Von sat wishing Rog was still there. Reaching to scratch his head, the familiar tingle just under his scalp reminded him he was not alone. Zing Tao physicians had assured him the neural technology employed by the Javalinas had been completely removed, but that much as an amputee can still sense and feel a missing limb, he would probably suffer likewise for the rest of his life.

Javalina inquisitors employed sophisticated neural technology in their interrogations. They implanted nano devices within the brain tissue to gather information the prisoner either refused to divulge or had forgotten he ever knew. The technique produced mixed results for the Javalinas. For the inflicted, however, the procedure was the equivalent of Chinese water torture. Once implanted, the neural trace devices created an unmistakable itch, an itch from within the skull that no amount of scratching could alleviate.

The devices worked on two levels. Often they gathered the information sought. If not, simply left in the skull long enough drove even the most hardened warriors to tears and eventual confession.