He had come to the Deep Space Research Lab in the hope that its long range sensors could find some trace of the overdue Explorer mission. It had set out for a tiny planet called Rygan I over a year ago and was far past due. For Shaw it meant that the Explorer's captain, his daughter, was probably lost forever.
He hadn't been very close to Lisa, but in his heart he loved her. He rebuked himself daily for letting her go on such a dangerous mission. Of course her mother, Admiral Loretta Shaw, regretted it even more because she had had the final say on what ship was to go on the mission. Jerome had promised her that he would personally try to find her and, after that, he had spent hours trying to get transport.
Now he was standing in the red lit command center of the Lab's defenses, watching a young ensign work the long range sensors. So far there had not been even a trace of the cruiser or the freighter it was escorting. No one knew what had happened, but the military was hesitant to send another ship to search Rygan I. If Shaw didn't find it, no one would. That would mean that Lisa and everyone under her command would be declared dead. Shaw crossed his fingers, hoping that something would appear, anything. Finally the ensign turned and looked at him.
“I'm sorry sir, but there's nothing that resembles a starship out there,” she said and Shaw nodded before he turned away.
He had known that she was probably dead, but he still didn't want to believe it. She was still his little girl, it seemed as if only yesterday he was tucking her into bed. Now she dead, lost to the hazards of space. If only she hadn't had her mother's interest in space exploration, he mused. He walked over to an empty chair and sat down, pondering the situation. There was still one thing that he could do. He strode over to the watch officer, a gray haired commander whose name escaped him.