LONG BEFORE MUAD'DIB, in the last days of the Old Empire, humanity lost its drive. Terran civilization had spread across the stars, but grew stagnant. With few ambitions, most people allowed efficient machines to perform everyday tasks for them. Gradually, humans ceased to think, or dream . . . or truly live.
Then came a man from the distant Thalim system, a visionary who took the name of Tlaloc after an ancient god of rain. He spoke to languid crowds, attempting to revive their human spirit, to no apparent effect. But a few misfits heard Tlaloc's message.
These new thinkers met in secret and discussed how they would change the Empire, if only they could overthrow the foolish rulers. Discarding their birth names, they assumed appellations associated with great gods and heroes. Foremost among them were General Agamemnon and his lover Juno, a tactical genius. These two recruited the programming expert Barbarossa
, who devised a scheme to convert the Empire's ubiquitous servile machines into fearless aggressors by giving their AI brains certain human characteristics, including the ambition to conquer. Then several more humans joined the ambitious rebels. In all, twenty masterminds formed the core of a revolutionary movement that took over the Old Empire.
Victorious, they called themselves Titans, after the most ancient of Greek gods. Led by the visionary Tlaloc, the twenty allocated the administration of planets and peoples among themselves, enforcing their edicts through Barbarossa's
aggressive thinking machines. They conquered most of the known galaxy.
Some resistance groups rallied their defenses on the fringes of the Old Empire. Forming their own confederation -- the League of Nobles -- they fought the Twenty Titans and, after many bloody battles, retained their freedom. They stopped the tide of the Titans and drove them back.
Tlaloc vowed to dominate these outsiders one day, but after less than a decade in power, the visionary leader was killed in a tragic accident. General Agamemnon took Tlaloc's place as leader, but the death of his friend and mentor was a grim reminder of the Titans' own mortality.
Wishing to rule for centuries, Agamemnon and his lover Juno undertook a risky course of action. They had their brains surgically removed and implanted in preservation canisters that could be installed into a variety of mechanical bodies. One by one -- as the remaining Titans felt the specter of age and vulnerability -- all of the others also converted themselves into "cymeks," machines with human minds.