After being snatched from her home by slavers and sold to a prison warden who experimented on her, Kira Rostropov is finally found ten months later by Chavez. He works for The Agency and his job is to return her to her home on Vega Minor. But it isn't as easy as it sounds when mercenaries are close on their heels, and are paid to return the warden's property. Kira also finds her body changing, from the effects of the experiments. Can she survive this perilous journey? It's up to Chavez to make sure that she does...
When Chavez stepped through the portal of the Nightshade Bar, the occupants stopped their activity to size up the tall newcomer, dressed entirely in black. The scars on his face were like a beacon indicating trouble, but he ignored their curious looks. The auction would start in ten minutes, so Chavez found a seat a an empty table and hooked up a hand-held computer that would be his link to the bidding. He'd memorized the face of the girl he was searching for and hoped that she would be in this auction. He was tired from ten months of planet hopping, but had been instructed by The Agency to keep looking until he found her. Kira has to be somewhere, Chavez thought, maybe today I'll get lucky.
A man sporting waist-length dreadlocks banged on the bar with his fist and waited for the room to become quiet. He spoke in basic Terran, which was the common language in this part of the galaxy. "Alright everyone, the bar is closed until after the auction, so get your last drink and settle down. For those of you who are new to this, you bid on the slave you want by entering their numbers in the red box and your bid in the black box. We only deal in interplanetary credits, so if you don't have any, don't waste our time. The highest bid at the end of two minutes wins. You'll receive a pick-up destination at that time and you pay when you pick up your retainer. If you don't show up, you lose your slave. Now, if you'll look at your screens, the first item is up for bid.
Chavez sat and waited to see if Kira's picture would show up onscreen. About two thirds of the way through the auction, he saw her. She wasn't plain, even though her long brown hair, blue eyes and pale complexion could have belonged to any number of girls. It was the shape of her face. It curved like the edge of a heart into a delicate chin. But her unsmiling face looked detached and defiant. Chavez stared at her picture as he had so many times before. He had memorized each curve and detail of her face and had even dreamt about meeting her.
His reverie ended as the clock began to tick on his screen. Chavez waited to bid until near the end of the two minutes, and then put in the high bid. Another bidder was driving up the bid with each new entry Chavez made. Clever of them, he thought, they can get a lot of credits that way. With the last few seconds ticking off, the other bidder withdrew. Chavez didn't care; he'd gotten what he came for. Kira was his!
I hope you enjoyed reading the beginning excerpt from The Chameleon Effect. This originally started out as a homework assignment and has grown into a more detailed story of love, deception, crossed swords and all the things you might find in an interplanetary space drama. I hope to include it again, over time, in small parts.