Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

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Tibana was an apologist for Socratic Christianity, probably a native of IV Anbus who lived between the eight and ninth centuries before Corrino, likely in the second reign of Dalamak. Of his writings, only a portion survives from which this fragment is taken: “The hearts of all men dwell in the same wilderness.” -from The Dunebuk of Irulan

“You are Bijaz,” the ghola said, entering the small chamber where the dwarf was held under guard. “I am called Hayt.” A strong contingent of the household guard had come in with the ghola to take over the evening watch. Sand carried by the sunset wind had stung their cheeks while they crossed the outer yard, made them blink and hurry. They could be heard in the passage outside now exchanging the banter and ritual of their tasks. “You are not Hayt,” the dwarf said. “You are Duncan Idaho. I was there when they put your dead flesh into the tank and I was there when they removed it, alive and ready for training.” The ghola swallowed in a throat suddenly dry. The bright glowglobes of the chamber lost their yellowness in the room’s green hangings. The light showed beads of perspiration on the dwarf’s forehead. Bijaz seemed a creature of odd integrity, as though the purpose fashioned into him by the Tleilaxu were projected out through his skin. There was power beneath the dwarf’s mask of cowardice and frivolity. “Muad’dib has charged me to question you to determine what it is the Tleilaxu intend you to do here,” Hayt said. “Tleilaxu, Tleilaxu,” the dwarf sang. “I am the Tleilaxu, you dolt! For that matter, so are you.” Hayt stared at the dwarf. Bijaz radiated a charismatic alertness that made the observer think of ancient idols. “You hear that guard outside?” Hayt asked. “If I gave them the order, they’d strangle you.” “Hai! Hai!” Bijaz cried. “What a callous lout you’ve become. And you said you came seeking truth.” Hayt found he didn’t like the look of secret repose beneath the dwarf’s expression. “Perhaps I only seek the future,” he said. “Well spoken,” Bijaz said. “Now we know each other. When two thieves meet they need no introduction.” “So we’re thieves,” Hayt said. “What do we steal?” “Not thieves, but dice,” Bijaz said. “And you came here to read my spots. I, in turn, read yours. And lo! You have two faces!” “Did you really see me go into the Tleilaxu tanks?” Hayt asked, fighting an odd reluctance to ask that question. “Did I not say it?” Bijaz demanded. The dwarf bounced to his feet. “We had a terrific struggle with you. The flesh did not want to come back.” Hayt felt suddenly that he existed in a dream controlled by some other mind, and that he might momentarily forget this to become lost in the convolutions of that mind. Bijaz tipped his head slyly to one side, walked all around the ghola, staring up at him. “Excitement kindles old patterns in you,” Bijaz said. “You are the pursuer who doesn’t want to find what he pursues.” “You’re a weapon aimed at Muad’dib,” Hayt said, swiveling to follow the dwarf. “What is it you’re to do?” “Nothing!” Bijaz said, stopping. “I give you a common answer to a common question.” “Then you were aimed at Alia,” Hayt said. “Is she your target?” “They call her Hawt, the Fish Monster, on the out-worlds,” Bijaz said. “How is it I hear your blood boiling when you speak of her?” “So they call her Hawt,” the ghola said, studying Bijaz for any clue to his purpose. The dwarf made such odd responses. “She is the virgin-harlot,” Bijaz said. “She is vulgar, witty, knowledgeable to a depth that terrifies, cruel when she is most kind, unthinking while she thinks, and when she seeks to build she is as destructive as a coriolis storm.” “So you came here to speak out against Alia,” Hayt said. “Against her?” Bijaz sank to a cushion against the wall. “I came here to be captured by the magnetism of her physical beauty.” He grinned, a saurian expression in the big-featured face. “To attack Alia is to attack her brother,” Hayt said. “That is so clear it is difficult to see,” Bijaz said. “In truth, Emperor and sister are one person back to back, one being half male and half female.” “That is a thing we’ve heard said by the Fremen of the deep desert,” Hayt said. “And those are the ones who’ve revived the blood sacrifice to Shai-hulud. How is it you repeat their nonsense?” “You dare say nonsense?” Bijaz demanded. “You, who are both man and mask? Ahh, but the dice cannot read their own spots. I forget this. And you are doubly confused because you serve the Atreides double-being. Your senses are not as close to the answer as your mind is.” “Do you preach that false ritual about Muad’dib to your guards?” Hayt asked, his voice low. He felt his mind being tangled by the dwarf’s words. “They preach to me!” Bijaz said. “And they pray. Why should they not? All of us should pray. Do we not live in the shadow of the most dangerous creation the universe has ever seen?” “Dangerous creation . . .” “Their own mother refuses to live on the same planet with them!” “Why don’t you answer me straight out?” Hayt demanded. “You know we have other ways of questioning you. We’ll get our answers . . . one way or another.” “But I have answered you! Have I not said the myth is real? Am I the wind that carries death in its belly? No! I am words! Such words as the lightning which strikes from the sand in a dark sky. I have said: ‘Blow out the lamp! Day is here!’ And you keep saying: ‘Give me a lamp so I can find the day.’ ” “You play a dangerous game with me,” Hayt said. “Did you think I could not understand these Zensunni ideas? You leave tracks as clear as those of a bird in mud.” Bijaz began to giggle. “Why do you laugh?” Hayt demanded. “Because I have teeth and wish I had not,” Bijaz managed between giggles. “Having no teeth, I could not gnash them.” “And now I know your target,” Hayt said. “You were aimed at me.” “And I’ve hit it right on!” Bijaz said. “You made such a big target, how could I miss?” He nodded as though to himself. “Now I will sing to you.” He began to hum, a keening, whining monotonous theme, repeated over and over. Hayt stiffened, experiencing odd pains that played up and down his spine. He stared at the face of the dwarf, seeing youthful eyes in an old face. The eyes were the center of a network of knobby white lines which ran to the hollows below his temples. Such a large head! Every feature focused on the pursed-up mouth from which that monotonous noise issued. The sound made Hayt think of ancient rituals, folk memories, old words and customs, half-forgotten meanings in lost mutterings. Something vital was happening here — a bloody play of ideas across Time. Elder ideas lay tangled in the dwarfs singing. It was like a blazing light in the distance, coming nearer and nearer, illuminating life across a span of centuries. “What are you doing to me?” Hayt gasped. “You are the instrument I was taught to play,” Bijaz said. “I am playing you. Let me tell you the names of the other traitors among the Naibs. They are Bikouros and Cahueit. There is Djedida, who was secretary to Korba. There is Abumojandis, the aide to Bannerjee. Even now, one of them could be sinking a blade into your Muad’dib.” Hayt shook his head from side to side. He found it too difficult to talk. “We are like brothers,” Bijaz said, interrupting his monotonous hum once more. “We grew in the same tank: I first and then you.” Hayt’s metal eyes inflicted him with a sudden burning pain. Flickering red haze surrounded everything he saw. He felt he had been cut away from every immediate sense except the pain, and he experienced his surroundings through a thin separation like windblown gauze. All had become accident, the chance involvement of inanimate matter. His own will was no more than a subtle, shifting thing. It lived without breath and was intelligible only as an inward illumination. With a clarity born of desperation, he broke through the gauze curtain with the lonely sense of sight. His attention focused like a blazing light under Bijaz. Hayt felt that his eyes cut through layers of the dwarf, seeing the little man as a hired intellect, and beneath that, a creature imprisoned by hungers and cravings which lay huddled in the eyes — layer after layer, until finally, there was only an entity-aspect being manipulated by symbols. “We are upon a battleground,” Bijaz said. “You may speak of it.” His voice freed by the command, Hayt said: “You cannot force me to slay Muad’dib.” “I have heard the Bene Gesserit say,” Bijaz said, “that there is nothing firm, nothing balanced, nothing durable in all the universe — that nothing remains in its state, that each day, sometimes each hour, brings change.” Hayt shook his head dumbly from side to side. “You believed the silly Emperor was the prize we sought,” Bijaz said. “How little you understand our masters, the Tleilaxu. The Guild and Bene Gesserit believe we produce artifacts. In reality, we produce tools and services. Anything can be a tool — poverty, war. War is useful because it is effective in so many areas. It stimulates the metabolism. It enforces government. It diffuses genetic strains. It possesses a vitality such as nothing else in the universe. Only those who recognize the value of war and exercise it have any degree of self-determination.” In an oddly placid voice, Hayt said: “Strange thoughts coming from you, almost enough to make me believe in a vengeful Providence. What restitution was exacted to create you? It would make a fascinating story, doubtless with an even more extraordinary epilogue.” “Magnificent!” Bijaz chortled. “You attack — therefore you have willpower and exercise self-determination.” “You’re trying to awaken violence in me,” Hayt said in a panting voice. Bijaz denied this with a shake of the head. “Awaken, yes; violence, no. You are a disciple of awareness by training, so you have said. I have an awareness to awaken in you, Duncan Idaho.” “Hayt!” “Duncan Idaho. Killer extraordinary. Lover of many women. Swordsman soldier. Atreides field hand on the field of battle. Duncan Idaho.” “The past cannot be awakened.” “Cannot?” “It has never been done!” “True, but our masters defy the idea that something cannot be done. Always, they seek the proper tool, the right application of effort, the services of the proper –” “You hide your real purpose! You throw up a screen of words and they mean nothing!” “There is a Duncan Idaho in you,” Bijaz said. “It will submit to emotion or to dispassionate examination, but submit it will. This awareness will rise through a screen of suppression and selection out of the dark past which dogs your footsteps. It goads you even now while it holds you back. There exists that being within you upon which awareness must focus and which you will obey.” “The Tleilaxu think I’m still their slave, but I –” “Quiet, slave!” Bijaz said in that whining voice. Hayt found himself frozen in silence. “Now we are down to bedrock,” Bijaz said. “I know you feel it. And these are the power-words to manipulate you . . . I think they will have sufficient leverage.” Hayt felt the perspiration pouring down his cheeks, the trembling of his chest and arms, but he was powerless to move. “One day,” Bijaz said, “the Emperor will come to you. He will say: ‘She is gone.’ The grief mask will occupy his face. He will give water to the dead, as they call their tears hereabouts. And you will say, using my voice: ‘Master! Oh, Master!’ ” Hayt’s jaw and throat ached with the locking of his muscles. He could only twist his head in a brief arc from side to side. “You will say, ‘I carry a message from Bijaz.’ ” The dwarf grimaced. “Poor Bijaz, who has no mind . . . poor Bijaz, a drum stuffed with messages, an essence for others to use . . . pound on Bijaz and he produces a noise . . . ” Again, he grimaced. “You think me a hypocrite. Duncan Idaho! I am not! I can grieve, too. But the time has come to substitute swords for words.” A hiccup shook Hayt. Bijaz giggled, then: “Ah, thank you, Duncan, thank you. The demands of the body save us. As the Emperor carries the blood of the Harkonnens in his veins, he will do as we demand. He will turn into a spitting machine, a biter of words that ring with a lovely noise to our masters.” Hayt blinked, thinking how the dwarf appeared like an alert little animal, a thing of spite and rare intelligence. Harkonnen blood in the Atreides? “You think of Beast Rabban, the vile Harkonnen, and you glare,” Bijaz said. “You are like the Fremen in this. When words fail, the sword is always at hand, eh? You think of the torture inflicted upon your family by the Harkonnens. And, through his mother, your precious Paul is a Harkonnen! You would not find it difficult to slay a Harkonnen, now would you?” Bitter frustration coursed through the ghola. Was it anger? Why should this cause anger? “Ohhh,” Bijaz said, and: “Ahhhh, hah! Click-click. There is more to the message. It is a trade the Tleilaxu offer your precious Paul Atreides. Our masters will restore his beloved. A sister to yourself — another ghola.” Hayt felt suddenly that he existed in a universe occupied only by his own heartbeats. “A ghola,” Bijaz said. “It will be the flesh of his beloved. She will bear his children. She will love only him. We can even improve on the original if he so desires. Did ever a man have greater opportunity to regain what he’d lost? It is a bargain he will leap to strike.” Bijaz nodded, eyes drooping as though tiring. Then: “He will be tempted . . . and in his distraction, you will move close. In the instant, you will strike! Two gholas, not one! That is what our masters demand!” The dwarf cleared his throat, nodded once more, said: “Speak.” “I will not do it,” Hayt said. “But Duncan Idaho would,” Bijaz said. “It will be the moment of supreme vulnerability for this descendant of the Harkonnens. Do not forget this. You will suggest improvements to his beloved — perhaps a deathless heart, gentler emotions. You will offer asylum as you move close to him — a planet of his choice somewhere beyond the Imperium. Think of it! His beloved restored. No more need for tears, and a place of idyls to live out his years.” “A costly package,” Hayt said, probing. “He’ll ask the price.” “Tell him he must renounce his godhead and discredit The Qizarate. He must discredit himself, his sister.” “Nothing more?” Hayt asked, sneering. “He must relinquish his CHOAM holdings, naturally.” “Naturally.” “And if you’re not yet close enough to strike, speak of how much the Tleilaxu admire what he has taught them about the possibilities of religion. Tell him the Tleilaxu have a department of religious engineering, shaping religions to particular needs.” “How very clever,” Hayt said. “You think yourself free to sneer and disobey me,” Bijaz said. He cocked his head slyly to one side. “Don’t deny it . . .” “They made you well, little animal,” Hayt said. “And you as well,” the dwarf said. “You will tell him to hurry. Flesh decays and her flesh must be preserved in a cryological tank.” Hayt felt himself floundering, caught in a matrix of objects he could not recognize. The dwarf appeared so sure of himself! There had to be a flaw in the Tleilaxu logic. In making their ghola, they’d keyed him to the voice of Bijaz, but . . . But what? Logic/matrix/object . . . How easy it was to mistake clear reasoning for correct reasoning! Was Tleilaxu logic distorted? Bijaz smiled, listened as though to a hidden voice. “Now, you will forget,” he said. “When the moment comes, you will remember. He will say: ‘She is gone.’ Duncan Idaho will awaken then.” The dwarf clapped his hands together. Hayt grunted, feeling that he had been interrupted in the middle of a thought . . . or perhaps in the middle of a sentence. What was it? Something about . . . targets? “You think to confuse me and manipulate me,” he said. “How is that?” Bijaz asked. “I am your target and you can’t deny it,” Hayt said. “I would not think of denying it.” “What is it you’d try to do with me?” “A kindness,” Bijaz said. “A simple kindness.”

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Categories: Herbert, Frank