So You Say This is the End Part 1

by April Randall

(Oct. 31)

As soon as Brodin could stand after the explosion, he
did so, and felt the icy tendrils of shock creeping
into his mind.  Where the building had once stood was
now only a small pile of dust with pieces of rubble,
and a cloud of smoke in the air.  People in the
surrounding area were panicking, screaming, running
away, while a few curious passersby were doing the
exact opposite, gathering around the site of the

"Mia," Brodin whispered as he stared at the site of the explosion,
stumbling over the name.  Someone brushed past him but he didn't
notice them.  "Mia!" he yelled in desperation, trying to be heard
over the crowd.  He thumbed almost frenziedly at the comlink he'd had
open to Mia's frequency but all he got back was static.

A few flames still licked at what was left, but only a cornerstone or
two of the original structure had remained.  Panic squeezed at his
heart and he ran to the ruined building in a daze, yelling Mia's name
over and over, pushing people out of his way.

Ryatt, one of his best friends and his first officer, was right
beside him.  The heat and the smoke rose from the remains, settling
over them like death.  That's when Brodin saw the remnants of a
crackling comlink.  It was the kind Mia kept on her belt and the one
she'd been using to keep in touch with him while she tried to disarm
the bomb.

"Oh, Harbisyn, no," he breathed.

The two of them stood there in silent shock.  "No," Brodin protested
weakly, his face contorting in grief as he ran a hand over his face.
He couldn't breathe and couldn't cry, either, although his emotions
were screaming at him.  Denial, pain, shock, grief, anger, loss.

"They're not sure how many were left in there.  Not more than a few,
but. . . ."  Toshia trailed off as she exited the crowd, finally
seeing the remains with her own eyes.  She drew in a sharp intake of
breath.  "I'm sure she got out.  Mia always does."

The two men just stared at her with grief written all over their
features.  "You saw her with your own eyes, Toshia," Brodin said in a
shaky yet hard voice.  "She was upstairs when it went off."  He
shuddered.  He had seen his cousin die.  Impossible!  Yet he had seen

The commotion in the crowd behind them was growing, as
were the number of people in the crowd.

"She can't be gone," Brodin said, grief taking over. 
"She was just -- right here," he protested.

No one dared say what they all truly thought.  It was
surreal.  She would come back to the ship, she would
bounce back, just like she always did.

"We all saw her, Brodin," Ryatt said sympathetically,
full of pain himself.

"Please, no," Brodin said as hot tears formed.  He
sank to his knees on the ground.  "Please, anything
but this!" he said in desperation.  "She's still here,
she's got to be here!  Tell me she's still alive!"  He
still stared at her crackling comlink, and then he saw
a piece chipped off of her blaster lying a few feet
away from the barely recognizable comlink.  The pain
ripped at him and he sank to his knees.  Not real. 
This wasn't, couldn't be real.  "I can't believe it! 
I won't!" he hissed.  Nothing could be as bad as this.
 Nothing.  His parents.  Her parents.  And now her.

"Mia," he sobbed, "please, don't do this.  Please
don't leave me here!"

He felt a hand on his shoulder, comforting him as his
tears fell onto the smoky ground.  After a few
moments, a hand was placed on his other shoulder and
he was helped up.  He shook off their hands.  "She's
still here, she's alive somewhere," he insisted.

"Brodin," Ryatt quietly stated, "she's gone."

"No!" Brodin yelled.  "She's not!  She was right here.
. ."  He stumbled back and they caught him again. 
Telros was there helping as well, he knew somehow.

"Let's get you back to the ship," Ryatt said quietly.

"Yes, the ship.  She must have gone back to the ship,"
Brodin said, half-rambling.  "Or we can scan for her
lifesigns.  I know she's still here."

He didn't need to look around at the three crewmembers
to know they knew he was only trying to convince himself.

Go To:
Part 2
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