"Fasten your seat belts, please."

Here we go! Dana thought excitedly. She looked over at Benn Albertson and Wally Newman. Benn Albertson, Dana's producer, was a hyperkinetic bearded man in his forties. He had produced some of the top-rated news shows in television and was highly respected. Wally Newman, the cameraman, was in his early fifties. He was talented and enthusiastic, and eagerly looking forward to his new assignment.

Dana thought about the adventure that lay ahead. They would land in Paris and then fly to Zagreb, Croatia, and finally to Sarajevo.

During her last week in Washington, Dana had been briefed by Shelley McGuire, the foreign editor. "You'll need a truck in Sarajevo to transmit your stories to the satellite," McGuire told her. "We don't own one there so we'll rent a truck and buy time from the Yugoslav company that owns the satellite. If things go well, we'll get our own truck later. You'll be operating on two different levels. Some stories you'll cover live, but most of them will be taped. Benn Albertson will tell you what he wants, and you'll shoot the footage and then do a sound track in a local studio. I've given you the best producer and cameraman in the business. You shouldn't have any problem."

Dana was to remember those optimistic words later.

The day before Dana left, Matt Baker had telephoned. "Get over to my office." His voice was gruff.

"I'll be right there." Dana had hung up with a feeling of apprehension. He's changed his mind about approving my transfer and he's not going to let me go. How could he do this to me? Well, she thought determinedly, I'm going to fight him.

Ten minutes later, Dana was marching into Matt Baker's office.

"I know what you're going to say," she began, "but it won't do you any good. I'm going! I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl. I think I can do some good over there. You've got to give me a chance to try." She took a deep breath. "All right," Dana said defiantly. "What did you want to say?"

Matt Baker looked at her and said mildly, "Bon voyage."

Dana blinked. "What?"

"Bon voyage. It means 'good journey.' "

"I know what it means. I - didn't you send for me to - ?"

"I sent for you because I've spoken to a few of our foreign correspondents. They gave me some advice to pass on to you."

This gruff bear of a man had taken the time and trouble to talk to some foreign correspondents so that he could help her! "I - I don't know how to - "

"Then don't," he grunted. "You're going into a shooting war. There's no guarantee you can protect yourself a hundred percent, because bullets don't give a damn who they kill. But when you're in the middle of action, the adrenaline starts to flow. It can make you reckless, and you do stupid things you wouldn't ordinarily do. You have to control that. Always play it safe. Don't wander around the streets alone. No news story is worth your life. Another thing..."

The lecture had gone on for almost an hour. Finally, he said, "Well, that's it. Take care of yourself. If you let anything happen to you, I'm going to be damned mad."

Dana had leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"Don't ever do that again," he snapped. He stood up. "It's going to be rough over there, Dana. If you should change your mind when you get there and want to come home, just let me know, and I'll arrange it."

"I won't change my mind," Dana said confidently.

As it turned out, she was wrong.

The flight to Paris was uneventful. They landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport and the trio took an airport minibus to Croatia Airlines. There was a three-hour delay.

At ten o'clock that night, the Croatia Airlines plane landed at Butmir Airport in Sarajevo. The passengers were herded into a security building, where their passports were checked by uniformed guards and they were waved on. As Dana moved toward the exit, a short, unpleasant-looking man in civilian clothes stepped in front of her, blocking her way. "Passport."

"I showed them my - "

"I am Colonel Gordan Divjak. Your passport."

Dana handed her passport to him, along with her press credentials.

He flipped through it. "A journalist?" He looked at her sharply. "Whose side are you on?"

"I'm not on anyone's side," Dana said evenly.

"Just be careful what you report," Colonel Divjak warned. "We do not treat espionage lightly."

Welcome to Sarajevo.

A bulletproof Land Rover was at the airport to meet them. The driver was a swarthy-looking man in his early twenties. "I am Jovan Tolj, for your pleasure. I will be your driver in Sarajevo."

Jovan drove fast, swerving around corners and racing through deserted streets as though they were being pursued.

"Excuse me," Dana said nervously. "Is there any special hurry?"

"Yes, if you want to get there alive."

"But - "

In the distance, Dana heard the sound of rumbling thunder, and it seemed to be coming closer.

What she was hearing was not thunder.

