In the finale for Dune: Atreides Alpha Initiative, our entourage picked up the broken pieces of their interrogation with a confirmed Harkonnen spy! Alerted to what happened, Duncan orders Security Commander “Spooky” Woo to lock down the palace for the meantime. Jamy pocketed the milky white Fremen crysknife from his attacker.
In the morning, as Duncan and the entourage are preparing for their flight to the site of the thopter attacks, everyone is awakened by the sounds of an angry mob at the front gates to the palace. They witness two desert Fremen standing amidst the mob, a mound of covered corpses at their feet. The angry Arrakeen citizens around them yelled at the gathered Atreides soldiers, attributing the deaths of innocents to them and their weapons. Proof, they said, lay at the feet of the two Fremen.
Overwhelmed, Security Commander Woo called for aid from Idaho and his troop. Swordmaster Aramis used his strength to help maintain the security curtain and keep the mob from getting too far forward to the palace. Trooper Mona, seeing what was happening, made a quick wardrobe change and emerged from the palace in a black aba dress–immediately identifying her as a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother.
Many of the mob stopped or dispersed all together as they watched the adept raise her arms and use the Voice. Once the potential threat was quelled, Dr Brachs used his training to check and confirm that the bodies were indeed dead and that this was not some sort of Harkonnen ploy. Duncan then gave the order and Commander Woo had his people bring the bodies to the infirmary for Brachs to inspect while the Fremen were brought to the foyer for a closed door talk.
Jamy, the House assassin, used the chaos to slip into the saboteur’s room and found a yellow scarf, which he pocketed for later.
The two Fremen, Turok and Hamza, identified themselves as belonging to a sietch under the guidance of a naib named Stilgar. They were dispatched to be envoys of good will to the Atreides. That is, until they came upon the atrocities that were taking place in the Imperial Basin against some of the local villages by Atreides troopers.
Dr. Brach, using his advanced knowledge, was able to discover that the civilians were cut down by Atreides lasguns while the Atreides trooper appears to be a Harkonnen in Atreides livery.
In light of this information, mentat Rune used his computation skill to put together that the Harkonnens were working with a Fremen element on Arrakis, but something remains unanswered; Jacurutu. The mentat asked the two Fremen what that word meant and were met with shock. They revealed that this word is the name of a sietch that belonged to a reviled tribe of Fremen who were renowned water stealers; the Idwali.
Duncan approved the Fremen’s request to see the body and confirmed that both they and House Atreides share more enemies than just the Harkonnens. They decide to head back to their sietch to report what they discovered to Stilgar, convinced that the Atreides are indeed on Dune as allies to their people.
Jamy gave Nihale’s crysknife to Hamza and Turok before they left. Impressed, the Fremen issue stillsuits to help the entourage reclaim their water as they head to the airfield for the thopter ride with Iblis.
The entourage arrives at the location of one of the recent attacks and finds that whatever debris fell onto the desert floor was consumed by a worm. By chance, Jamy notices a crashed ornithopter on the rocks nearby the group touched down to investigate.
Dr Brachs found the thopter’s chassis had been cut open with a lasgun or cutterray, but discovered that there were no signs of any bodies left inside the crash. They were able to cut further into the chassis and, with Duncan and Brachs’ work were able to retrieve the thopter’s control box to take back to the residency for analysis. In addition to this, they were able to identify rocket fire and multiple thopter landings nearby.
Arriving back at the palace, the team went over the gathered intelligence so far. Duncan organized a raid on the warehouse Dr Bachs discovered through his rapport with Hayyan. As the meeting took place, however, Atreides soldiers outside intercepted a Fremen courier carrying a message for Duncan and his troop.
Though wary, Duncan saw that the message was from the Fremen with instructions on where to meet them for a sit down meeting with a naib and gave the order for the ornithopters to refuel and prepare to go back out to the desert for this long awaited encounter. Observing the information on the thopter’s crash box revealed standard comm chatter between the thopter wing and control back at the palace. Interspersed with the chatter, however, was cross chatter from another comm frequency.
The entourage was able to identify the cross chat as Harkonnen battle language. Their enemy had been somehow relaying information about Atreides flight paths and using that information to ambush and destroy spice mining crews coming back from the desert. Armed with this new information, the team took flight back out to the desert.
Arriving at the coordinates, the team noticed a large building inhabiting a portion of rockface bearing the insignia of House Corrino; this was an imperial spice storage warehouse–the one Duke Leto alluded to at the beginning of our tale!
