House Atreides: From Water To Sand

002 - Bezas: Friend or Foe?

The episode begins with the entrance of a new character – Gest Paris, Mentat of House Atreides.  He enters the quarters of Ialis Palon, where the rest of the team has gathered.  He brings with him orders and new information from Thufir Hawat.  The group is to be certain the young Paul is protected, while at the same time gathering more data and investigating the goings on in the vicinity of the Bezas keep.

Ianto and Paris form one team, while the Baronet and Livia form the other.

The soldier and Bene Gesserit send a missive to the head of the House – Baronet Aaklys to arrange a meeting.  Aaklys, well-known for his pleasure in hob-nobbing with other nobility accepts the offer soon thereafter, inviting the pair to join the Baronet and his sister, the Lady Nneka, for dinner.

The assassin and mentat decide to investigate one of the nearby merchant warehouses, carrying with them notarized pundi rice certificates for trade.  Being chauffeured in a ground car to the nearest warehouse, they were greeted by Petr and his assistant Illyana.  While Petr took Gest inside the warehouse, Illyana took the servant Ianto for a walk around the warehouse to inspect it.  While Gest did his best to confuse the merchants' young mentat into making a mistake, Ianto was being flirted with outside.  Once brought inside to join the mentat, Ianto noted that the inside was smaller than it should have been, given the circumference of the warehouse as a whole.  Meanwhile, Gest had deduced several discrepancies and figures that just didn't add up well for profit.

Back at the keep, dinner was going well.  Ialis was seated to the honored right of Paul, at the young master's request, while Livia was seated across from him and two seats down from the Lady, who she watched with all of her powers of observation.

While Baronet Aaklys was happy to speak of matters noble and intellectual, the Lady Nneka was exceedingly bored and irritated at her dining company, with the exception of the lead merchant for whom she showed obvious fondness.

Meanwhile, at the warehouse, Ianto was being heartily flirted with by Illyana who even offered to buy up his contract with the Atreides to serve as her own personal servant and traveling companion, as she was coming into some very good money.  Gest had determined that the numbers just didn't add up, but needed more data yet.  Regardless, the pundi certificates were spent on trade during the meeting.  As they were leaving, Illyana pushed an item surreptitiously into Ianto's hand before bidding the duo farewell.  The item turned out to be a solari coin with a small note through the hole in the center of it – "Make your decision before tomorrow night."  With that, they headed back to the keep.

After dinner, Livia continued watching the goings on at the small party after dinner.  Ialis spoke at length with the other baronet about things great and small, standing next to the young master as he did so.  As he was backing away from the conversation, he bumped into the lead merchant.  The merchant, instead of stumbling back as a person without training might have done, instead put a hand up in a guard, his other hand toward a knife that wasn't there, and moved in a circular motion to avoid the accidental contact instead.  Ialis, taking the movements as a possible attack on the young master, grabbed the man's arm, swept his legs, and pressed him to the ground and held him there.  The room went silent at the display.  The merchant simply apologized and thanked the other for the interesting display.  The short party went back to normal after that.

Afterwards, the four met up in Ialis' quarters again to discuss their findings.  Gest still needed more data, so the others went about getting just that for him.  Livia did some research into the House Minor Bezas and found some bad blood between themselves and House Atreides that would explain some of the Lady Nneka's attitudes toward her guests.  Ianto took note of the various guards and "servants" through the house, some of which were serving as spies.  Ialis spent more time with the Baronet Bezas.

The data, when computed by Gest, came to one conclusion – an attack on House Atreides by the Bezas was imminent.

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