In the darkness, Dana could make out buildings with shattered fronts, apartments without roofs, stores without windows. Ahead, she could see the Holiday Inn, where they were staying. The front of the hotel was badly pockmarked, and a deep hole had been gouged in the driveway. The car sped past it.

"Wait! This is our hotel," Dana cried. "Where are you going?"

"The front entrance is too dangerous." Jovan said. He turned the corner and raced into an alley. "Everyone uses the back entrance."

Dana's mouth was suddenly dry. "Oh."

The lobby of the Holiday Inn was filled with people milling about and chatting. An attractive young Frenchman approached Dana. "Ah, we have been expecting you. You are Dana Evans?"


"Jean Paul Hubert, M6, Metropole Television."

"I'm happy to meet you. This is Benn Albertson and Wally Newman." The men shook hands.

"Welcome to what's left of our rapidly disappearing city."

Others were approaching the group to welcome them. One by one, they stepped up and introduced themselves.

"Steffan Mueller, Kabel Network."

"Roderick Munn, BBC 2."

"Marco Benelli, Italia I."

"Akihiro Ishihara, TV Tokyo."

"Juan Santos, Channel 6, Guadalajara."

"Chun Qian, Shanghai Television."

It seemed to Dana that every country in the world had a journalist there. The introductions seemed to go on forever. The last one was a burly Russian with a gleaming gold front tooth. "Nikolai Petrovich, Gorizont 22."

"How many reporters are here?" Dana asked Jean Paul.

"Over two hundred and fifty. We don't see many wars as colorful as this one. Is this your first?"

He made it sound as though it were some kind of tennis match. "Yes."

Jean Paul said, "If I can be of any help, please let me know."

"Thank you." She hesitated. "Who is Colonel Gordan Divjak?"

"You don't want to know. We all think he is with the Serbian equivalent of the Gestapo, but we're not sure. I would suggest you stay out of his way."

"I'll remember."

Later, as Dana got into her bed, there was a sudden loud explosion from across the street, and then another, and the room began to shake. It was terrifying, and at the same time exhilarating. It seemed unreal, something out of a movie. Dana lay awake all night, listening to the sounds of the terrible killing machines and watching the flashes of light reflected in the grimy hotel windows.

In the morning, Dana got dressed - jeans, boots, flak jacket. She felt self-conscious, and yet: "Always play it safe... No news story is worth your life."

Dana, Benn, and Wally were in the lobby restaurant, talking about their families.

" I forgot to tell you the good news," Wally said. "I'm going to have a grandson next month."

"That's great!" And Dana thought: Will I ever have a child and a grandchild? Que serd sera.

"I have an idea," Benn said. "Let's do a general story first on what's happening here and how the people's lives have been affected. I'll go with Wally and scout locations. Why don't you get us some satellite time, Dana?"


Jovan Tolj was in the alley, in the Land Rover. "Dobro jutro. Good morning."

"Good morning, Jovan. I want to go to the place where they rent satellite time."

As they drove, Dana was able to get a clear look at Sarajevo for the first time. It seemed to her that there was not a building that had been untouched. The sound of gunfire was continuous.

"Don't they ever stop?" Dana asked.

"They will stop when they run out of ammunition," Jovan said bitterly. "And they will never run out of ammunition."

The streets were deserted, except for a few pedestrians, and all the cafes were closed. Pavements were pockmarked with shell craters. They passed the Oslobodjenje building.

"That is our newspaper," Jovan said proudly. "The Serbs keep trying to destroy it, but they cannot."

A few minutes later, they reached the satellite offices. "I will wait for you," Jovan said.

Behind a desk in the lobby, there was a receptionist who appeared to be in his eighties.

"Do you speak English?" Dana asked.

He looked at her wearily. "I speak nine languages, madam. What do you wish?"

"I'm with WTE. I want to book some satellite time and arrange - "

"Third floor."

The sign on the door read: YUGOSLAVIA SATELLITE DIVISION. The reception room was filled with men seated on wooden benches lined against the walls.

Dana introduced herself to the young woman at the reception desk. "I'm Dana Evans, with WTE. I want to book some satellite time."

"Take a seat, please, and wait your turn."

Dana looked around the room. "Are all these people here to book satellite time?"

The woman looked up at her and said, "Of course."

