Dune: Toa

Ooh, interesting

”This is the way…” – Numerous heroes

Chapter Nine

Tuyet leaned back on her throne. It was a comfortable chair from the conference room below, decorated with her new crest: a Ga-Metru symbol overlaid with the Atreides hawk icon. Before her stood a hologram projector, displaying the words “Waiting for guests.”

The guests were the representatives of the Houses Minor, and of the Guild and Bene Gesserit. There was no need for an Imperial representative, as Count Fenring was already standing across the table from her, awaiting her message. He looked out of place in the room, his face bland and void of emotion. He looked, Tuyet thought, like Nobua waiting for equipment in the Archives. There was a beep, as the projector came to life, displaying the numerous faces. All were expectant, awaiting her words. Tuyet stood, and cleared her throat.

“I am sure that all of you have good reasons to be concerned about the current situation. You know that Arrakis is the source of your spice. It is a valuable asset, needed for more than just flavoring. It gives one the powers of a Mentat, even if only for a short time. This is why I have called this meeting. This valuable resource is not merely a spice.”
Tuyet held up a container. It was clear, divided into two compartments. One contained a few grams of spice. The other was empty.
“This is what you commonly use spice as: a powder, flavorful and powerful. But have you seen it pressurized?”
She pressed a button. The pressure in the container began increasing, slowly. The faces grew interested, especially the Guild and Bene Gesserit representatives. The powder began changing. It slowly changed from a rusty color to a light green, like verdigris. Then, it began boiling. Large bubbles formed, and popped. A green vapor filled the second chamber. It glowed ominously in the box.
“This is your spice,” Tuyet said. “Not a common element, certainly, for it is not of natural formation. It is in fact synthetic. It is… antidermis.”

In the desert, a figure stumbled on, delirious, dehydrated. It was unaware of the Fremen scout behind it.
“Halt! Who are you?”
The figure glanced backwards, its azure mask hiding its expression. It made no answer.
The scout drew a pistol, and fired at the figure. The dart ricocheted off of the figure, then slammed into the Fremen.
“Tell me where the others are,” it said.
The Fremen gasped.
“They are in there,” he said, gesturing with one hand. “In Sietch Tabr you will find them. And they will defeat you.”
The figure made no reply, and began walking towards the entrance.

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neat. I like the twist with the antidermis.

“Fear is the mind killer.” – Duke Paul Atreides, in “Dune”.

Chapter Ten

The man in the cage looked back and forth, dried blood covering the left side of his face. His clothes were torn, and the room was filled with the wreckage of furniture and decorations.
“You shouldn’t have tried that assault,” Tuyet said. She toyed thoughtfully with a dagger, decorated on the hilt with the Imperial crest.
“It was my last resort,” the man said. “Your plan, if you truly intend to carry it out, will destroy us!”
Tuyet smiled.
“Why do you wish to die, Count? Is it really worth dying to protect the interests of a corrupt government, led by hysterically superstitious witches and secretive scientists? You know better than most what I can do with this.”
Count Fenring drew himself up. He looked directly at the Toa.
“Do not judge a man by the purity of his heart if you know him not. You do not realize how close you are to risking planetary obliteration.”
Tuyet laughed.
“Obliteration? You realize that you cannot tell anyone anything about this. I have the right connections… you will soon have nothing but good reports of this affair to give the Imperium.”
She pressed a button on her desk. The cage began sinking into the floor, where a green light briefly emanated.
“So long, Count! Enjoy your stay…”
The trapdoor cut of his shouts of protest, as he descended into the antidermis pit. Tuyet left the room, a strange grin on her face. There was nothing better than the knowledge that one’s work was unassailable, and pure. The humans must be saved, she thought. They need strong leaders… leaders as of old…

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“Those with access to ancient knowledge may remember them. They were here before us, warriors from the beginning of time, masters of all. They knew the secrets of most technologies, little was hidden from them…” – Lady Jessica Atreides, in the introduction to Cybertron: a History.

