Phantom Corps: CAPTIVATED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing May 1 in trade paper and digital formats
“Ah, you must be Hannah.” Wilhelm stood and Vincenz watched, amused, as Hannah’s eyes widened when she took in nearly seven feet of Wilhelm Ellis, Comandante of the Military Corps. “I’m Wilhelm Ellis.” He held his hand out, and she took a deep breath and returned his handshake. “Please, come in and join us.” Wilhelm put her hand on his arm and led her to the chair Julian had put out for her.
“You’re very large.” She clapped her hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude.”
Instead of anger, Wilhelm laughed as he sat across from her. “Not rude at all, Hannah. I’m told my father was very tall as well. Must be where I got it.” Ellis sobered. “My condolences and those of Roman Lyons and House Lyons for the loss of your family.”
She blinked several times and nodded. “Thank you.”
Ellis studied her intently but she held up under scrutiny. Vincenz had to clamp down on his instinct to rush in to protect her. He wanted to defend her against this, but he knew she needed to do this on her own. Knew it meant something to her and it definitely would with Ellis. Vincenz trusted Wilhelm Ellis more than anyone else he knew. He had to continue to do so.
Finally Ellis leaned forward. “I’m here . . . well, I suppose you must know one of the reasons I’m here. I wanted to thank you in person for submitting to the brain scan. I know it was . . . difficult for you, especially given your history with the Imperium.”
“Julian told me the scan works better when—well, when the person’s brain isn’t murky and sort of broken. I understand you need more from me.”
Ellis flicked his gaze to Julian and Vincenz knew understanding passed between them.
“Broken seems an inappropriate word for what your brain is, Ms. Black. To be blunt, as brains go it’s quite impressive. But yes, because of the mental trauma you endured, the scan was less than conclusive. So the real question is—they had you for some time and yet they didn’t kill you. This is a good thing, obviously, as you’re alive and we like that. But it’s a puzzling thing. Do you know why?”
She sat straighter. “Why didn’t they kill me? Why did they keep me alive on this side of the ’Verse line? You think I know something. Or that I’ve been implanted with something that poses a danger to the Federated Universes.”