As they began to descend towards the Fremen, who had gathered near the imperial silo, they soon became aware of the Harkonnen cross chatter on the comms. Dr Brachs noticed an incoming comm message light on the control panel when no one else did. Answering it, they all heard the voice of Turok screaming over the channel, warning them of a Harkonnen ambush!
Their spotter wing confirming three incoming thopters to their location, the entourage braced for battle!
Idaho performed a special maneuver which helped Jamy line up a shot with the thopters lasgun emplacement, scoring a hit. Rune performed an incredible piloting maneuver, using their thopter’s insect like metal wings to cut open a large gash along the side, causing it and the Harkonnen aboard to fall into the unforgiving sands below!
One of the Harkonnen thopters scored a hit on one of their thopter’s spotter and destroyed it instantly. Before they could score another on the entourage’s, however, Turoks thopter flew in the way of the assault and went spiraling down to the rocks.
As several Harkonnen dressed in Fremen garb emerged from the building with rocket launchers, Monaleux rushed to the comm panel and used its broadcast feature to amplify her use of the Voice on the Harkonnen troopers on the ground. Using her powers, she convinced them to aim lower, causing them to blow themselves up with their munitions!
Iblis took control of the thopter and on Duncan’s orders dove towards the gathering throng of Harkonnens dashing to Turok’s downed flight. The Atreides swordmaster began cutting his way through their numbers. Jamy used the thopters lasgun emplacement again to cause a rockslide this time, which helped stem the flow of enemies emerging from the silo.
Meanwhile, the combination of the Harkonnen wrecked flight and one of the surviving troopers wearing a hot shield on the sands brought the instant attention of a sandworm. As the behemoth emerged with a loud hissing sound, massive amounts of sand was thrown into the air, throwing a haze on the entire scene. The beast instantly consumed the wreckage and any remaining Harkonnen limping to safety, leaving nothing in its wake.
Turok and Hamza emerged from their crashed thopter, drew crysknives and joined the melee against shielded Harkonnen mercenaries in the surrounding rock. Aramis and Monaleux joined the fray as well, the House Spiridon swordmaster cleaved his way through two shielded enemies and the Sisterhood Adept shot and killed one mercenary using a slow pellet stunner.
Iblis put a few well placed shots on the roof, trapping some of the Harkonnen inside the building and causing others to perish instantly under a barrage of rubble. Seeing the chaos, Dr Brachs used his goggles to see through the sand cloud and sneak inside the silo to steal a handful of spice from the nearby containers.
After having deftly turned the tables on the Harkonnen trap, the entourage successfully routed enemy forces, causing them to surrender or flee into the desert. This victory came at a great cost, however, when it was revealed that Turok was mortally wounded by the crash! In a mirror gesture to a previous scene, the Fremen warrior offered his crysknife to Jamy and whispered something into his ear before succumbing to his wounds.
When asked, Jamy relayed that the Fremen had breathed a single word: Taqwa. Hamza gave water to the dead when she elaborated its meaning; the price of freedom. In this case, death.
Having demonstrated their loyalty and honor to the Fremen, Hamza invited the entourage to fly to Sietch Tabr with her to return Turok’s water and to finally meet their chief, Stilgar.
Attending this momentous meeting, the entourage is greeted with skepticism from one called Jamis, claiming that they, as outsiders, they should be killed for even having seen a crysknife. After a terse exchange, Stilgar declared that ways change and proceeded to tell the gathered strangers to his sietch a story of how an outsider saved him and another Fremen from Harkonnen attackers.
He went on to reveal that the stranger was the emperor’s then planetologist, Pardot Kynes. Kynes had been introduced to the Fremen under similar circumstances decades ago. Sharing his knowledge of other worlds and of how Dune could be transformed into a paradise through ecology and diligent work, the Fremen were transformed forever. His story sowed the seeds of a dream and a movement for Arrakis.
Idaho, Rune and Jamy decided to stay with Stilgar and the Fremen. Duncan pledged himself to both House Atreides and Stilgar’s tribe. The rest of the entourage returned to the Arrakeen palace, with Monaleux getting a “donation” from Jamy for the Sisterhood’s breeding program and Dr Brachs fulfilled his promise to Hayyan and boarded a Guild heighliner bound for Caladan.
Well, this story is over, but the saga of Dune still continues!
Stay tuned to Vorpal Tales for details as we begin a new story campaign with Dune: Houses of the Landsraad!