Chapter Eleven

“Who are you, may I ask?”
Kopaka looked up at the giant in front of him.
“I am Kopaka, Toa Nuva of Ice, and I need your help.”
The giant knelt, causing the ground to shake slightly.
“I am Optimus Prime. My friend there is B-127. We know S4. She helped us during the Butlerian wars. If you are a friend of her, we will support you.”

The preparations had begun. A scientist lowered a harness into the pit of antidermis. A large, clawed hand grasped it, pulling as though its only salvation depended upon escape. As it grabbed the rope, the harness tightened. A crane lifted a massive humanoid from the pit.
Tuyet smiled. Her newest creation was a fitting counter to any resistance the Imperium might give. It stood twelve feet tall, covered in black armor, with metal wings on its back. On its face was a black mask, a Kanohi Weha, the mask of division. Here was a being capable of defeating this Muad’Dib, and his bands of rebels. And he could do it with his bare hands…

Varian groaned. She felt pain in every part of her body, especially her face. Someone had forcibly torn her mask from her face, painfully slamming her across the room, into the wall of darkness… She shook her head, trying to dispel her exhaustion. A band touched her shoulder.
“Get back!” a voice shouted.
Varian glimpsed several figures, hooded against the sun, walking towards her. She stumbled, and fell.
“We must tell Idaho about this,” a voice murmured in her head. Then oblivion filled her with its delicious darkness in a rush like that of unwanted memories…

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wait Optimus Prime and Idaho exist in this universe? Either way, nice job

Yes, they both exist. After all, it’s set only about a month after the Harkonnens orchestrated their attack that resulted in the seeming annihilation of House Atreides in the original book.

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eeenteresting…

Chapter Twelve

Strange… Fenring glanced at his hand. Well, it used to be his hand. The appendage was now black and shiny, metallic, like the fist of the silver armor in his ancestral home. He flexed his muscles, feeling stronger than ever before. He looked at the liquid surrounding him, glowing green in the darkness. Then he heard it. A whisper in his head. A faint urge. It said, Use your powers. It cannot fail. Demonstrate that you are worthy…

A grey shuttle landed in the desert near Arrakeen, away from prying eyes. A single figure left it, heading towards the town. It was S4, her armor covered by a cloak and a smugglers jacket. She looked like most workers, though her helmet looked too worn for ordinary work. She tapped a code into her gauntlet. After a few minutes, a yellow Humvee drove up beside her. It bore the insignia from the tunnel on its grill, marking it as one of the beings from the base. Then they stopped, for a noise occurred that few could forget. It was like thunder, but it didn’t stop. A fierce glow lit the Harkonnen base, as a beam of energy vanished into the sky. It slowly faded. Then from the smoking hole, a winged figure leaped, and in its face glowed two red eyes. It stood, looking back and forth, as though searching for something. Finally, after a few long minutes, it dropped back into the building. The two on the ground stood, shocked and confused.
“I’m calling the authorities,” S4 said.
She got into the vehicle, and revved the engine. As she drove off, the glow in the sky reappeared, shaped like a face. It was angular, with a thin mouth and long, slitted eyes. It vanished seconds later.

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Chapter Thirteen

The Humvee sped into town, as S4 looked for a member of the police. There was no one in sight. Not even a worker was visible.
“Well, that’s just what would happen on this planet,” she commented.
She continued driving, getting closer to the building that the beast had come from. Suddenly, the truck slammed to a halt. A metal gate, covered in barbed wire, prevented further driving. The bounty hunter shifted to reverse, and was preparing to turn around, when a group of Saurdakar emerged from a building nearby. They were all armed with sub machine guns, and were obviously nervous. Seeing the truck, they raised their weapons in its direction.
“Halt! Let’s see some ID,” one of them said, his voice made more scary by the fact it was scrambled slightly by his helmet.
“Wait a second…”
The others had turned on their headlamps, to look at the driver. A sort of HUD appeared on their visors.
“We are detaining you under suspicion of criminal activity,” the first Saurdakar said. He strode over to the Humvee and yanked the door open, disregarding the fact that it was locked. It made a crumpling sound as it opened. As S4 stepped out, some lights appeared on the dashboard display. The engine roared to life, and the truck spun backwards, hitting two of the Saurdakar. It then sped back towards the desert, leaving a cloud of sand and gravel dust in the air. S4 stared blankly at the receding taillights, confused about what to do.

