**Warnings: Sibling incest, slight BDSM, PTSD**
Captain Korden Encarit of the North Star thought he'd lost the most important person in the universe to him—his brother and lover, Rennett. A year later, Rennett has been found alive, a captive on a hostile planet. Only when their sibling link reactivates does Korden realize how bad the damage is: stripped of his mental strength, Rennett is now a Broken Alpha. With the help of his friends—ship's Malorcian healer, Sokel, and his fiery Human mate, Sebastian—Korden must try and heal his brother's mind and help him adjust to his new status as omega. But Rennett needs a mate, and it quickly becomes clear that no one is willing. Will Korden give up everything he has worked for—his career, his ship—buck Presidian tradition, and risk the scorn of their father to save his brother?
"Just take it easy, Korden," Sokel murmured. "I'm going get you to Medical, get this all sorted out. You'll be fine."
Korden didn't acknowledge the words—figured they were more for Sokel's peace of mind than his. Instead he focused his remaining energy on keeping the bulk of his weight on his own feet, rather than Sokel's slender body.
They made it to Medical without incident, and Sokel helped him onto a bed.
In seconds the healer began barking orders, calling for instruments and drugs. The bed scanners must've engaged because they suddenly went off, blaring out his weakened condition loudly, and Korden let out an involuntary scream. He covered his ears as the beeping screeched through his head, feeling as though it might drill his eyes from their sockets.
"Shut that off!" Sokel snarled from somewhere across the room.
Korden heard the shuffle of feet as someone hurried to carry out the order. More footsteps, these heavy and intentioned, and he assumed that was Sokel.
"Put your arms down, Korden."
Sokel's gentle grip coaxing him, he let his arms fall back to his sides. Sokel's hand slid into his, palm against palm. "Let me in," Sokel whispered. "Let me see."
Korden pressed his hand to Sokel's, opening up his mind to the healer's presence. The physical world faded back in favor of the mental one. Korden found himself standing in an open field, wind howling around him, lightning striking the ground haphazardly as thunder boomed and rolled in the dark sky. At his feet, a shimmering golden vine writhed and thrashed, snapping and twisting around itself.
"It's your link with Rennett," Sokel explained. He bent down and reached a hand toward it, fingers hovering near but not touching. "We must be close enough for it to activate."
"What's happening to it?" Korden sank to his knees beside the healer. "Is it damaged?"
Sokel shook his head. "I don't think so. But there's definitely a change in it. Look here." He pointed to a patch of discoloration. "It's streaked with silver."
"What does that mean?" Alpha/Alpha links were gold, only Alpha/omega links were silver. But his brother was an Alpha, like him.
Sokel sat back on his heels. He lowered his hand the rest of the way and laid his fingertips against the link. It reacted immediately, arching away from him and toward Korden, and pulling a snarl from the back of Korden's throat. Sokel's eyes went wide. "This is an Alpha/omega link."
"I don't understand." Korden's instincts screamed at him to defend the link from the other Alpha. He ran his hand over it, letting it twine up his arm, nuzzled his face into it when it came near. "It's never done this before. I've never...never felt this before."
"Because you've never been linked to an omega."
"I'm still not! Rennett is an Alpha, just like me. All the males of my family are Alphas." Presidian males only produced one status during their lineage—if an Alpha started a family, he would father only Alphas. The same was true for beta and omega males.
"I don't think Rennett is. Not anymore."
Korden's chest tightened and he struggled to breathe. What could the Cercy possibly have done to his brother to change his status? He'd heard rumors over the years, whisperings, of Alphas who had gone mad and reverted to beta or omega status. Broken Alphas, they were called. What did that mean for them? He'd never even interacted with any omegas. Integrated schooling hadn't started until his second to last year, and by then he was far too advanced to worry about it. The only omega he had any real experience with was Sebastian, and his friend was only considered omega because he was Human. All Humans were omega to Presidians and Malorcians—simply for their smaller bodies and less developed mental abilities. Although Sebastian had never really acted like an omega, and Korden could barely smell him most of the time.
Did Rennett even understand the change? He laid his other hand on the link, closed his eyes and tried to feel Rennett's emotions. Nothing. "I can't feel him."
"We're probably still too far away. But I think what's happening to you in the physical world—why you're sick—is because you're reacting to his status change. Something in you knows he's been harmed, and you instinctively want to protect him." He stood and held his hand out.
Korden took it, let Sokel pull him to his feet.
"I'll break the commune now, and we'll figure something out."
Korden nodded. At once he was plunged back into reality, Medical's sterile white walls and ceiling greeted him. He moaned and grabbed at his head again as the link throbbed to life, sending spikes of fear up and down his spine. Rennett was in danger. His brother, his lover, his omega was in danger! He had to get to him. His vision clouded in a purple haze. He pushed off the table, only to be met with strong hands trying to pin him down. He snarled at them and fought with all his might. He had to get to his omega.
"Korden! Korden! Stop fighting! It's all right!"
Distantly, he heard Sokel shouting at him, but he ignored it. His heart pounded, the muscles in his chest constricted painfully, and his breath caught in his throat. He opened his eyes, but he still couldn't see. Didn't matter. His entire world boiled down to three words: Find. My. Omega. He let his fangs drop and hissed out a warning to anyone who would stand in his way.