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"He escaped?" Victor barked into his cell phone from the back of his limousine.  "How could he escape?"

On the other end, Vasquez was explaining how Shane had overpowered two guards and escaped from the prison block.

Victor could not believe it.  "Donovan's half-starved and been beaten regularly, and you're telling me he took out two of your guards?"

"Five," Vasquez said.  "He shot another three."

Victor had to express some admiration for Shane.  Few men in his condition could have possibly managed to escape from the palace prison.

"We have him trapped in the kitchen area," Vasquez added.

"Capture him, but don't kill him."  Victor knew that Vasquez might take this as an opportunity to eliminate Shane.  That had to be prevented.  Not when Victor was so close to putting his plan in motion.  "Do you understand me, Juan?  Donovan must remain alive."  Victor heard something break on the other end of the line.  It sounded like a pencil snapping.

"Victor, how can I let the man live?" Vasquez said.  "He's killed my soldiers.  If I let him live, I will look weak.  The rebel armies are already causing me trouble and I need my army to remain loyal."

Victor sighed.  "You will have your opportunity soon enough.  In fact, I'm just on my way to a meeting to set the my plan in motion.  Donovan will die soon enough."

"But my men won't accept that."

That was true.  If Shane had killed some of Vasquez's soldiers, their friends would want blood.  And they would take it even if Vasquez gave them an order not to touch Shane.  "Tell your men that they can do what they want with him.  He just needs to stay alive and whole -- no injuries that would prevent him from escaping again."

"What?" Vasquez's voice rose.  "That's your plan?  To let him escape?"

Victor laughed.  "Of course not, Juan.  Assuming I receive the assurances I hope, I just need Donovan healthy enough to think escape is possible.  Short of that, your men have free rein."

"And should Donovan accidentally die during our attempt at recapture?"

"Trust me, Juan," Victor said.  "You do not want that to happen.  Or do you think you'll be able to keep your army loyal without my money funding it?"

"You wouldn't do that, Victor."  Vasquez sounded alarmed.

"Oh yes I would."  Victor made that clear.  "Now I'm going to finish my business here in Salem.  Then I plan to pay you a visit to check on Donovan's condition.  I expect to see him alive and whole."

"Fine," Vasquez said, curtly.  "One day, Victor . . . One day there will come a time when your threats no longer work on me."

"That may be," Victor replied.  "But if we reach that day, you will probably be hanging from a noose while the rebels enjoy the comforts of your palace."  He let that threat linger for a moment, enjoying the sputtering sound he heard on the other end.  "Now, Juan, I must go.  I have a plane to meet and some important business to attend to.  I will see you in a few days."

Victor hung up the call and looked out the window of the limo.  The car turned into the entrance of the tiny airport on the outskirts of Brookville.  Actually, calling it an "airport" was kind.  It was really just a landing strip with a single building next to it.

"Your plane has landed already," said the driver.

"Yes, I can see that."  As the car came around the building, Victor saw his private jet.  The limo came to a stop and Victor got out of the vehicle.  He smiled as the door of the plane opened and Marcus James climbed down the stairs, holding up a man whose hands were bound and whose head was covered by a hood.  Once off the stairs, Marcus pushed the man toward the limo, while Victor waited.

Victor smiled and then pulled the hood off the man.  He smiled.  "Hello, Drew.  Or should I call you by your other name -- 'Iago.'  It's been quite a long time."

Drew Donovan shrunk back.  "Please, Mr. Kiriakis.  There's nothing I can tell you.  I haven't worked for Stefano since 1988."

"Yes, I know."  Victor continued to smile.  "However, we both know that Stefano DiMera has a very long memory.  He will be quite happy to see you."

"Why?" Drew asked in a tone that sounded like a plea.  The man obviously understood what Victor intended.  "I'm no threat to you or to Stefano."

Victor laughed.  "Of course not.  But that fact is irrelevant.  What is relevant, Mr. Donovan, is that you are going to help me get something far more important than your worthless life." 

He raised the hood and put it back over Drew's head.  Then he turned toward Marcus.  "Put Mr. Donovan in the car.  I would hate to keep Mr. DiMera waiting."