Saturday, March 30, 2013

Excerpt: The Chameleon Effect #17

Chavez works for The Agency and has been assigned to rescue Kira Rostropovich and return her to Vega Minor, where she resides with her parents. After being in prison and being 'bought' by Chavez in an auction, Kira is not happy about being searched by Chavez. But he finds a tracking device on her right before a mercenary, Captain Maddeson, finds them and demands that Kira be turned over to him. Chavez immediately makes a sudden jump across the galaxy, much to Kira's surprise! Kira continues to have nightmares and is haunted by the fact that her life is in danger. She demands to go back to Prison Planet 452, but Chavez has someone to add to his crew complement first.
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 remembers that her sister is being held hostage and she must return to the prison planet in order to barter for her freedom. But before she can get there, she is captured by Captain Maddeson, who is demanding payment for her return to the warden. While she was fleeing, Chavez fights off an Orgarian boarding party who shoot Dr. Winters. He urges Chavez to go after Kira before he dies. Captain Maddeson has captured Kira and is planning on turning her over to the warden. Chavez is devastated and goes against Agency urging to wait for reinforcements. Is he becoming a renegade?

Kira hugged her sister tight and led her from the cell that had been her home for so many years. Having an younger sister was something of a novelty for Kira, but Demishia made it easy.
“Kira, have you really done what the warden asked? Am I to be set free?”
“Of course! That was his promise.”
“Don’t rely on the words of a mercenary, sister, he will always take what he wants if there is something left for the taking.”
“But he promised!” Kira began wondering if Demishia might be right and in her computer-like brain she quickly formed a plan of action to prove out the warden. “Demishia, go hide on the shuttlecraft until I come for you.”
“Where do I go?”
“Go inside the door and don’t touch anything.”
Since all the guards on the planet knew Demishia, they let her go wherever she chose. Therefore, they took no notice when she headed for the docked shuttle. Kira, on the other hand, was looked upon with great suspicion and the guards required permission from the warden when she attempted to enter his office.
“Well, my little chameleon, didn’t I tell you I would set your sister free when you returned?” The pudgy warden leaned back in his chair and wiped his face with a handkerchief.
“Yes. And now we would like to leave.” Kira raised her webbed fingers and pointed up.
“I’m sorry, Kira, nothing was said about you leaving. Your sister is welcome to go. She is of no more use to me. Her body is worn out from the chromosomal changes it has undergone. But you are in just the beginning stages. I have big plans for you.” The warden picked up a knife and sliced into an apple and popped a piece into his mouth while he spoke to Kira.
Kira’s eyes were like ice as she stood silently before him. “I’m asking you once more to let us go.”
The warden laughed. “Do I need to have you jailed again? Or perhaps strapped down on the table until you agree?”
Then Kira remembered. The warden had strapped her down on the table to force her to obey. He had injected her with mind-altering drugs and wiped her memory. But the chameleon effect had returned her memory to her. Plus, she had discovered that her mind was starting to act like a computer and she could access information with a touch. She stepped over to the computer that was on the warden’s desk. Touching the screen, she read what was in his computer as it quickly flashed by. All of his codes and file names and all of his secrets.
“So… you have a partner on Vega Minor that is waiting for payment. Your code to your credits is pidgeonxxx. How very clever. He was the one who set up the kidnappings. I’ll have to remember that.”
Kira watched the warden visibly pale as she spoke his secrets. “Where did you get that information?” His voice was shaky and he began to sweat profusely.
“You gave it to me when you put this thing in my body. I can tell you more… how about how you’re going to die?”
“Enough!” The warden clambered up out of his chair, puffing and wheezing as he rose. “Guards! Get in here!”
The two guards that had been standing outside his door ran inside, their weapons raised. Looking at Kira, then at the warden, they waited for their instructions.
“Take her to a cell and lock her inside!”
But the guards didn’t move. “What’s the matter? Didn’t you hear me? Get moving!”
“I’m sorry, sir, but she has the whole compound wired to explode. If we arrest her, she’ll blow this place up.” One of the guards put away his blaster and held his hands up in a sign of surrender.
The warden sputtered. “Oh come on! Use your head. She’s not going to blow this place up when she and her sister are in the compound.”
“Her sister isn’t in the compound, sir.”
The warden’s face turned white. But Kira turned and started to walk away. “You stop right now! I’m in charge here!” he sputtered.
But Kira ignored him and kept walking as quickly as she could. It wouldn’t take long before he’d convince his guards that one woman couldn’t wire the whole place. Or could she? Especially since she had special powers.
Arriving at the shuttle, she opened the door and locked it after her. She saw Demishia standing in the middle of the aisle of the shuttle.
“I didn’t touch anything," she said.
“Thank you. Let’s get out of here. Sit down and buckle up.” Kira watched her younger sister move with slow, deliberate motions. She realized had been experimented on before Kira until she was wasting away. She was the product of the failed chameleon effects and her body was dying. Kira seethed inside. Something had to be done and there was only one person she knew who could do it. She sat down and searched out the system for his ship. She found it closer than she expected. It was orbiting prison planet 452.

To be continued...

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