In the distance the church bells chimed, yet as they harked the hour the Time Keepers seemed to mock Donavan and his additional hour of life as they reminded him of his beloved Cailie. It was hard to say where the church was located, as most of them had been destroyed nearly ten years ago. All because of us, he lamented bitterly. All because we wanted to do right.

He sighed as his gaze left the tiny barred window and returned to the bloody hands in his lap. He had already tried every way possible to escape the tiny cell, but his efforts were fruitless. The walls were made of steel, as was the sliding door at the foot of his bed. What he would give to be alone with the keypad on the other side! With a few tries, he could free not only himself, but his family as well.

Cailie, baby, hang in there… hang in there for all of us.

His tiny bride of ten years was his life and soul. While Donavan was wild, short-tempered, and scattered like lightening across the sky, Cailie was his lightening rod that kept him grounded and together. Her pale eyes and soft touch were the soothing spring that kept his rage under control. From the moment he first laid eyes on her, his heart melted and he was hers forever.

"Captain Wolfe?"

Donavan looked up briefly from his paperwork to acknowledge the nervous private that stood in his doorway. Love the pay, hate the paperwork, he thought impatiently. You can't fart without filling out a form to have it approved

"Sir, the new arrival has, erm... She's here, sir."

"Very well," Donavan sighed. He pushed the forms back into their designated folder and set it aside. "Where is she?"

"She's in the deliver—um, she's at the dock, sir." The private looked at his commanding officer nervously.

Donavan had given strict orders to never use any reference other than the official scientific or grammatical word for any object in the labs. The "delivery room" was the docking bay for the trucks bringing in new specimens. Some of the scientists jokingly christened the room in reference to birthing room. They were heartless bastards, the lot of them. Donavan often thought they got their kicks in life by doing their jobs. No one with an ounce of ethics could do what they did for a living and still sleep at night.

"Very well, then. Take me to her."

The private led the captain through the maze of hallways and security checkpoints. This new arrival was the most precious of cargo Xenna Corp. had seen in years. She had finally been captured along the western coast and was being sent directly to Xenna City. Her stop here was merely standard procedure to examine her health and make sure she was immunized before exposing her to other equally precious specimens like herself.

It wouldn't matter if she was eaten up with the heebie-jeebies, Donavan chuckled to himself, They would still want her.

The men arrived outside a heavy steel door with a keypad and card-swipe. The private look nervously from the door to Donavan. "I don't have the, um… the clearance to go any further so, uh…" He hesitated, and then saluted the captain.

Donavan returned the gesture. "Be about your business, private." He put special emphasis on the young man's rank. The private's posture stiffened as he turned and scurried away. Once he was out of sight, Captain Wolfe punched in the codes and slid his pass card in the slot. A moment passed as the machine processed the information, and then the doors slid open.

The docking bay was filled with armored, heavily armed men. Most of them were armed with the Xenna pistols issued only to the military while others carried long stunning staves. Donavan laughed at them, causing several heads to turn. "Do you honestly think," he chuckled, "that if all hell breaks loose, your little bullets and staves are going to save you?"

The majority of the men saluted while others had yet to notice the commanding officer through their nervousness. "Gentlemen, these walls are lined with mytheril and reinforced steel," Donavan continued. "There are eight gateways the truck must pass through in order to reach this room, each of those guarded by a small platoon of men like you. Yet do you fool yourselves into thinking that if things get out of hand, you can just shoot her?

"She is worth more than every life in this building. She is worth more than our lives, our laboratories, our research, and anything you can possibly place a monetary value upon. Even if by some prayer of a chance you DID manage to shoot her and bring the situation back under control, it will be every head in this docking bay that will be served to the President on a silver platter if she is harmed."

Donavan turned to a very nervous looking lab technician stationed by the door. "I want tranquilizers, and I want them in abundance. Every man here will be armed with tranq-guns and a religious text of their choice. If we can't sedate her, god is all we've got left."

A lieutenant shoved his way through the men. "Captain Wolfe, sir!" he called. "Green Squad just called in on the radio. She's just passed Gate One."

