So You Say This is the End, Part 2

by April Randall

On their way back to the ship they were hindered by
police and a throng of reporters.  Questions were
hurled their way and Brodin shoved them aside.  Numb,
feeling dead himself, realizing that his world had
just been taken from him, he was barely aware of what
was going on around him.  Head bowed, stride only
slightly visibly weakened, they hurried back to the

As they left the crowd and entered the comparative
calmness of the hangar area, he realized his comlink
had been chirping incessantly.  He wearily lifted it
up.  "What."

"Captain, are you all right?" came the urgent voice on
the other side.  "Our sensors picked up the explosion
as being huge."

"Scan for Mia's tracking signal," Brodin said.

Ryatt frowned and started to protest.  Brodin shook
him off and repeated his command.  There was a wait of
only a few moments.  "We already tried, sir.  It's not
here, it's gone.  It disappeared as the explosion went

Brodin shook his head.  "Wait, scan for--"

Ryatt tore the comlink from his fingers.  "Brodin,
stop this!"  His hands grasped Brodin's shoulders. 
"Mia is gone, Brodin," he said firmly.  "We all saw
it.  The building she was in exploded.  Mia is dead. 
Your cousin is dead.  I don't want to believe it
either, but--"

"No she's not!" Brodin exclaimed.  "She can't be.  I
raised her, you know that better than anyone.  She is
like my daughter, Ryatt.  Please."  Brodin's eyes were

Ryatt sighed.  "Scan the planet for Mia's lifesigns,"
he said into the comlink.  "Captain's orders."

Toshia stepped closer.  "She died trying to help
others, trying to stop that bomb.  You can take
comfort in that."

Ryatt was about to agree when his attention was
suddenly caught by someone else.  "Well, of all the
sniveling little--"  He strode off to one side and
hurriedly plucked a small, defenseless reporter off
the ground.  "What are you doing?" he barked.

"Get -- getting material for a story," the reporter
stammered, the front of his shirt in Ryatt's firm

"*What* story?" Ryatt thundered.  Well over six feet
tall, he was able to intimidate quite a few people.

"The story, on the explosion.  You said you knew
someone who died in it?" the reporter asked eagerly,
leaning towards Brodin.

With a roar, Ryatt shook him.  "Don't you dare print
anything about that.  You have no idea what you're
talking about."

"But this Mia, she did die, correct?" the reporter
tried to clarify.

Brodin took him from Ryatt's grasp.  "You go back to
your boss," he said menacingly into his face, "and you
tell him that the news's job is not about reporting
someone's grief.  My grief is nobody else's business."

"Oh, that's good, that's very good," the reporter
said, scribbling notes as fast as he could.

Brodin shoved him back.  "Get out of my sight."

The reporter scrambled away as fast as he could as
Ryatt's comlink chirped.  Ryatt spoke into it.  "Go

"Mia's lifesigns aren't anywhere on the planet, sir,"
came the report.  Brodin felt despair crashing over
him again like thundering waves.

"There's not even anyone we can blame it on," Brodin
said.  "The speeder was an accident.  But I *told* Mia
to get out of there!  I told her!" he insisted.

"We know, Brodin," Ryatt said.  "We know.  Come on." 
He took Brodin by the arm and they started for the
Parallax once again.

"Captain Brodin!" a woman's voice called out.

He turned.  A woman was running towards them.  "What?"
he demanded, a scowl on his face.  "I'd appreciate it
if you didn't yell my name in public."

"Sorry," she said, out of breath.  "I was wondering if
you'd grant me a few minutes of your time.  I need to
ask you some questions."

His face darkened.  "No interview, this is none of
your business!"

"Captain, please, we really need to know what
happened.  I'm with the authorities," she explained,
showing him an ID.

He felt himself giving in.  Since when had he cared
about cooperating with the authorities?  He shook his
head.  Since he'd seen his cousin die, that's when. 
Bitterness and anger rose in him, but he was snapped
from the whirlpool of emotions when the woman spoke

"Taylin Plessa.  My superiors wanted to know what
exactly was going on down there.  We need to know for
the records.  When there's a disturbance of the peace,
we have to document it for port security."  She
paused.  "I'm sorry for your loss, and for that
reporter.  Don't mind him," she said sympathetically. 
"But can you tell me what happened?"

Ryatt was having the ID scanned and he nodded to

Slowly, painfully, Brodin began the story of how they
were trying to rescue a late crewmember from a slavery
ring when a failsafe device was triggered that would
incinerate the building.  "It was one of the
ringleader's goons, misinterpreting the orders."  He
went on to tell how he asked Mia Jesbar, his cousin,
to hack into the computer to stop the bomb so that
they could get the rest of the slaves out in time. 
But then a speeder had crashed into a parked speeder,
the two had hit the building, and it had gone up in
flames, quickly making the bomb go off.  He was
watching her in the upstairs window when the explosion
happened.  A large crowd saw it as well.

"Thank you.  Now all I need is your full name in case
we need further information."

He looked at her closely, numb and closed off from his
emotions.  Telling it like it was an everyday
occurrence helped him to distance himself from the
pain.  "Brodin Jesbar."

She wrote it down quickly.  "Between you and me,
ending that slavery ring did this city a world of

He swallowed hard and looked down.

She placed a light hand on his arm.  "Thank you again,
Captain.  I am truly sorry.  Please accept my
condolences.  Remember, my name is Tailyn Plessa, if
you have any other questions."

"Miss Plessa," he stopped her from leaving, "I would
appreciate it if you didn't mention any of this to

She smiled at him.  "It's strictly confidential.  Any
access to these records has to be approved by me." 
She left.

Brodin sighed and turned back to the ship.  "I'm
sorry, Brodin," Ryatt said.

"I know.  So am I."  Now all that was left to do now
was face the pain.

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