Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson - Dune House Atreides

The group waited and time passed slowly the soldiers

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The group waited, and time passed slowly. The soldiers talked. The desert man continued his peculiar running, moving imperceptibly closer. Kynes could feel the stillsuit micro-sandwich layers sucking up his droplets of sweat. He knelt and studied the umber rock at his feet. Basaltic lava, it contained eroded pockets that had been formed from leftover gaseous bubbles in the molten rock, or softer stone eaten away by the legendary Coriolis storms of Arrakis.
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Kynes picked up a handful of sand and let it run through his fingers. Not unexpectedly, he saw that the grains of sand were quartz particles, shimmering in the sun with a few flecks of darker material that might have been magnetite. At other places he had seen rusty colorations in the sand, striations of tan, orange, and coral, hinting at various oxides. Some of the coloring could also have been from weathered deposits of the spice melange, but Kynes had never seen unprocessed spice in the wild before. Not yet. Finally, the spotter 'thopters overhead confirmed an approaching worm. A large one, moving fast. The guards rose to their feet. Looking out onto the blurry landscape, Kynes saw a ripple on the sand, like an immense finger being drawn beneath the surface, disturbing the upper layers. The size of it astounded him. "Worm's coming in from the side!" the Bator called. "It's going straight for Thekar!" Rabban shouted, with cruel glee. "He's between the worm and the thumper. Awe, bad luck." His wide face now showed a different kind of anticipation. Even from this distance, Kynes could see Thekar put on a burst of speed, forgetting his staggering walk as he saw the mound of the approaching worm tunneling toward him faster and faster. Kynes could well imagine the look of horror and hopeless despair on the desert man's face. Then with a grim resolve and a sudden desperation, Thekar came to a full stop and lay flat on the sand, motionless, staring up at the sky, perhaps praying fervently to Shai-Hulud. With the tiny footstep vibrations stopped, the distant thumper seemed as loud as an Imperial band. Thump, thump, thump. The worm paused -- then altered its path to head straight toward the cache of explosives. Rabban gave a twitch of a shrug, nonchalant acceptance of an irrelevant defeat. Kynes could hear the underground hiss of shifting sands, the approach of the behemoth. It came closer and closer, attracted like an iron filing to a deadly magnet. As it neared the thumper, the worm dived deeper underground, circled, and came up to engulf that which had attracted it, angered it -- or whatever instinctive reaction these blind leviathans experienced. When the worm rose from the sands, it revealed a mouth large enough to swallow a spacecraft, ascending higher and higher, its maw opening wider as its flexible jaws spread like the petals of a flower. In an instant it engulfed the insignificant black speck of the thumper and all the explosives. Its crystal teeth shone like tiny sharp thorns spiraling down its bottomless gullet.
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