Hope Springs Eternal, Part 3

by Jilly Harris and April Randall

"I'll need to think about it," Brodin said after a few moments.
"Right now there's some -- business I need to take care of here." His
voice hardened.

"Your invitation to come here is still open," Midalah said.

Brodin considered it. "Thanks, but I don't know if I can. Everything
reminds me of her right now."

"Everything will until we know for certain," Midalah murmured.

"How are you going to investigate this?" Brodin asked tiredly.

Midalah looked at D'Kahn, who had a fierce determination on his face.
"In every way possible," he said.

Brodin moved his jaw around a bit. "Then I assume that means you'll
be coming here."

"My team and I will go wherever we have to to get the answers we
need," D'Kahn said.

Midalah looked at Brodin. "D'Kahn is a former intelligence agent
before he became one of my trusted Senators because of his father's
death. He and his team are highly trained," she said.

Brodin's eyebrows raised slightly and he nodded, seemingly
uninterested.  "Fine," he said tiredly.  Then he looked back at them,
his brow furrowed.  "But if they do come here, I expect that I will
be informed of everything they find, and my people will provide the
same courtesy."

"I wouldn't have it any other way," D'Kahn said.

Brodin nodded to him respectfully. "This doesn't mean I've changed my
mind," he said, folding his arms across his chest.

Midalah looked at him. "It doesn't matter if you change your mind, I
still plan on sending D'Kahn to investigate," she said.

Humor jerked at Brodin's mouth and a small, short laugh escaped, a
laugh filled with grief. "Midalah, you sound like Mia," he said. "No
wonder you two got along."

Midalah merely smiled.

"I've got things to take care of," Brodin said, "like mangling the
body of a certain reporter.  If that's all. . ."

"That is all," Midalah said.

Brodin nodded and closed the connection.  He rubbed his hands over
his face.  "I can't believe this is happening.  First she's dead,
then she isn't.  I can't believe I let Midalah talk me into
investigating something I saw with my own eyes."

"She does have some points, Brodin," Ryatt said.  "I'm all for moving
on, but -- can we really risk not being completely sure?" he asked
quietly, lost in memories.  "I've gone through that before and lost
years with someone I cared about.  It can't hurt to investigate this,
to put it through closure."

"I agree," Brodin nodded slowly, blowing out his breath slowly.  "We
investigate, as much as we can, and more."

"I don't want you to be hurting, though," Ryatt said.  "That's what
I'm concerned with."

Brodin shook his head.  "I'll be fine.  I'm so confused right now I
feel turned inside out," he laughed, without any amusement.

"And what if it wasn't completely an accident?" Ryatt asked
thoughtfully as they left the comms room and entered the corridor.

Brodin looked sharply at him.  "What do you mean?"

"That speeder.  What if it was done on purpose?"

"It's something we should investigate."  Brodin almost smiled.  "And
I know just the people to go to for information and it starts with
Manx.  Can't let Senator-whatever-his-name-was beat us to it when he
gets here, can we."

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