July 2, 2434
Barren, Mitchell D., Staff Sergeant
4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)
What an exciting week! The cave system was more vast and dangerous than we anticipated but fortunately, we were prepared. There was more uncatalogued wildlife than expected and most of them were harmless. Nothing was big enough to do any significant harm to a human but there were a few predatory species that did not handle their first human encounter well.
I took a team of four recon members and we had more than enough munitions to deal with everything we encountered. The rifle was unnecessary but the older model 12 gauges came in handy. The animal size was not an issue but their numbers certainly were higher than we were comfortable with.
We were able to get a few samples of the different species but one, in particular, was more difficult to collect alive. It was some kind of lizard and gopher mix but with six legs. They were only about half a meter long but they had pretty sharp claws about three centimeters long and teeth that looked almost shark-like. Their skin was also problematic. They blended in very well with their surroundings and had a very similar temperature with lizards back on Earth.
With the exception of the wildlife issue, the cave system and the surrounding terrain actually looked like a good location to put an annex for quick reaction forces. QRF would be able to respond either to the base or the capital in a matter of minutes and the geographic features make it easily defendable. All we would need is one defensive turret about a quarter mile into the system and nothing larger than an Earth mouse would be able to get in from behind. I will probably make this recommendation during our debriefing.
My first stop was the science tent we finished setting up earlier this week to drop off all our samples of dirt, rock, and wildlife. Our geologist and biologist were thrilled. They actually started to argue when I mentioned setting up an Annex there over who would get priority over being posted out there. No fists thrown but watching the nerds go at it was amusing for my team.
On that subject, I interrupted them to discuss Russell’s request and they confirmed that the Commander signed off on it so as of your receipt of this letter, Russell can correspond with the assigned geologist. All samples that are cleared as safe will be shared with Russell so that he can also do whatever research he wishes with them.
It was funny because most scientists here tend to be more of the lone wolf type but Dr. Valencia was thrilled once she found out he was interested in geology. Thrilled to the point where I thought I might have to detain her when the argument started to get more heated. None of the scientists were authorized to bring an assistant so she views Russell as a sort of loophole to that.
I explained that he was well ahead of his age but she will want to exchange some correspondence with him as some kind of interview to see where he is at and how he can help. This was more than I thought I could get for him so please advise him that he owes me a bag of Tootsie Rolls and a good size letter.
We got our first supply ship and some more reinforcements so the real build-up has begun. Starport construction is about to commence so it might get a little busy around here. I will continue to write at least once a week but please don’t be upset if I have to miss it. This is a crucial part of why we are out here so safety and security of the construction site and equipment are the top priority.
Rumors have begun to spread that GFI is working on getting some of their people out here to disrupt construction. They know they don’t have the tools or manpower to stop us but they can sure slow things down. We are determined not to let that happen.
One of our security teams managed to catch a few GFI supporters and got some good intel on local operations so hopefully, we are able to stay ahead of them. Don’t any of you worry. Those GFI crybabies are a joke and nothing more than an irritation. Everything is going to go just fine out here and if they try anything we will deal with them quickly and harshly. You know us Mom, we won’t allow them to harm the Fleet or any of the locals without severe consequences.
I miss you all very much and look forward to hearing from you again. Tell Russell that the only reason I am unable to send him some of those samples now is that Dr. Valencia wants to correspond with him first but they are coming. It is just a formality. She wants to know a little more about his interests than I am able to share. I will write again soon. Please take care and be safe.