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.”The long silence that hung on the channel told Vor that a furious debate must be occurring on private lines.Finally, the squadron commander said, “Segundo Harkonnen is out on patrol and will not return for two days.Viceroy Butler is already on his way with an honor guard.Follow me— and do not deviate from the path.”Vor acknowledged, then took a deep, concerned breath.Now he had to fly with his own guidance skills and no assistance from the onboard gelcircuitry computers.The vessel’s own cooperative guidance and automated response systems had always aided him in the event of an emergency.“Serena, Iblis— both of you strap in and hold on.”“Is there a problem?” Iblis asked, seeing Vor’s uneasiness.“Only that I’ve never done this before.”The Dream Voyager rocked in turbulence as it passed through high winds and a thin cloud cover, until it broke through into clear sky.The kindjals paced them closely, just off the update ship’s short wings.Sunlight slanted into the interior through overhead portholes, forming distorted shadows on the decks and bulkheads.Vor set the Dream Voyager down gently in the designated zone, in the crowded spaceport.Despite the challenge, he had flown the vessel perfectly.Seurat would have been proud of him.Elated, Iblis Ginjo rose to his feet as the low hum of the engines fell silent.“At last! Salusa Secundus.” He looked at Vor.“For rescuing the Viceroy’s daughter, they will welcome us with red carpets and flowers.”When he released the hatch and breathed Salusan air for the first time, Vor Atreides tried to identify the difference, wondering if he could detect an elusive scent of freedom.“Don’t expect carpets or flowers just yet,” he said.He saw a military squad approaching the ship with weapons drawn.The soldiers, dressed in gold-and-silver League uniforms, formed ranks at the bottom of the ramp.Behind them came two intimidating-looking women with white hair, pale skin, and long black robes.Serena stood between the two former trustees of the thinking machines, taking their arms protectively in hers.Together, the three of them stepped out into dazzling sunlight.While the Militia soldiers kept their weapons ready, they deferred to the tall, grim women.The chief Sorceress looked at the new arrivals with a gaze so intense and intimidating that she reminded Vorian of one of the Titans.“Are you spies of Omnius?” she said, stepping closer to them.Serena recognized the Sorceress of Rossak, but knew that she herself must have changed considerably in her year and a half of captivity.“Zufa Cenva, we were colleagues.” Her voice hitched.“I have come home.Do you not recognize me?”The Sorceress looked skeptically at her, then astonishment crossed her alabaster face.“It truly is you, Serena Butler! We thought you had died on Giedi Prime, along with Ort Wibsen and Pinquer Jibb.We checked the DNA on blood samples found in the wreckage of your blockade runner.” Zufa loomed before the young woman, studying her while ignoring the two men entirely.Serena struggled valiantly to set aside her sadness.“Wibsen and Jibb did die fighting the cymeks.I was injured.and captured.”At the deep expression of emotions, Vor spoke on her behalf.“She was held prisoner on Earth by a robot named Erasmus.”The Sorceress’s electric expression swung to regard him.“And who are you?”Vor knew he could not lie.“I am the son of the Titan Agamemnon.” The Militia soldiers stirred.The two Sorceresses reacted with alarm and then renewed intensity.“I used my influence to slip through the defenses of Earth-Omnius.”Iblis Ginjo pushed forward, eyes bright and enthusiastic.“All of Earth is in revolt! Humans have broken free of their machine masters.Rebels slew Titans and neo-cymeks, smashed robots, destroyed entire facilities.But we need League help—”Abruptly, Iblis’s words were cut off with a little squeak of his voice.Around his own throat, Vorian felt a tightness, like a garrote.The eyes of the Sorceresses blazed, as if probing deeply into the minds of these new arrivals.Suspicion saturated the air like thick humidity, an unwillingness to trust two turncoat humans and Serena Butler, who might have been brainwashed by Omnius.The Sorceresses’ concentration was broken by a sudden commotion.Vor found he could breathe easily again.Viceroy Manion Butler, looking a decade older than when Serena had last seen him, pushed soldiers out of his way and charged forward like a wild Salusan bull.“Serena! Oh my sweet child! You are alive!”Both Sorceresses stepped aside, seeing that nothing could stop the man from throwing his arms around his daughter.“My child, my child— I can’t believe it!” He held Serena, rocked her from side to side.Without wanting to, she found herself weeping against his chest.“Oh what have they done to you? What have they done?”Serena found she could not answer him at all.Human beings rely upon their brethren, and are frequently disappointed by them.These are advantages of machines: reliability and a complete lack of guile.They can also be disadvantages [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]