Sean Trelawney was sitting at his desk, surveying files related to a covert military operation he was currently leading up. "There can be no mistakes this time..." he said to himself. Completely absorbed in his work, he failed to notice Mr. Olivier enter the room.

"Trelawney"

Somewhat startled, he turned to face the chairman who had an expression of grimace mixed with concern. "Yes, Mr. Chairman?"

"We just received a rather troubling message... it seems an extortionist has somehow "acquired" our Ms. Bennett." the chairman raised an eyebrow and adjusted his grip on his walking cane.

Trelawney's eyes grow wide. "Acquired?"... "Where is she being held?"

"If we knew that we'd have her already Trelawney" the Chairman remarked, turning to look out Trelawney's office window onto the main floor of the praetorian headquarters.

Trelawney glanced down at his desk, his eyes shifting back and forth in deep thought.

"We are holding a video conference meeting with this man in an hour, we need to formulate a plan on how to deal with him. He has a valuable asset, but he thinks he's holding all the cards. We must take control of the situation..." The chairman turns back to Trelawney; whom is still in contemplation.

Trelawney suddenly glances up to face the chairman, as if awakened from a spell. "Rest assured Mr. Olivier, I will rectify this situation..." A dark and bitter grin forms across his face.

Trelawney was slowly pacing back and forth in his office when a voice came over his intercom summoning him to the conference hall.

Trelawney entered cautiously, taking his place at the table alongside the other leaders of the praetorians. He addressed them in his usual cool demeanor, attempting to mask his feelings of concern with stoic indifference, something he'd gotten very good at over the years. He couldn't remember the last time he let any tender feeling slip through and make him appear weak. That was how he got where he was, by being cool and calculated. There was no place in his world for feelings, at least that was what he used to think until he met her.

She had compromised everything, making him feel things he didn't want to. At first it was just a physical attraction to her, something simple he could just call "lust". But after a while he started to feel things beyond that like affection, tenderness, longing...She would haunt him day and night, he could not stop thinking about her. Pursuing her became an obsession he cleverly disguised as unwavering obedience to the organization. But in truth, he wanted to capture her for himself.

Trelawney's contemplations of Angela were interrupted when a dark, well-dressed man appeared on the giant conference video screen.

"Well! A formal meeting. Does this mean the praetorians are ready to take my offer seriously?" The man gloated with a satisfied smile.

"Where's the girl?" Trelawney asked with audible agitation in his voice.

"So hasty... First, you will agree to my terms and conditions...and most importantly, my price"

"Our organization does not make deals with extortionists, especially amateurs..." Trelawney sneered.

"If I am such an amateur, then why do I have within my possession the woman your entire organization has not been able to capture? I believe even you have failed at retaining her, Mr. Trelawney."

Mr. Olivier interrupted "Why should we even believe you have Angela? Stop wasting our time and show us the girl if what you say is true"

"My pleasure Mr. Olivier, see for yourself..." The video feed cut to Angela, whom was still in her night gown tied to the iron bed.

"She's quite lovely, it would be a shame if we cannot reach an agreement..."

"My price is rather reasonable, I believe. 30 million dollars... You have 24 hours, after that, her condition becomes less... desirable..."

"We won't pay for damaged goods... No harm is to come to her." Trelawney ordered with glaring eyes.

"The condition I deliver her in is entirely up to you, Trelawney." " Contact me when you have the money..." The screen suddenly went black, Trelawney's scowl still frozen where the man was a moment ago.

Mr. Hearney broke the silence, "Maybe we should just let him kill her, do we really need this girl? Perhaps he'd be doing us a favor..."

Trelawney turned sharply to him "Angela Bennett is our one link to Sorcerer...We lose her, we lose any chance of finding him."

"Maybe we can use this situation to our advantage..." Mr. Olivier mused aloud, as he stroked his chin, deep in thought. "If Sorcerer is made aware that Angela has been captured, he will attempt to rescue her. We then can capture him and Angela simultaneously."

"That's an intriguing idea sir, but we still have no idea ourselves where she is." Trelawney said with a furrowed brow.

"That's why we let Sorcerer figure that out for us, Trelawney. Angela is only significant to us for her ties to Sorcerer. If we figure out a way to bait this extortionist on an unsecured transmission, Sorcerer will surely track him down for us. He will try to save her, and even if he fails and Angela dies, we still get him. He's all we need, and this situation may deliver him straight into our hands." Mr. Olivier said with an expression of satisfaction.

"sir...I..." Trelawney interjected

"Yes, Trelawney?" the chairman said with irritation in his voice.

"I believe Angela Bennett holds more value to us than just in finding Sorcerer. Her advanced skills could be a powerful asset to us..."

"What makes you think she'd ever agree to join us Mr. Trelawney?" Mr. Olivier sneered.

"I can be very...persuasive, sir" Trelawney stated with a smug grin.

"Yes, and that has worked out so well in the past with her, hasn't it?..." Mr. Olivier sarcastically scoffed.

Trelawney, defeated, overted his gaze downward.

"We sacrifice the girl if necessary Trelawney! End of discussion..." Mr. Olivier ordered as he abruptly stood and exited the conference room.

The rest of the praetorians stood and followed behind the chairman. Each giving a glance to Trelawney before exiting. Trelawney was left alone, deep in conflicting thought as to what he should do next.