Released from The Counsellor's hold, he collapsed immediately to the ground with a puff of snow. Near catatonic, he twitched lopsided snowangels as his mind stuck on a single thought.
It was them.
He had thought himself free, but somehow he had gone directly from his moment of glory to a brand new kind of confinement. They had filled the room, and though his entire being screamed for escape he could do nothing but watch. Also in the room were a machine that panicked him even more than they did; he knew soon enough that they would bring it to him and into him and they would take what was right away and put what was wrong in and then another of them appeared, making its chatter-whistle noises and he knew what that meant. Soon they would make him sleep and when he woke up his brother the spiny thing in the cold hard shell would be there bringing death.
And he was right, as he judged it, alone now on what could only be the newest battlefield. In the wide-open spaces away from any of his captors, his mind spun down from panic to alertness, turning outward to survey his surroundings. The cold was seeping into him through the ground, so he got to his feet and shook from head to tail to dislodge the clinging powder. All around was a hillocked landscape of white under a clouded sky, pierced at the distant horizon by a blurry grayness. A chill wind sliced across the tundra, so he began trying to dig out a den. He had barely made any progress when the ground, though still smelling of dirt, became rock-hard and the den had to be abandoned. This was no place to be.
He set off at a loping gait across the snow, smelling for any trace of formic acid in the air that would lead to a good meal, but finding none. After some minutes of travel, he suddenly stood stock still, ears upright and swiveling. A rhythmic crunching drifted over the snowy wastes. He quickly located it and squinted into the distance. Moving down one the side of one of the larger knolls was something large and clanking. Watching it for a few moments confirmed that it was moving straight toward him, and he whirled and ran zig-zagging in the opposite direction.
"Wait! In this together! Want to discuss alliance!"
Booming out and echoing from hill to hill came the chatter-whistle, and he knew the fight had begun in earnest. It must be his brother, still locked in their death-grip, pursuing him. The sun filtered dimly through the clouds, but he began gathering up what of it he could. In the meantime, his claws would do little good against the cold hard shell, and evasion was the best he could do.