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Chapter 17: Victor Reasseses His Plans

Victor Kiriakis studied the latest data on his European operations.  Or tried to.  His mind kept running through the call he had received earlier in the morning.  John Black was recovered and now searching for Shane Donovan.  Disconcerting news.

He had to keep John Black away.  Victor's relationship with the man had always been tumultuous.  At times, they engaged in open warfare.  At other times, they were friends, largely because of John's former marriage to Victor's daughter, Isabella, and their son, Brady.  Then everyone had believed John was dead and, once he returned, he had been seriously injured, and, now, Victor did not know precisely the terms of their relationship.  He respected John greatly, but the uncertainty made John a wild card.  As a practical matter, it might be best if he met with an accident while trying to rescue Shane, but that would cause Victor's grandson a lot of pain.  Plus, letting John get close might open up a  proverbial cans of worms.  Victor's ISA moles told him that the western governments would soon strike his competitors and, so far, Victor's operations in Costa Blanca had avoided detection.  He did not want John Black to interfere.  That man was like a force of nature; just his presence in the country could destroy Victor's plans.  So, for now, he would let John Black search, plant some false leads, and keep him out of Costa Blanca.  He would reassess the situation after the ISA, DEA, and FBI brought down the participants in Operación Norteño.

Which still led to the question of what to do with Shane Donovan.  Victor rarely was unsure about his plans.  Usually, he chose a course of action and stuck to it, but with Shane, he kept waffling.  He knew he wanted Shane dead, but it had to be on the right terms.  Their last exchange stuck in his craw.  He kept reliving not just losing yet again to Shane, but the discovery that another man could read him so perfectly, could manipulate him so well.  That was far more humiliating than losing a game. 

And that humiliation demanded punishment far more painful than a quick execution.

A thought came to mind.  He had no idea what might come of it, but then Victor knew one key to his success was to explore every option.  He picked up his phone and punched a 4-digit code.  "Philip, I need to see you right away."  It was better to use his son for this, at least for now; his grandson, Brady, was probably compromised, given the friendship between his father and Shane.  "Yes, I understand you just got back from the hospital, but this is an urgent business matter.  I expect you in my study."

While he waited for his son, Victor placed another call.  "Deputy Secretary Weaver, please.  Victor Kiriakis."  The call was patched right through.  "Nathan, it's Victor.  I've had some thoughts about our friend, Mr. Black.  You said he wants a lead on Donovan's whereabouts.  Let's give him one."  He paused momentarily, as he listened to the bewildered stuttering of the bureaucrat.  "No, of course not a real lead, Nathan.  Let's send Mr. Black on a bit of a European tour for the time being.  I'm sure you can think of something.  In fact, maybe he could help you with that little proposition I mentioned." 

As he hung up the phone, his son entered.  Victor noticed Philip's hang-dog expression and the rumpled clothes.  "You should get cleaned up."

"I just came home to do that," Philip said.  "Thank you for your concern about Melanie," he added.

"I already knew that your new bride will be fine.  Dr. Jonas told me -- while I was being questioned by Bo Brady about Melanie's shooting."

"If it leads to you and Vivian getting the justice you deserve, let him at it."  He glared at his father, who ignored the invitation to get into yet another debate with Philip about keeping the secret about Melanie's being Carly's daughter.  That had led to the debacle a few days before, with Carly accidentally shooting Melanie on the day of her wedding to Philip.

"Your protestations of revenge don't interest me, Philip."  Victor said.  "I have a job for you to do."

"You think I'm going to do anything for you?"

"Of course you will," Victor said.  "You are still an officer of Titan and, as you don't seem to be going on your honeymoon just yet, you have some time to devote to this project."  Philip stared at Victor, completely incredulous.  "Oh, don't worry.  You'll be well done with this job by the time Melanie is out of the hospital.  I want you to find out everything you can about Andrew and Jeannie Donovan."  He cut Philip off before he could get angry about the assignment.  "Do it."