that. It could not be the only reason for darkness, though. Was Great Honored Matre fearful of attack? Several High Ones had been deposed in bed. No... not just that, although it might bear on the choice of setting.

Grunts and moans in the darkness.

Some Honored Matres snickered and said Great Honored Matre dared bed a Futar. Logno thought it possible. This Great Honored Matre dared many things. Had she not salvaged some of The Weapons from the disaster of the Scattering? Futars, though? The Sisters knew Futars could not be bonded by sex. At least not by sex with humans. That might be the way the Enemies of Many Faces did it, though. Who knew?

There was a furry smell in the bedchamber. Logno closed the door behind her and waited. Great Honored Matre did not like to be interrupted in whatever she did there within shielding blackness. But she permits me to call her Dama.

Another moan, then: 'Sit on the floor, Logno. Yes, there by the door. '

Does she really see me or only guess?

Logno did not have the courage to test it. Poison. I'll get her that way someday. She's cautious but she can be distracted. Although her Sisters might sneer at it, poison was an accepted tool of succession... provided the successor possessed further ways to maintain ascendancy.

'Logno, those Ixians you spoke with today. What do they say of The Weapon?'

'They do not understand its function, Dama. I did not tell them what it was.'

'Of course not.'

'Will you suggest again that Weapon and Charge be united?'

'Are you sneering at me, Logno?'

'Dama! I would never do such a thing.'

'I hope not. '

Silence. Logno understood that they both considered the same problem. Only three hundred units of The Weapon survived the disaster. Each could be used only once, provided the Council (which held the Charge) agreed to arm them. Great Honored Matre, controlling The Weapon itself, had only half of that awful power. Weapon without Charge was merely a small black tube that could be held in the hand. With its Charge, it cut a brief swath of bloodless death across the arc of its limited range.

'The Ones of Many Faces,' Great Honored Matre muttered.

Logno nodded to the darkness where that muttering originated.

Perhaps she can see me. I do not know what else she salvaged or what the Ixians may have provided her.

And the Ones of Many Faces, curse them through eternity, had caused the disaster. Them and their Futars! The ease with which all but that handful of The Weapon had been confiscated! Awesome powers. We must arm ourselves well before we return to that battle. Dama is right.

'That planet - Buzzell,' Great Honored Matre said. 'Are you sure it's not defended?'

'We detect no defenses. Smugglers say it is not defended.'

'But it is so rich in Soostones!'

'Here in the Old Empire, people seldom dare attack the witches.'

'I do not believe there are only a handful of them on that planet! It's a trap of some kind.'

'That is always possible, Dama.'

I do not trust smugglers, Logno. Bond a few more of them and test this thing of Buzzell again. The witches

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