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? But before he can attack the warden, Kira escapes the planet with her sister, and she's looking for Chavez.
Kira set an intercept course for Chavez’s ship. Her shuttle was originally from an Orgarian ship, so she would have to convince Chavez that she was not hostile. She opened a channel to his ship, but he didn’t answer. Kira began to get worried. What had happened to Chavez and Dr. Winters after she left? She tried the channel again.
“Chavez, if you can hear me, it’s Kira. I need your help. Please allow me to dock my shuttle and come aboard.”
Chavez finally answered. “Kira? Is that really you? Are you all right?” Kira thought his voice sounded muffled and slightly garbled.
When Chavez appeared onscreen, Kira was shocked by his appearance. His face and lips were swollen and purple bruises dotted his eyes and brow line. She now knew why he sounded so different. He had been beaten so badly that it was difficult for him to talk.
“What happened to you?” She said as soon as his plight registered to her.
Demishia let out a startled gasp beside Kira. “I know what happened. I’ve seen it a thousand times over the years I’ve been here.”
Chavez stared at Kira’s echo in the woman sitting beside her. “Who’s this?” he asked.
“This is my sister, Demishia. She was kidnapped when she was three years old. The warden has been doing chromosome experiments on her all this time. She’s dying and I don’t know where else to turn. Can Dr. Winters help me, please? I know I’ve spent a lot of time running away from you, but it was to get back to the planet and get my sister. It’s a long story and I’ll explain it all to you, now that I have my memory back.”
Chavez didn’t wait to answer. “Dock your ship. We need to talk.”
After they were docked, Chavez led Kira and Demishia to the garden on level one across from the engine room. It was the best place he could think of where they could relax and talk. He could see the distress on Kira’s face about her sister, but he had news of his own that would add to the problem. Before he could talk, Kira looked around, concern on her face.
“Where’s Dr. Winters? I need of him.” Her eyes glanced over to Demishia and then settled on Chavez.
Chavez’s jawline tightened as his muscles clenched and he took a deep breath. “Dr. Winters is dead. He was killed by Orgarian mercenaries while he was trying to protect me.”
Kira’s face fell and she expelled all her air. “What am I going to do? Demishia is in a desperate condition. She’s the product of their failed experiments and now the warden has turned her loose so she can go die somewhere else.” Kira’s eye’s flashed hot and her hands clenched shut.
But Demishia turned to her. “It’s alright Kira, at least we’re together. I’ve been dreaming about this day all my life.”
Kira shook her head. “No, it’s not alright!”
Chavez waved a hand in the air. “Let me speak, okay?”
There was a pause where the only sound was the bubbling of water from the fountain among the ferns. Chavez waited a moment longer, trying to decide how to explain his dilemma.
“Dr. Winters managed to make one dose of an antidote. It needed to be administered within a certain amount of time to have the full effect and the time is up. Now, it will only stop the chameleon effect, but won’t reverse it. The problem is, it was made for Kira, not the failed experiments Demishia had. I recommend that it be given to you, Kira, since that’s who it was made for. Then we can take Demishia to another geneticist, along with Dr. Winters’s notes.”
“There’s no time to wait.” Kira said, “My sister is weak and dying. Give it to her, even if it doesn’t have the full effect, maybe it will help some.”
But Demishia shook her head. “Absolutely not! It was made for you and that is who’s going to get it.”
“Sorry, I won’t let him give it to me.” Kira announced.
“Okay, hold up the arguing. It was bad enough with one Rostropov on board. Now I’ve got two hard heads. Listen, if I have to, I’ll play Solomon and split the baby in half! So decide amongst yourselves. You have one hour.” Chavez sauntered out of the garden and left the girls alone. He had to get back to the bridge. They were in hostile territory and he wasn’t about to be boarded again.
To be continued...