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Chapter 34: Philip Connects Some Dots

Philip looked over the old Salem Spectator news archives and tried to assess the information he had gathered. It had been two days since he had talked with John Black and Bo Brady.  He had been so busy with Melanie at the hospital that he had been forced to put this part of his investigation aside, but now he had an opportunity to do a little more investigating.  His research for Victor into the Donovans had focused on the children.  Now he was looking at the parents and their connections to the Kiriakis family.  So far, the details were illuminating.

The early article he found had his father's handiwork all over them.  "ISA Agent Uses Wife as Prostitute."  Coupled with the old listing from the court dockets in the Andrew Donovan file and Victor's crack about Andrew almost being Philip's brother, it had been easy to put the pieces together.  The timing was obvious.  Victor would have done anything to ensure control over a son, even if it meant destroying the boy's mother.

Philip knew there must be more to the story than what the newspapers had printed, but obviously his father had once had a relationship with Kimberly Brady, and some of those old feelings carried to the present.

And there was Shane Donovan.  Plenty of articles confirmed he was ISA.  Philip read about two separate incidents when Donovan was twice falsely charged with espionage, the second time as part of an ISA hoax to use the man as bait.  Then there were articles celebrating his heroism after he supposedly died during an ISA mission outside Salem, after he rescued a bunch of Salem residents stranded after a shipwreck, and when he was paralyzed trying to evacuate visitors from the Salem Museum when a bomb exploded.  It was funny that during Philip's own time in the ISA, he had never even heard of Donovan, but, then, maybe that was deliberate.  If Donovan was still with the agency when Philip was recruited -- and everything Philip read made him think Donovan was a lifer in the ISA -- Donovan would have been fairly high level in the hierarchy.  Normally, the ISA would have made sure that Donovan continued to have contact with matters relating to Salem -- unless there was a specific reason for him to remain uninvolved, like a personal conflict.  That could only mean Victor.

Wait a minute.  Something dawned on Philip.  Hadn't Victor been arrested at some point in the mid-80s?  He flipped open the newspaper archive index and searched for the name Kiriakis.  There it was.  1985.  "Drug Cartel Cracked; Kiriakis Arrested in Miami."  Philip did some cross-checking against the Andrew Donovan file.  The medical records indicated the boy had been born premature, which made the timing right.  Philip sat back in his chair and let out a low whistle.

The facts added up.  Shane Donovan had set up Victor, probably made the arrest himself, but around the same time, Kimberly Brady has slept with him.   Was it an actual  relationship or similar to what was described in the article?  Had Donovan actually used the woman who would later become his wife to seduce Victor?  Hard to believe, but this was the ISA after all.  Their methods were not always the most honorable, and for Donovan to reach the upper echelon, he probably had learned to do whatever was necessary to complete a mission.  That image did not exactly make Philip respect the man, but it would have made him a worthy adversary to his father.

If Victor had been seduced, thought he was the baby's father, and then learned not only that was untrue, but that the real father was an adversary who nearly destroyed Victor's entire operation. . . .  Philip shook his head.  That would have been one of Victor's greatest humiliations, and humiliation did not sit well with Victor Kiriakis.  Philip knew his father too well.  Even if 25 years had passed, Victor would demand retribution.

That had to be it.  And what better way to get revenge on Shane Donovan for taking away Victor's almost-son than by taking that same son from Shane Donovan?

God, that was so like Victor.  He did not care who he hurt as long as he got what he wanted.  Like now.  He would protect Vivian to the end, even though that crazy bitch tried to kill Melanie, his own daughter-in-law, Philip's wife.

Philip flipped open his copy of the Andrew Donovan file until he reached the photo of the man, probably taken shortly after he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the British Army.  Philip studied the man's face, and as a former Marine, Philip felt something of a kinship.  Andrew looked young, but also thoughtful and serious, like he understood what was coming.  His military records proved his ability, from being the top cadet at the British war college to leading a unit through some of the worst battles of the Afghan war.  Sangin had been one of the most dangerous parts of the country, under constant Taliban attack and ambush.  In his mind's eye, Philip could see the battle, picturing what the reports described -- Lieutenant Donovan rallying his under-supplied troops to repel repeated Taliban assaults for two straight days while trying to save the injured members of the platoon.  According to the report, nearly all of the injured had survived.

Philip could almost see the fighting.  The smoke from enemy artillery and rocket-propelled grenades, the injured and dying men behind whatever makeshift barricades the platoon had managed to prepare.  And he could definitely hear it.  The rapid reports of automatic rifle fire, the screaming of the injured, the thunder of ordnance.

He looked at the photo again.  It was hard not to feel ties to the man.  He had gone through hell in Afghanistan, just like Philip.  The only difference seemed to be that Andrew Donovan had returned from the Middle East without Philip's injuries.  Whole.  It was enough to cause Philip's leg to itch, and he sighed.  The feeling occurred whenever he had these types of thoughts; he could almost feel his leg again.  Phantom feelings, of course.  Plastic polymer had no nerves.

Just from the description of the battles and the photo, Philip was finding that he could develop a sense about Andrew.  He was a good man, a competent leader, a man loyal to those he served and served with.  How many good men and women had Victor Kiriakis destroyed to accomplish his goals?  Would Andrew be hurt like Melanie?  Would he also become a casualty of Victor's ruthless desires?

And what would Philip do?  He had spent his life trying to appease his father, trying desperately to win his approval.  Rarely, if ever, did he defy Victor.  Joining the Marines was his greatest act of defiance, and that had cost him his leg in his first tour and numerous surgeries after his second, something Victor regularly gloated about.  Philip shook his head.  Here he was, an adult who was not his own man -- all because he craved the approval of a man who used and destroyed people on a whim.

With that, Philip gathered the papers he had collected and added them to the Andrew Donovan file.  Then he flipped again to the photo and studied the young officer for a few more minutes.  Philip had to get back to the hospital to see his wife, but he also had some hard decisions to make.