Hope Springs Eternal, Part 1

by April Randall

(Still on October 31, right after "So You Say This is the End")

"Captain," Akar said as Brodin entered the ship, "there's a senator
waiting to speak with you."

Brodin shut his eyes briefly.  Anger suddenly surged in him.  "I
don't want to speak to a senator," he growled, "I don't want to speak
with *anyone,* is that clear!"

"It's Senator D'Kahn Ti'ska," Akar insisted.  "From Nebula.  He says
he's under orders from the queen to contact you."

Brodin's head shot back up.  He sighed.  He would have to tell her
sooner or later . . .  Then he stared hard at Akar.  "Does Midalah
already know?" he asked.

"From the looks of it, sir, yes," Akar said.  "Some of us took the
liberty of scanning for recently released news reports."  He paused
only slightly.  "It's all over the holowaves, sir, from Manx News.
Everything about the explosion.  Everything about. . ."

"Mia," Brodin finished for him.  Then rage filled him.  "That
reporter!" He turned to Ryatt.  "That weasel of a reporter!  He told
them!  Get me that reporter.  Get me the head of Manx News.  Beat
someone up if you have to, I don't care.  But find me that reporter,"
he ordered, his voice like steel.  "Is the senator still waiting?" he
asked Akar.

The crewman nodded.  Brodin stormed into the communications room and
then instantly stopped.  The atmosphere was heavy with Mia's
presence.  Here was where she spent a good portion of her time, and
now he would never see her here again.  Grief threatened to overwhelm
him, but then a supporting hand fell on his shoulder.

"I can tell them for you, if you want," Ryatt said quietly.  "I sent
Telros and Toshia to find that reporter."

Brodin shook his head.  "No," he gasped out, "I need to do it.
She--"  He stopped and forced himself to say the words.  "Is she
going to return to the ship, Ryatt.  I need to know," he said
desperately.  "Tell me honestly.  I need to hear it."

Ryatt shook his head.  "No, Brodin," he said even more quietly.
"She's not coming back.  I wish just as much as you do that she was.
Don't blame yourself.  She knew she could have gotten out but she
chose to stay."

Brodin nodded, wiped at the wayward tears, and steeled himself as
well as he could.  He could live through this, he knew he could.  He
walked up to the console.  Senator D'Kahn Ti'ska was waiting for him
-- the same senator Mia had been assigned to work with only a few
short months before.

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Part 2
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