John tried again. Still no luck. “Tom, you ever seen a solar storm like this?”

“Can’t say that I have John.”

“Okay, well, would you notify me as soon as we have an open channel?”

“Will do.”

John sat back in his chair, holding an ancient solar chart. A gorgeous work of art depicting Rubion and Triste in opposition. If only that was the case now. Solar storms in a dual sun system were common, but one of this magnitude was not. Until it cleared they were for all intents and purposes stuck in radio silence.

Cait watched the reports. Stay inside. Protect yourself if you must go out, all the usual stuff. That is, if you didn’t have a husband on the other side of the sector and cut off from all communication. How much longer this storm would persist no one could say. Could be a day, could be a week.

“Mommy?” asked Ariel.

“Yes darling?”

“Is dad going to call us tonight?”

Cait tried to smile. It had been more than a week since John had called. She couldn’t recall him ever going so long, and now, with this storm, who knew how much longer it would be. Before, she could always check with the base, and her contacts there would assure her he was okay. She knew they would lie if the case was otherwise, but still it provided some measure of comfort. This time, however, they knew no more than she did, which was nothing. Nothing was hard. And there was nothing to do but wait and hope and pray.

“Honey, dad is on a very important mission and is working very, very hard. And you know what?” said Cait as she reached out to tickle her precocious one.

“What?” Ariel squirmed, tucking her elbows in and giggling, her long reddish golden hair shinning on the waves of gentle curves.

“I have it on very good authority that your dad loves you very, very much and he left me in charge of giving out his hugs to you. Let me see if I have one for you.” Cait reached out and took her daughter in her arms, pulling her tight to her chest. Little arms returned the embrace with the enthusiasm of unfiltered belief.

“Mommy, I miss dad.” said Ariel, changing her tone as children do.

“I miss him too sweetie.”

Categories: Story, John Discovery, Caitlin