William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act III, Scene iv.

An Imperial Ecological Testing Station with private chambers.


PAUL: This is one of those stations that my sire
Did wish to use as bases for our men.

KYNES: Correctly named, O Paul Atreides. What
Would you then purpose for a place like this?

PAUL: To make this planet fit for men to live.

FREMEN: The generator field is beyond
Repair, and cannot hide us from the foe
Should they come near enough for their machines
To range us Liet. We have not the means.

KYNES: We’ll do without. Spice coffee to my rooms.

FREMEN: Yes, Liet: and the hand-pumps we shall man.

KYNES: Now sit, young Paul Atreides; be my guest.

He leads the way to the private chambers.

KYNES: I find your answer good.

PAUL: We give you thanks
For aid in this our hour of desperate need.

KYNES: You sense Arrakis could be paradise
And yet the Emperor sends but a throng
Of hatchetmen to wring it dry of spice.

PAUL: See you this ring upon my thumb?

KYNES: I do.

PAUL: And do you know its true significance?

KYNES: In Arrakeen your father’s body lies,
And technically, you are Atreides’ Duke.

PAUL: A soldier of th’Imperium am I
And technically a hatchetman withal.

KYNES: While Sardaukar Imperial do cast
Their mocking shadows o’er thy father’s corse?

PAUL: The Sardaukar have naught to do with law
That gives me right of law’s authority.

KYNES: Arrakis hath more ways to issue law
That grant the right to wield authority
Than that which issues from th’Imperial throne.

PAUL: The Sardaukar are measure of how far
Our Emperor beloved feared my sire.
Now, I shall give the Emperor the grounds
To fear Atreides.

KYNES: Lad, you must not think…

PAUL: You will address me as my Lord or Sire.

KYNES: Sire.

PAUL: I am embarrassment to them
Who would Arrakis’ treasure subdivide
And as I live I shall humiliate
Them till the blood do runnel from their veins
And leave them dead upon this desert.

KYNES: Words.

PAUL: You have the legend of Lisan al-Gaib
The Voice Who Cometh From The Outer World
Who leadeth Fremen folk to Paradise.

KYNES: A superstition.

PAUL: Superstition oft
Hath stranger branchings than its roots suggest.

KYNES: Thou hast a plan, O Sire, so much is plain.

PAUL: Thy Fremen, can they furnish me with proof
That Sardaukar did wear Harkonnen weeds
To clothe the Emperor’s war in secrecy?

KYNES: Quite likely.

PAUL: He’ll renew Harkonnen rule
Upon Arrakis. Even Beast Rabban
May sit again upon this world. But then
When th’Emperor hath meshed himself within
The web of his deceit past all misdoubt
Then let him face the proof of his own guilt
Before the Landsraad. Let him answer there!

JESS: Paul!

KYNES: An’ the Landsraad Court accept thy case
But one result comes forth: a general war
Between the Landsraad and their Emperor.

JESS: And chaos drown the stars in endless night.

PAUL: But I would break with th’Emperor myself
And give him an alternative to war.

JESS: And gird yourself with coat of black-a-mail?

PAUL: A statecraft tool, as thou hast said thyself.
His Majesty hath daughters, but no son.

JESS: And thus you’d set yourself upon his throne?

PAUL: The Emperor does not desire a war
Of planets blasted, chaos drowning rule
That he hath built, and that a’ will not risk.

KYNES: This is a desperate gamble you propose.

PAUL: What fear doth harrow all the Houses Great
And keeps the Landsraad Lords in terror? This
That hath been done upon Arrakis’ sands
The Sardaukar to hunt them one by one
Until they bow unto Imperial whim
Or see their lines extinguished and bereft
Of lordship: this unites them in the Great
Convention, for they cannot match the throne
In force of arms unless they stand as one.
And each shall in my father see himself.
Cut off and killed by the Imperial will.

KYNES: Can this mad scheme succeed?

JESS: No Mentat I
To calculate such factors manifold.

KYNES: You are a Bene Gesserit.

JESS: This plan
Hath strengths and weaknesses, as any would.
A plan needs execution much or more
Than cunning concept cleverly devised.

PAUL: Above th’Imperial door it is inscribed
That law, supreme of sciences, doth rule.
I go to show the Emperor the law.

KYNES: How could I trust the man who so did scheme?
Arrakis hath another sort of plan.

PAUL: I could Arrakis make a paradise
When I did sit upon the throne of Man.

KYNES: My loyalty is not for sale, my Lord.

PAUL: Well spoken, and I ask your pardon for’t.

KYNES: Harkonnen never error did confess
Perhaps Atreides differs from their kind.

PAUL: You say you’re not for sale, but I’ve the coin
I think that buys a man of loyalty
For I will offer mine to you in ‘change
In total, nothing short or wavering.
For faithful service, true protection giv’n.

KYNES: Thou art a boy.

PAUL: A Duke. Atreides blood.
Atreides such a bond hath never broke.
And I do swear to give my life for yours.

KYNES: Sire! I know you mean this, but the cost…

Enter IDAHO fighting SARDAUKAR. KYNES closes the door upon them. IDAHO dies.

KYNES: My lot is cast with yours, it doth appear.

PAUL: You have a secret passage from this place.

KYNES: A score of minutes shall this portal hold
‘Gainst all except a lasgun.

PAUL: They’ll not dare
To use a beam, lest we should have our shields.

JESS: Harkonnen-clad, but Sardaukar beneath.

KYNES: Harkonnen hath us ruled these eighty years.
And we prepare to ‘scape them when we must.
Do take the passage marked by arrows. These
Will falter at thy passage, leaving naught
To mark thy progress through the labyrinth.
Take then the ‘thopter thou shalt find without
And fly into the storm that shrieks its rage
Across the desert night, and keep your height
Thus do my people, and thus they survive.

PAUL: And what of you?

KYNES: I go another way
And if I’m ta’en, will say you captured me.

PAUL: Where shall we meet?

KYNES: I’ll set my Fremen on
To search for you along the storming path
Great Mother guide you, Godspeed on your way.