Dangerous Adversaries: Battle Joined

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Categories: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks | Date published: 08/27/2007


In this first volume of the two-volume sixth novel of the series, Sebastian, Chief of Internal Security of the Military Complex, captures and interrogates Marianne, a Gaean spy who accessed secret data. Knowing that if Milhauss discovers that she entered the Arsenal, he'll confine her in a military penal work force, Sebastian conceals evidence. He offers to confine her in his aunt's home, but demands that she engage in sexual exchanges in which he'll indulge his penchant for inflicting pain. Marianne agrees only after he lets her see her wounded brother Merrill. A notorious sensualist, Sebastian uses his expert knowledge of sexual technique and psychology to vanquish his captive's inhibitions. His four-week-long program of conditioning his repressed partner flattens her mental defenses. He knows that the hatred she bears him prevents her from forming a dangerous emotional attachment to him. Having exchanged Merrill for Simon, a captain held by Signe, the Columbians learn that Theo lent Simon historical works, and enabled him to write an historical commentary. Shame scalds Sebastian, as he contrasts Theo's generosity with his treatment of Marianne. Sebastian paroles the captive, and allows her to take courses at the University while supporting herself by doing menial work. Having embarked on a brutally stressful program of work and study, Marianne excels academically, despite suffering chronic fatigue. At mid-term, she hears Arlen state in a speech that he will never commit genocide. Realizing that the data she secured at such cost just lost its strategic value, she battles despair, but finishes the term. When Sebastian learns that she earned top grades from two tough professors, he succumbs to shame, and longing. He offers the shocked, exhausted woman a full scholarship. Verging on physical collapse, she accepts his offer, and again becomes his lover. Marianne's life grows far less traumatic. Sebastian's secret visits relieve the carnal need that had tormented her. When he deduces that she transmitted the secret data to Merrill during the brief meeting he allowed, he refuses to believe her explanation of how she did it. He considers employing neurostimulation so as to learn the truth, but refrains from doing so. Having taken a severe blow to his pride, he nonetheless continues to visit Marianne. On hearing that the war just ended, and that Arlen offered her a scholarship under the terms of the treaty, Marianne decides to get her degree in Columbia. Direly afraid that Sebastian will eventually tire of her, she hides her fear. When a fellow student proposes marriage, she succumbs to depression. Sebastian prods her into revealing the reasons she sees as preventing her from marrying either a Columbian or a Gaean. He convinces her that only one solution to her dilemma exists, and persuades her to embrace it. This stirring narrative forms part of an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.