|The original Putnam hardback! No, I don't have a first edition; it's a book-club version.|
We begin again for another time, once more:
The advent of the Field Process shield and the lasgun with their explosive interaction, deadly to attacker and attacked, placed the current determinatives on weapons technology. We need not go into the special role of atomics. The fact that any Family in my Empire could so deploy its atomics as to destroy the planetary bases of fifty or more other Families causes some nervousness, true. But all of us possess precautionary plans for devastating retaliation. Guild and Landsraad contain the keys which hol this force in check. No, my concern goes to the development of humans as special weapons. Here is a virtually unlimited field which a few powers are developing.
--Muad'dib: Lecture to the War College from The Stilgar Chronicles
I don't have a whole lot to say about this epigraph, other than to point out that its focus on human weapons seems appropriate to head a chapter about Scytale.
The chapter involves the Face Dancer meeting Farok, a former confidante of Muad'dib's whose disillusion has caused a willingness to throw his lot in with the conspiracy. Scytale -- calling himself "Zaal" -- has chosen to go to this meeting in the guise of Duncan Idaho. He's done this seemingly to amuse himself, but soon begins to worry that he may have made a mistake; after all, some Fremen warriors, including this Farok, may actually remember Idaho.
Scytale feels ill at ease through much of the chapter, and I think most readers will be inclined to feel a bit of nervousness on his behalf; clearly, he has walked into a trap of some sort and is about to be captured or found out. This turns out not to be the case; he has brought the trap with him, and in the end it is he who betrays and kills Farok. Not before getting what he was there to get, of course.
In choosing to depict Scytale's mission as tenuous and imperiled, Herbert has also made the choice to continue to place us in a sort of sympathy with the Face Dancer. By all rights, we should want whatever he is doing here to fail. And maybe we do, if we stop to think about it. I'm not sure we do stop in that way, however; I think it is more likely that we feel nervous for the guy, because we identify with him and forget that he's ostensibly the villain.