Hope Springs Eternal, Part 4

by April Randall

"*Why* did you send out that story?" Brodin growled in the reporter's

"Because it's news!" the reporter squealed, clawing at Brodin's hands
that clasped his collar.

"You even gave them her name!" Brodin shouted.  "You gave them *my*
name!  Do you know how dangerous that is?"

"Brodin, don't give him any more information than he already has,"
Ryatt said.  "You know he'll put it into a story."

Brodin's face darkened and he shoved the man back again.  "I'm going
to sue, do you hear me?  I'm going to sue you into the ground!"

"Not if I sue you first!" the man scrambled away.

Brodin sighed.  "Ryatt, Toshia, find out who was driving that
speeder.  When you do, make sure he wasn't hired or suicidal or
anything else.  Find out why he crashed.  If he says it was a speeder
malfunction, find out if he's telling the truth.  If he thinks
someone sabotaged it--"  Brodin shrugged.  "Find out everything you
can."  He turned slightly.  "Telros, you and Cejac are going to find
out about the bomb.  And find out what happened to Orris and his
gang.  Work with the authorities.  Use Plessa's name if you have to."

They all began to leave and Brodin lapsed back into thought, frowning

"What is it?"

Ryatt's voice startled Brodin out of his thoughts.  Brodin shook his
 head.  "I just don't understand why Mia didn't get out in time," he

"The speeder was an accident.  She thought she had time."

"I know, but--"

"She was still trying to stop the bomb from going off.  You know how
stubborn she is."

Brodin smiled sadly.  "Notice how we all still talk about her in the
present tense?"

Ryatt nodded.  "She was like a sister to me.  More than that.  I
would have given my life for her, you know that, Brodin."

"So would I," Brodin said, his jaw clenching.  "So would I.  If I could
have reversed our roles, I would have.  I *never* should have asked her to
go in there!"

"But she chose to stay, don't forget that," Ryatt said, looking him
in the eyes.  "And she would be happy that we got Lilianne back, and
that casualties were kept to a minimum."

"I still don't get it," Brodin continued.  "Midalah is right,
something doesn't feel right about this.  If someone else was
threatening her, she would have let us know somehow.  If not, she
knew her time was running out and should have left the building."

"But she *thought* she had time," Ryatt repeated.  He shook his head,
giving up at pointing that fact out.  "What are you driving at?"

"Ryatt, before we left Yavin the second time, right after the bounty
hunter had grabbed her, she said something to me.  She said -- she
was tired of what we did for a living.  She said she wasn't improving
anybody's life.  She wasn't eating very much, either.  Who knows how
well she was sleeping."

"Are you saying you think Mia might have committed suicide?"  Ryatt's
voice was filled with disbelief.

"I don't know what else to think," Brodin said, unsure of himself
now.  "Mia has good instincts.  She knows when to get out of a
dangerous situation.  She wouldn't risk her life unnecessarily."  He
looked at Ryatt questioningly.

A disturbed silence fell between them.

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