His brother was here.

He could feel him.

The presence had been growing stronger for a long time. At first he did not believe it, did not allow himself to accept it, but he could not deny the fact that his mind resonated with the feeling of his brother’s nearness.

He had come!

His mind spun with conflicting emotions: fear for his brother’s safety, hope that perhaps this would finally be the end of his own suffering, a gratitude so strong that it filled his entire being. His brother—the brother for whom he had spent so long harboring only hatred and had only come to truly know shortly before they were torn away from each other—had come to help him. He had answered the call despite the danger to his own life, his own soul.

He did not touch his brother’s presence right away—he had to be quiet and unobtrusive lest his captors become aware of him again and prevent his activities. They were preoccupied now, intent on some purpose of their own. It took him awhile to realize that the thing he sought was also the subject of their dark scrutiny.

He watched, and he waited. His heart—or whatever vestige of it remained in this sadly depleted form in which he now existed—ached at the sight of what his captors were doing, at the foul scenario they had orchestrated to try to convince his brother that he himself had turned traitor, gone over to the other side and joined the Enemy to save his own skin. Pleasure flowed through him when he saw that his brother did not accept their attempts and refused to believe he would ever do such a thing.

He was careful, though, to do his best to mask the pleasure. His captors did not like pleasure. They also did not like his brother’s insistence on following his heart instead of the lies they were feeding him. They were not pleased.

He feared that their displeasure would lead to his suffering.

As it happened, though, things did not go as he had expected. He watched silently in growing horror as they made alterations to their plan, filling it with traps and wrong turns and pitfalls designed to snare his brother—if they could not make him believe their story in the course of unfolding the scenario, then they would resort to harsher measures.

He sensed their approval of such a plan. Although he did not know their exact intent, he could pick up enough from them to know that it would not be pleasant for his brother.

He closed his eyes, lowered his head, and forced himself to concentrate. If there was any way—small though it might be—that he could provide help to his brother, to aid him in his resolve and in fighting his captors’ influence, then he had to do everything he could manage to provide it.

He hoped that the things were so intent on their task that they did not notice his meager efforts.

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Copyright ©1999, 2000 R. King-Nitschke. The Shadowrun universe is the property of FASA Corporation.
No part of this story may be reproduced without permission from the author.