Meanwhile, Tuyet was engaged in a fierce argument with Count Fenring. He was busy maintaining the position that he was justified in proceeding to go and exterminate the Fremen himself, using his newfound powers.
“It would be an excellent demonstration of our power,” he cried.
“You fool! Would you give away our position so soon? If we can make you this powerful, could we not make more?” Tuyet asked. “The success of our plan will only come to fruition if we can keep the Empire happy with the results of our research into antidermis. If you go and get us into a war, we can’t keep them from finding out that certain people are certainly alive… Besides, you would be killed by the machine-haters who lead the people. We must get them on our side against the Fremen. For this is the golden rule: master the situation, and it cannot master you. You seem to have forgotten that the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild know what we have. They will likely try to kill us soon. We must be prepared to make them pay…”

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Chapter Fifteen

Darkness… it was all that S4 could see. Even as she tried to use her scanners, it remained dark. She tried to move, but something held her. Then she heard voices. Outside? She listened. A sound like liquid surrounded her. Through it she heard someone say, “Start the power input. Easy, easy.”
The voice had a strange accent one she couldn’t identify. A light suddenly erupted in her vision. A blinding radiance, filling her with a strange feeling of energy, wakefulness. She felt so good- wait, what was that?

An arc of energy blazed past her. Another, then another. Her armor’s power source- it must have ruptured! She felt heat begin to rise within the liquid. It seemed to be changing in color, becoming silvery and dense. She closed her eyes, feeling pain rip through her…

Tuyet and Fenring stood behind a control panel with a group of scientists. They all had impressive degrees in their fields of expertise, especially their leader, a man called John Chow, who was the first to successfully create a Super-Soldier for the Imperium. They watched the glow in the pod increase as he fed power into it. Suddenly, Chow stopped, glancing at the panels of instruments.
“This isn’t right. I’m getting feedback into the reactor.” He adjusted some controls. After a few minutes, he pressed some more, then tried pressing a large control lever. There was no change, the heat and feedback were rising, faster with every minute.
“Get to cover,” he said. “This things going to explode once the pressure gets much higher.” As they had prepared for this, there were several bunkers within the building. As they left, blast doors closed behind them. After a few minutes, a muffled thud echoed through the building. Then a stream of silver liquid began trickling through the door.

The being on the floor raised its hand, looking at it curiously. It was purple, with only three fingers. The arm was very mechanical, with two exposed hydraulic actuators and a large servo at the elbow. It wiggled its fingers, feeling their flexibility. Then it noticed the crackling. An arc had formed between its fingers, purple lightning covering the hand. It blinked, then lay back in exhaustion. It was comfortable to lay back, staring at the hot sun in the cloudless sky…

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ooh very nice

Chapter sixteen

“Who am I? I recall nothing before awakening in a pit of rubble, surrounded by armed warriors and another like myself. I have powers, but I cannot control them, as I lack the strength and training. My name is unknown, and thus I have taken on a new name, bestowed upon me by my master Fenring. I am Voriki, Toa of Energy. I have come to ensure peace and prosperity for all of Arrakis! And for the Empire, security!”

The purple-armored Toa stood tall, clasping her staff beside her. The crowd below cheered, some calling out, “It is her! The lisan-al’gib!” She looked at them, noting those represented in the crowd. There were members of the Houses Minor, and the Guild, obviously. There were also a surprisingly large number of Fremen, though it was not coincidental. They had been allowed to work in the spice mining expeditions for the last few weeks, and it had convinced some that Tuyet was the leader they needed.

Tuyet stood up, placing her right hand on Voriki’s shoulder.
“People of Dune! I thank you for all of your support! I have an announcement to make that directly concerns you: I have decided upon creating a task force to ensure the security of the spice. It will be composed of Voriki here, and a number of other individuals from this planet, some who may be known to you. They will protect spice convoys against pirates, against extremists, and against traitors! Long live the threefold government! Long live the Empire!”