"Delay that order," the captain told the lab technician, then turned to his men. "Alright men, listen up and listen well. You know what we're dealing with, so be on your guard. I want stun-staves up front in case she breaks loose. If she can't be stunned, try to incapacitate her by blowing out her knees and feet. I'll double the pay of any man who can silence her if she tries her voodoo without drawing any blood."

A nervous laugh echoed throughout the room as static came from the lieutenant's radio. "Sir! She's passed Gate Two!"

Donavan nodded at him. "Ask 'em where the staff is," he ordered.

The man relayed the question. "She doesn't have it, sir. They said they snatched it from her in her sleep and that's how they caught her."

The captain nodded in approval. "Good, she shouldn't be too much of a problem then. Is she properly restrained?"

"Reports say she's chained, strapped, and humanely gagged. Her feet are loose, though."

"Understood… watch your jewels, men, her feet are loose." The tension in the room lessened visibly as a few men laughed. "That doesn't men she's any less dangerous, however. Stay on your toes, pray to your god of choice, and let's hope this goes according to plan."

"Gate Five just checked in, sir."

Donavan made his way to the front of his men and faced the rolling doors that separated him from his cargo. The lieutenant continued calling gate numbers behind him until at last he called, "She's passing Gate Seven, heading our way, sir!"

Captain Wolfe nodded. "Bring her to me," he mumbled as the chains began to lift the door before him.

A green armored truck slowly made its way towards them. "Fall in formation," Donavan barked. "I want every angle covered, even the door once it's shut."

The men scurried into position as the truck entered the docking bay. The door slid closed behind it as a row of men lined up against it. Donavan walked around to the back of the truck as it came to a stop and four men hopped out of the cab. One of them with an electronic notebook in hand approached the captain. "Captain Wolfe, I presume?"

"That'd be me. How is she?"

"That's what we need to discuss. We sedated her before the trip, but it seems to have worn off…" The man hesitated.

"What does that mean for me and my men?"

The notebook man inhaled deeply. "It means she may be a bit… feisty."

"I thought she was restrained."

"She is, she is, but her feet are not, so… she may be a bit—"

"We've got a confirmed kicker here, men," Donavan barked. He turned back to the man. "Are you her caretaker?"

"That would be me. My name is—"

"Dr. Francis Morrison, I know," the captain said curtly. "I read your file. Now, I have a lot of stuff to do and I hate working longer than I have to, so let's get this over and done with so we can all go home."

"Here, here!" came a faceless voice from the guards.

"Shut up, Mitchell!" Donavan shouted, and then turned back to Dr. Morrison. "Alright, let's see her."

One of Morrison's assistants stepped to the driver's window and pecked on the glass. A loud click was heard as the back of the truck began to rise. "On the ready, men! The door's open and the beast is ready to come out."

The back of the truck was dimly lit as Donavan peered inside. He could barely make out a small figure huddled in the far corner, clutching its legs tightly to its chest. Pale blonde hair covered her face, but there was no mistaking who it was. Cailie Gayheart, the last of the Summoners, had been caught at last.

Captain Wolfe smiled to himself as he stepped into the back of the truck. "Careful, Captain," Dr. Morrison warned.

Donavan said nothing as he approached the girl. "Summoner Cailie Gayheart," he said loudly, "it's time to go."

The Summoner's head jerked up, showing her face for the first time. Donavan's heart stopped beating. Her face was soft like a child's, yet her eyes held a fire he had never seen before. She was young and wise, beautiful and fierce like a warrior goddess. Her gaze took his breath away, as well as any logical thought.

His thoughts returned too late as the girl glared at him. "You don't deserve to say my family's sacred name," she hissed, then dove at him headfirst and hit him in the stomach.

Donavan felt his head hit the steel floor as all wind left him. Several of his men rushed in and grabbed her by the arms, attempting to drag the Summoner and her flailing legs from their downed captain. Donavan felt nothing, however. His world faded to the noisy grey oblivion, yet he knew he was falling in love.

So much for that report, Donavan chuckled as he came out of his reverie. I've been a fool for her from day one... literally.

Suddenly the metal door came to life and slid open, causing Donavan to jump to his feet. "Donavan Wolfe," came a voice, "it's time to pay for your crimes against your country."