Almost two hours later, Dana was ushered into the office of the manager, a short, squat man with a cigar in his mouth; he looked like the old cliche prototype of a Hollywood producer.

He had a heavy accent. "How can I help you?"

"I'm Dana Evans, with WTE. I'd like to rent one of your trucks and book the satellite for half an hour. Six o'clock in Washington would be a good time. And I'll want that same time every day indefinitely." She looked at his expression. "Any problem?"

"One. There are no satellite trucks available. They have all been booked. I will give you a call if someone cancels."

Dana looked at him in dismay. "No - ? But I need some satellite time," she said. "I'm - "

"So does everybody else, madam. Except for those who have their own trucks, of course."

When Dana returned to the reception room, it was full. I have to do something about this, she thought.

When Dana left the satellite office, she said to Jovan, "I'd like you to drive me around the city."

He turned to look at her, then shrugged. "As you wish." He started the car and began to race through the streets.

"A little slower, please. I need to get a feel of this place."

Sarajevo was a city under siege. There was no running water or electricity, and more houses were being bombed every hour. The air raid alarm went on so frequently that people ignored it. A miasma of fatalism seemed to hang over the city. If the bullet had your name on it, there was nowhere to hide.

On almost every street corner, men, women, and children were peddling the few possessions they had left.

"They are refugees from Bosnia and Croatia," Jovan explained, "trying to get enough money to buy food."

Fires were raging everywhere. There were no firemen in sight.

"Isn't there a fire department?" Dana asked.

He shrugged. "Yes, but they don't dare come. They make too good a target for Serb snipers."

In the beginning, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina had made little sense to Dana. It was not until she had been in Sarajevo for a week that she realized that it made no sense at all. No one could explain it. Someone had mentioned a professor from the university, who was a well-known historian. He had been wounded and was confined to his home. Dana decided to have a talk with him.

Jovan drove her to one of the old neighborhoods in the city, where the professor lived. Professor Mladic Staka was a small, gray-haired man, almost ethereal in appearance. A bullet had shattered his spine and paralyzed him.

"Thank you for coming," he said. "I do not get many visitors these days. You said you needed to talk to me."

"Yes. I'm supposed to be covering this war," Dana told him. "But to tell the truth, I'm having trouble understanding it."

"The reason is very simple, my dear. This war in Bosnia and Herzegovina is beyond understanding. For decades, the Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Muslims lived together in peace, under Tito. They were friends and neighbors. They grew up together, worked together, went to the same schools, intermarried."

"And now?"

"These same friends are torturing and murdering one another. Their hatred has made them do things so disgusting that I cannot even speak about them."

"I've heard some of the stories," Dana said. The stories she had heard were almost beyond belief: a well filled with bloody human testicles, babies raped and slaughtered, innocent villagers locked in churches that were then set on fire.

"Who started this?" Dana asked.

He shook his head. "It depends on whom you ask. During the Second World War, hundreds of thousand of Serbs, who were on the side of the Allies, were wiped out by the Croats, who were on the side of the Nazis. Now the Serbs are taking their bloody revenge. They are holding the country hostage, and they are merciless. More than two hundred thousand shells have fallen on Sarajevo alone. At least ten thousand people have been killed and more than sixty thousand injured. The Bosnians and Muslims must bear the responsibility for their share of the torture and killing. Those who do not want war are being forced into it. No one can trust anyone. The only thing they have left is hate. What we have is a conflagration that keeps feeding on itself, and what fuels the fires is the bodies of the innocent."

When Dana returned to her hotel that afternoon, Benn Albertson was waiting there to tell her that he had received a message that a truck and satellite time would be available to them the following day at 6:00 P.M.

"I found the ideal place for us to shoot," Wally Newman told her. "There's a square with a Catholic church, a mosque, a Protestant church, and a synagogue, all within a block of one another. They've all been bombed out. You can write a story about equal-opportunity hatred, and what it has done to the people who live here, who don't want anything to do with the war but are forced to be a part of it."

Dana nodded, excited. "Great. I'll see you at dinner. I'm going to work." She headed for her room.