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Chapter Seventeen:

Voriki glanced around the room, taking in the looks of the others present at the shipping facility. There was a human woman, who looked to be about 25 years old. There was a Saurdakar trooper, who looked to be the most confused person in the group, and then there was Fenring, towering over them all. His face, if a mask something like a Kakama could be called one, had an expression of contentment upon itself.
“Let’s see,” he said. “We are going to be guarding this load of spice en route to Giedi Prime. For this reason, I have chosen each of you to accompany me. You, Voriki, and you, Captain Erron, are here because of the results of experiments with the spice. And Captain,” Fenring said, “please refrain from hurting yourself. I know the others dislike someone with exceptional abilities beyond their rank, but remember that you are safe with us. Now, you, Semley,” he continued, “you are our wild card on this trip. I was against any other people joining us, but Tuyet ordered me to take you along.”

The woman looked at Fenring nervously. She looked perfectly normal, except for a strange silver tint to her skin. Voriki glanced at the group, waiting for someone to speak. Just before the silence would have become interminable, Erron spoke.
“Are you sure that there isn’t anything else on our orders? I know that there’s been some trouble with raids on the freighters by pirates and smugglers, but that’s just in orbit. Once we reach the Guild ships, we’re safe, right?”
“You are well taught, Captain,” Fenring replied. “You knew what was in my mind as I told you your orders. Very well. You may have heard of the riots on Giedi Prime? The ones threatening to stop weapon manufacturing? We will use those to break Thufir Hawat out of the Harkonnens’ palace. We need a tactician like him. He is absolutely incredible. A master among Mentats.”

The group nodded, and were dismissed. As they would be leaving in a few hours, most of them went to stow equipment aboard the freighter. It was a common spice freighter, armed with a few light plasma turrets, but the appearance was deceptive. The outer cargo bays had been refitted to hold turreted missile launchers, a formidable weapon in space.

Voriki found that her bunk was beside that of Semley’s. She was curious about the human. She hadn’t noticed anyone else involved in the experiments. Professor Chow and the other scientists had been dismissed soon after, being told that the experiments would be too expensive to continue. To Vorik’s surprise, Semley was not to be seen. Instead, there was a diagram on her bunk, detailing a strange object. It appeared to be a necklace, but the setting was filled with complicated circuits and the stone in the center was missing.

As Voriki set the paper down, she heard a footstep behind her. She spun, only to see Erron walking through the door, carrying a large duffel bag filled with equipment. A lasgun and some ammunition belts poked from the top.
“I saw that too,” he said, gesturing toward the note. “What it is, I haven’t a clue. Looks like a necklace, but only the Bene Gesserit would make something like that. Too overcomplicated, just like their sayings.”

He set down his bag, and removed a meat stick from it. After taking a bite, he asked, “Have you been wondering about this spice stuff lately?”
Voriki shook her head. The question was odd. All one associated with the spice was money.
“If this spice can turn a noble into a massive, well-armored warrior, and myself into a mind-reader, what is it made of? Why is it so important to the Guild? And why haven’t we been allowed to see it mined?”

Erron paused, looking confused. Suddenly, the door opened, and Semley walked in. Her arms were full of bundles, several giving clinking noises as she set them down. Ignoring the Toa and the Sardaukar, she opened one bag and pulled out a perfect copy of the necklace on the note. It had no stone in the setting, and instead had a mount, like an old computer terminal. She looked at it for a few minutes, then put it back. Erron resumed eating, and Voriki closed her eyes, thinking. An image filled her mind, mapping the energies contained in the freighter. A bright light beside her, forming the shapes of the humans, and more outside, the crew. As she looked on in her mind, a feeling of calmness rolled over her. It was so quiet, so calm, one could almost fall asleep…

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Having thought about this story for the last few weeks, I have decided to continue Dune: Toa in the form of short stories. This decision is mainly due to the fact that I have very much underestimated the time it takes to write each chapter, but also because I want to flesh out some the non-Bionicle characters’ backstories along the way. I apologize for this story’s not having finished here, but do not lose hope! There will be more to follow in a while.

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