A/N: Welcome to My Brother's Keeper. At the request of Cimmer, the winner of my silly review contest, David Sheppard is back in another mess - I mean adventure - with his brother, our favorite Colonel John Sheppard. To be honest, there have been MANY requests for a sequel to Blood is Thicker, so I humbly offer this story to ALL those who have been so encouraging. I have never written a sequel before, so this exercise has been, frankly, terrifying. At the moment, I have a bit of a head start, and an outline I'm satisfied with, so I'll take a chance and start posting.
It isn't exactly necessary to have read "Blood is Thicker" to get the gist of this story. But you may wonder why ol' Dave is where he is on the reconciliation curve if you haven't.
Nathan Larsen tugged his coat collar tightly around his neck, then shoved his hands in his pockets. The February chill penetrated through layers of expensive clothing, and he stamped his feet against the cold. Clandestine meetings in back alleys were for amateurs, he snarled within the privacy of his own mind. The Trust usually had more class.
At long last, the rusty metal door that he was standing beside creaked open. A thick man dressed in cheap black pants and turtleneck waved him in. Larsen followed, tugging his leather gloves off. He slapped them against his hand. There was no one here. The damn warehouse was empty except for a curious round platform in the center of the concrete floor.
"Is this some kind of joke? Where's Perses?"
The escort just took Nathan's arm and manhandled him further into the cold room. Nathan jerked free once the guard had maneuvered him onto the round platform. He watched with a glare as the guard tapped a tiny ear radio and pulled up his sleeve to reveal some kind of jeweled bracelet.
"We're coming," the guard said and touched the jewel.
There was a groan of energy and Nathan caught an impression of massive, floating rings before the dull grey of the warehouse was miraculously replaced with the bright warm glow of gold. More rings fell into the floor and Nathan was standing in a small, bright compartment, in a completely different place. He snapped his coat to smooth the collar over his shoulders and smiled.
Nathan followed willingly as the guard led him into the next room that was larger with angled walls and some kind of throne or command chair dominating a center platform. Markings of some sort seemed to cover every inch of the golden surfaces. Nathan brushed his fingers over the metal as he passed, wondering if it truly was gold.
A slim, grey-haired and very distinguished man rose smoothly from the chair and approached Nathan with extended hand.
"Nathan! I'm so glad you were able to meet me today. We have much to discuss."
Nathan ran a quick hand through his own salt and pepper hair and adjusted his tie. "Perses," he intoned politely. He was careful to make his handshake firm.
"Please. It's Dimitri. We can leave the code names back on Earth."
Nathan blinked. "Back? On…?"
Dimitri laughed, but the sound was not pleasant. "You're on my ship, my dear Mr. Larsen. Only a cargo freighter, I'm afraid, but useful for this and that. Sadly, since the rout of the system lords and the havoc created by the Ori, our access to more…comfortable…transportation has been quite limited."
Nathan nodded politely, but none of it made any sense to him. He was still turning over the idea of access to a space ship in his mind. And he liked where it led him.
"In any case," Dimitri went on, "we've decided to make our home here for the foreseeable future. So tell me about your progress while I have been away. I want to hear the news from you."
Nathan shifted his full attention back to Dimitri, known to him primarily as Perses – his main contact to The Trust. Something about the man's manner raised the hair on Nathan's neck.
"We've made outstanding progress. The DaeNaq acquisition is nearly complete, and we now have legitimate access to all of PSI's power generation facilities."
"I'm curious, Nathan. Why this particular utility. Why PSI?" Dimitri returned to his seat, and placed his hand casually against his cheek, looking down at Nathan. Despite the smooth congeniality of Dimitri's tone, Nathan suddenly felt he was defending his position.
"PSI is perfect for our plans. Not too big, not too small. Privately held, so SEC and government scrutiny is minimal at the executive levels."
Nathan rushed on, "But most important is their position on the grid. They have acquired several smaller companies over the years, spread out across the country. With PSI, we have a tap into both the Western AND Eastern Interconnect, in addition to a small station on the Texas Interconnect."
Dimitri nodded and Nathan stifled a sigh of relief.
"It is unique in this regard?"
"Fundamentally. They were eager to make the acquisition, which gave us leverage in the negotiations, and sped up our timetable significantly. It's all but a done deal." Nathan had been very pleased to meet Perses' requirements for a buyer so quickly. He puffed his chest out, waiting for the praise that he was due.
"Very well. Then we will simply have to deal with the problem."
"Yes. You see, Nathan, in your idiotic haste and stunningly stupid effort to impress me, you merged DaeNaq with the only company in the country that has a direct line to Atlantis."
Nathan felt the icy rebuke freeze him to the floor. He didn't know what Atlantis was, but he knew that Dimitri didn't like the connection. At all. Dimitri leaned back in his seat.
"We will have to move cautiously," Dimitri said, almost as if thinking to himself. "The NID is a constant threat. But I believe I have agents in place that will be able to eliminate our problem without arousing suspicion."
"Who? Who are you so worried about?"
Nathan had done as he'd been asked. He'd run thorough background checks on every executive at PSI. His face went from icy to hot as he felt a flush of anger. He'd never heard of Atlantis. How the hell was he supposed to have prevented a problem he didn't know existed?
"Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. Commander of armed forces on Atlantis, Stargate Command's outpost in the Pegasus Galaxy."
Nathan sucked in a startled breath. He knew who that was. He hadn't known what he was. Dimitri tapped his fingers together in front of his chest.
"Yes," he said. "It will be difficult. But I see no alternative: Colonel Sheppard has to die."