Prompted by this question:

Are 'atomics' atomic bombs?

I have begun to wonder about how Paul had access to the atomics in the first place.

As this question potentially reveals spoilers for people that have not read the novel or seen any filmed versions I've placed the bulk of this under a spoiler

Following the Harkonnen attack, Paul and his mother flee into the desert with only basic survival gear until they are taken in by the Fremen. So where and how did he gain access to the atomics? It is certainly not mentioned in David Lynch's 1984 film and having read the book I can't pin point a scene that specifically describes this. Clearly it happens "off camera" so to speak. Were they hidden in the desert prior to the Harkonnen attack as a precaution to keep them safe? Or were they "liberated" from the Harkonnens?

Can someone point me to a passage in the novel that explains this or is it genuinely a plot hole?


1 Answer 1


"Others among your father's men will have escaped," she said, "we must regather them, find-"

"We will depend upon ourselves," he said. "Our immediate concern is our family atomics. We must get them before the Harkonnens can search them out."

"Not likely they'll be found," she said, "the way they were hidden."

"It must not be left to chance."

Dune novel, pg 221

  • So are they hidden in the desert or something? Or did Herbert not really answer the question?
    – c-x-berger
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 2:06
  • 2
    @c-x-berger: It isn't answered. Presumably not in the desert, or at least, not far out; if they were in the desert they'd be harder to access when needed, and the risk of the Harkonnens finding them would be near zero (assuming they shielded their radiation), while the risk of hostile Fremen gaining control would increase. But Arrakeen itself is ringed with caves in the bedrock, providing many potential hiding places, and it's entirely possible they were hidden somewhere in the city itself (or just outside, but still within the Shield Wall, which protects a huge territory). Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 2:59
  • I seem to remember them being offworld, possibly on one of the moons.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 3:10

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