Study Guide

Dune Book II, Chapter 26

By Frank Herbert

Book II, Chapter 26

  • Iakin Nefud informs the Baron Harkonnen that he knows for certain, unequivocally, and without a doubt that Paul and Jessica are dead.
  • The Baron asks if he saw the bodies. When the answer is a no, well, you can imagine what the Baron thinks of Nefud's certainty.
  • Nefud also reports that Kynes is in their custody.
  • Kynes is the Imperial Planetologist, so the Baron suggests Nefud make his murder look like an accident.
  • Nefud also tells the Baron that they've picked up the captured Hawat.
  • The Baron finds the idea of a captured Mentat astounding, and he's even more delighted to hear that Hawat believes that Lady Jessica was the traitor. Of course, Hawat's superior mental abilities should probably be called into question if he's willing to spill those beans to his sworn enemies. Just saying.
  • The Baron gives orders to feed Hawat both poison and an antidote until the stuff is swimming in his blood stream. The idea is that if they stop giving Hawat the antidote, he'll die.
  • But we're not done yet. The Baron will also systematically pump the Mentat with false information about Jessica's betrayal. The plan seems a little convoluted even by soap opera standards, but guess that's just the Baron's style.
  • The Baron dismisses Nefud and ponders how wonderful it'll be when he places a Harkonnen on the Imperial throne. Of course, unbeknownst to him, Paul is a Harkonnen, too. The whole scene just bastes itself in some very tasty Grecian irony .
  • Next, the Baron summons his nephew, Rabban, into the room. According to the Baron, Rabban is a "muscle-minded tank-brain" who will be hated on Arrakis (26.97). He's also the guy he'll put in charge of the place.
  • The Baron informs Rabban that the last remaining Atreides are dead. The planet is now his to command.
  • Rabban has one and only one thing he must focus on while in charge: income. He's to squeeze the planet's 5 million inhabitants for all they are worth.
  • Rabban suggests the Baron's estimate of 5 million might be low-balling it when you add in the Fremen, but the Baron believes the Fremen aren't worth considering. They can ignore them.
  • The Baron also tasks Rabban with taking a hostage from each of the minor Houses. This way word of the Sardaukar involvement will not spread beyond Arrakis.
  • The Baron reiterates his orders for his nephew: squeeze for income and have no mercy—but don't eradicate. They need that sweet, sweet spice income to flow for years to come.
  • Rabban's only concern is Kynes, but the Baron reminds him that Kynes is stuck on Arrakis. He cannot leave because of his addiction to the spice. Spice addiction? Oh, yes, we'll be getting more into this later.
  • When Rabban leaves, the Baron watches him go, thinking about how he'll replace Feyd-Rautha with Rabban and how the people will cheer for Feyd as their savior. Like we said, the Baron's plots can get convoluted, but at least he loves his job.