At six o'clock the following evening, Dana and Wally and Benn were gathered in front of the square where the bombed-out churches and synagogue were located. Wally's television camera had been set up on a tripod, and Benn was waiting for confirmation from Washington that the satellite signal was good. Dana could hear sniper fire in the near background. She was suddenly glad she was wearing her flak jacket. There's nothing to be afraid of. They're not shooting at us. They're shooting at one another. They need us to tell the world their story.

Dana saw Wally signal. She took a deep breath, looked into the camera lens, and began.

"The bombed-out churches you see behind me are a symbol of what is happening in this country. There are no walls for people to hide behind anymore, no place that is safe. In earlier times, people could find sanctuary in their churches. But here, the past and the present and the future have all blended together and - "

At that second, she heard a shrill approaching whistle, looked up, and saw Wally's head explode into a red melon. It's a trick of the light, was Dana's first thought. And then she watched, aghast, as Wally's body slammed to the pavement. Dana stood there, frozen, unbelieving. People around her were screaming.

The sound of rapid sniper fire came closer, and Dana began to tremble uncontrollably. Hands grabbed her and rushed her down the street. She was fighting them, trying to free herself.

No! We have to go back. We haven't used up our ten minutes. Waste not, want not...it was wrong to waste things. "Finish your soup, darling. Children in China are starving." You think you're some kind of God up there, sitting on a white cloud? Well, let me tell you something. You're a fake. A real God would never, never, never let Wally's head be blown off. Wally was expecting his first grandson. Are you listening to me? Are you? Are you?

She was in a state of shock, unaware that she was being led through a back street to the car.

When Dana opened her eyes, she was in her bed. Benn Albertson and Jean Paul Hubert were standing over her.

Dana looked up into their faces. "It happened, didn't it?" She squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

"I'm so sorry," Jean Paul said. "It's an awful thing to see. You're lucky you weren't killed."

The telephone jarred the stillness of the room. Benn picked it up. "Hello." He listened a moment. "Yes. Hold on." He turned to Dana. "It's Matt Baker. Are you able to talk to him?"

"Yes." Dana sat up. After a moment, she rose and walked over to the telephone. "Hello." Her throat was dry, and it was difficult to speak.

Matt Baker's voice boomed over the line. "I want you to come home, Dana."

Her voice was a whisper. "Yes. I want to come home."

"I'll arrange for you to be on the first plane out of there."

"Thank you." She dropped the telephone.

Jean Paul and Benn helped her back into bed.

"I'm sorry," Jean Paul said, again. "There's - there's nothing anyone can say."

Tears were running down her cheeks. "Why did they kill him? He never harmed anyone. What's happening? People are being slaughtered like animals and no one cares. No one cares!"

Benn said, "Dana, there's nothing we can do about - "

"There has to be!" Dana's voice was filled with fury. "We have to make them care. This war isn't about bombed-out churches or buildings or streets. It's about people - innocent people - getting their heads blown off. Those are the stories we should be doing. That's the only way to make this war real." She turned to Benn and took a deep breath. "I'm staying, Benn. I'm not going to let them scare me away."

He was watching her, concerned. "Dana, are you sure you - ?"

"I'm sure. I know what I have to do now. Will you call Matt and tell him?"

He said reluctantly, "If that's what you really want."

Dana nodded. "It's what I really want." She watched Benn leave the room.

Jean Paul said, "Well, I had better go and let you - "

"No." For an instant, Dana's mind was filled with a vision of Wally's head exploding, and his body falling to the ground. "No," Dana said. She looked up at Jean Paul. "Please stay. I need you."

Jean Paul sat down on the bed. And Dana took him in her arms and held him close to her.

The following morning, Dana said to Benn Albertson, "Can you get hold of a cameraman? Jean Paul told me about an orphanage in Kosovo that's just been bombed. I want to go there and cover it."

"I'll round up someone."

"Thanks, Benn. I'll go on ahead and meet you there."

"Be careful."

"Don't worry."

Jovan was waiting for Dana in the alley.

"We're going to Kosovo," Dana told him.

Jovan turned to look at her. "That is dangerous, madam. The only road there is through the woods, and - "

"We've already had our share of bad luck, Jovan. We'll be all right."

"As you wish."

They sped through the city, and fifteen minutes later were driving through a heavily forested area.

"How much farther?" Dana asked.

"Not far. We should be there in - "

And at that moment, the Land Rover struck a land mine.

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