Brothers (Dickson)

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Author Gordon R. Dickson
Country United States
Language English
Series Dorsai
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in Astounding: The John W Campbell Memorial Anthology
Publication type anthology
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Publication date 1973

"Brothers" is a science fiction short story by American writer Gordon R. Dickson. It was first published in Astounding: The John W Campbell Memorial Anthology.


The story forms a part of the incomplete Dorsai cycle.


The story is set in the city of Blauvain, capital of the planet St Marie. It is narrated by Tomas Velt, Blauvain Police Commissioner.

After the defeat of invading soldiers from the Friendly worlds, Field Commander Kensie Graeme of the Expeditionary force of Dorsai mercenaries is assassinated by unseen members of an illegal political organisation called the Blue Front. Commander Ian Graeme decides that they are still engaged with an enemy, declares martial law in Blauvain and gives orders that all houses in the city be searched by soldiers under his command.

Whilst Velt and his police more-or-less ineffectually assist the Dorsai, he also strives to find a way to avoid the search, which could easily result in the deaths of citizens who resist the soldiers. He gets no assistance from the Exotic Padma, whose philosophy does not allow him to interfere in any way, but Padma does believe that somehow Velt is a pivotal character in resolving the situation.

Under Padma's influence, Velt now realises that General Pel Sinjin, commander of the Planetary militia, must be involved in the assassination attempt. He questions Pel, but Pel is unwilling to confess or reveal any information. Velt begs Padma to talk to Pel and explain why he must give the information. Padma agrees to do so and the talk causes Pel to find peace within himself. He reveals what he knows, including the probable location of the conspirators.

With only minutes before the house-to-house search is to begin, Graeme and Velt arrive at the room where the assassins are holed up. The refuse to surrender and Graeme asks to simply come in and talk to them. He does so, unarmed and naked, but still manages to kill them all. With this act, he has displaced the soldier's anger at Kensie's death, honour has been satisfied and the Dorsai reputation remains unsullied. The search is called off.