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The ultra-remote base had been founded by the New Sisterhood as a place to gather data on the sandworms that had been desertifying the ecology of Chapterhouse from a previous climate of deciduous plant life. The research base was named in honor of the famed Imperial chemist, Shakkad, who had first reported on the beneficial properties of spice, over fifteen thousand years earlier, even before the Butlerian Jihad, when he had been surveying Rakis.
Twenty years after the construction of the base, the Thinking Machine probes launched the dreaded Omnius Scourge onto Chapterhouse, and over ninety percent of the world's population had perished in just over a month. A huge percentage of those were females who survived, had taken either been, or become Reverend Mothers, as they could kill the plague by using internal body chemistry changes.
Of the population that had survived on Chapterhouse that were male, some of these were in Shakkad Station, far from any contact with human-kind. As the Plague ravaged the Chapterhouse Keep, and was spreading over the world, Murbella had made the fateful decision to completely quaratine the Station, which left them able to survive the deadly biological weapon.