Kira's dream keeps coming back. Is it a warning? All she knows is that her destiny lies intertwined with the prison planet. Will Chavez understand? It is six hours away from rendezvousing with Dr. Winters, who will attempt to help Kira with her problems. But Captain Maddeson is on an intercept course to capture them and return them to the warden. Will they escape? Dr. Winters has diagnosed Kira with the Chameleon Effect and in an attempt to halt its progress, he will use Chavez's DNA. But Kira has other plans and escapes off Chavez's ship, without a word to anyone. Chavez decides to go after her.
Kira entered her destination into the shuttle’s computer and engaged the engines. After she was underway, there nothing for her to do except wait. All the changes to her body from the Chameleon Effect made her so hungry and fatigued that she could barely keep her eyes open. But the last thing she wanted to do was fall asleep and dream about the white room again. She decided to eat and find out something about this Chavez who was supposed to be her savior. She sat chewing on a food packet and requested his information from the computer, but received a denial. No data available. On her second try, she tried the back door.
“Computer, give me information on Chavez at The Agency, Acquisitions and Restorations.”
A single visual image appeared along with the word: “ Deceased”. The image was Chavez, but the information was faulty. What’s going on? Kira thought, There’s a dead guy flying around through space saving people from themselves!
“Computer, give me any information on the deceased Chavez.”
This time, the computer complied. Chavez was listed as a six foot two, Terran-born nationalist. He had a family, a wife and daughter, who preceded him in death by three years. Born on Earth, Chavez was sold into slavery along with his mother. He escaped when he was seventeen and schooled on Darius and Arcturus, then recruited into The Agency from there. All other information was classified.
Kira was so wrapped up in reading about Chavez that she didn’t notice the ship approaching onscreen. She became aware of its presence when a sudden lurch brought her ship to a standstill and she fell head first, out of her chair.
A tractor beam! Damn! It’s probably Chavez!
Kira scrambled up off the floor and stood expectantly toward the forward screen. Whoever did this would be making themselves known soon. But Kira wasn’t giving up that easily, she had a surprise or two waiting when they boarded the ship.
But the surprise was on Kira when the forward screen lit up and Captain Luthius Maddeson appeared with a wicked grin. His green eyes widened as he took in Kira’s appearance. He understood her to be humanoid, but her markings and luminescent green-blue eyes suggested otherwise.
“I’ve been searching the entire galaxy for you, my dear, and I’m most anxious to have you on board my vessel. If you fight me, I will cut off your air supply and starve you of oxygen until you black out. Now you decide - which way will it be?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“What concern is that of yours? Shouldn’t you rather worry whether I let you live or not?”
“If you wanted me dead, I’d already be dead and we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous conversation. So where are you going to be taking me?”
Captain Maddeson licked his thickened lips and smiled. “I like a challenging female. So I will tell you. I am taking you to Prison Planet 452, and am delivering you to the warden.”
Kira nodded in response. “In that case, I will comply with your wishes, without any further hostilities on my part. I will fight you, however, if you should try anything of a personal nature against me.”
Captain Maddeson blinked his two sets of eyelids as he continued to smile and replied, “You will be well taken care of on my ship, young Kira, and you can be assured that no one will cause you personal tragedy unless you try to escape from my ship.”
“I have no desire to do so, Captain. I am ready to board now.”
Kira gathered her few personal belongings and unlocked the shuttle door. When it slid open, she was inside another cargo bay surrounded by Orgarian guards. They aimed their blasters at her, which made her nervous, but she resisted saying or doing anything until she saw Captain Maddeson enter the bay.
“Captain, is it necessary to have all these weapons aimed at me? I did, after all, make my intentions clear.”
Captain Maddeson spoke to his men in a guttural language that Kira had never heard before. As he did, his men lowered their weapons. Kira filed the language away for future access, in case she needed it.
“In my business, I have learned that one’s doing is worth more than one’s saying, my dear. I have been, how do you say it… crossed double, more often than not by those offering good will.”
Kira nodded in understanding. “I see, double crossed. I am in earnest with you. My goal is to get back to Planet 452 as soon as possible.”
“Then it shall be so. Let me show you to your quarters and tell you a few rules I must insist upon.”
Captain Maddeson led Kira out of the cargo bay and onto his ship as he explained where she could and could not go and what she needed to do to comply.
“I require your presence at meal times and you are not allowed on the bridge unless you feel it is an emergency. Other than that, you will be free to explore the ship, as long as you do not go near the cargo bay.”
Kira nodded as she felt the heat of the temperature the Orgarian ship was kept at. And although it was daylight hours, the ship was kept with low lighting to help with the comfort of the Orgarian eyes. This made Kira sleepy, so after a meal with barely cooked meat and strange vegetables, she excused herself to go to her quarters and sleep. She noticed the guard by her door, but was told it was for her safety. She lay down on her bed and was soon asleep. She began to dream of the white room and the table. Everything was the same until the end! She saw the person coming toward her… it was the warden!
“If you don’t comply with my wishes, your sister will die!”
Kira awoke with a start. And she remembered! My sister! She had to get back to save her sister from the warden. Her sister had been kidnapped when she was thirteen years old and was being held by the warden. She was being kept in a cell in Kira’s place until she returned. But why had she been auctioned off? Was it an accident? She couldn’t remember that being part of the plan. She was supposed to use her powers as a seer’s daughter, if she had any, and combine it with the Chameleon Effect to see if she could become stronger and smarter. But what was she supposed to do? She couldn’t remember what the warden wanted except for one thing. The warden wanted to make her into an advanced being! But why?
To be continued...